Sisters of the Closed

Drug Problems Shut Homeless Café for a Month


Here's an easy lesson I've posted seven gazillion times on articles like this - when you encourage something, you get more of it.

"The café has experienced a growth in the number of used needles found on the premises and outside on the sidewalk over the last two years."

Don't forget Portland homeless advocates -
D educate yourself rather than ranting from the PBA's office windows you sell out.
A few things,
What Mike Reese neglected to mention is that when they were using the sit/lie law to push people out of other areas, the only place they did not push people out of was in front of Sisters of the Roads. Mike Reese and friends created the bulk of the sidewalk problem in front of Sisters of the Roads.
Needles are found all over Chinatown. that aint Sisters fault, that is the police' and our society's fault for putting very little effort in to honest methods of confronting drug problems. Finding one in Sisters is something that was going to happen, much akin to finding one anywhere else in the neighborhood. Jenny was right on that.
Sisters big problem is that they heard the rumblings of this happening and did not respond to it. I must say, if I was a customer there, I would be disappointed at being locked outside with the crime.
Sisters of the Road has a long term policy of gentle personalism and non violence. They are inclusive rather than exclusive encouraging volunteers and customers to engage using these principles. Sisters also encourages homeless and low income community members to become part of the solution rather than just complaining. Projects encouraging community members to become more engaged have included crossroads, cLot and Civic Action Group.
Drug and alcohol use is not allowed at Sisters, but as demonstrated, some community members have much room for growth and learning. Violators are excluded until they complete a conflict resolution and agree to abide with the rules.
Most drug users conceal their drug use so it can be difficult to address the behavior in every case. Closing the cafe was a step Sisters of the Road took because they are very concerned about the health and welfare of all community members.
Silly me, denying that the 'police and society' left the needles there to poke a 4-year-old.
I won't deny there are too few free treatment options, but if you think that 'gentle personalism and non violence' will stop determined drug addicts on the street, you will be seeing more of it.
They have more room for 'growth and learning.'
I know you all need to feel good about yourselves, and I'm not slamming compassion, Sisters had a good thing for awhile.
But until Portland drops the give them what they want attitude, it will only get worse. Look at what other cities have done - NOT what got us to 'WE'RE NUMBER ONE!'
Concerned citizen, I've been 'educating myself' on the streets of Portland for almost 20 years watching cruel intentions-based solutions produce the opposite intended effect.
Try results-oriented solutions for a change.
Concerned Citizen, dismissing someone's opinion by accusing them of alignment with an organization you may not agree with only serves to show that you are not interested in listening.

Needles are found all over Portland. Not just Chinatown, not just at Sisters of the Road. They are found in front of the Justice Center, they are found in front of the Lloyd Center. I know because I have found them there and many other places. Drug addiction is not the fault of the business but the permissive attitude of "helping" that they foster is more akin to enabling.

People who need help, need help. People who are going to be a burden on society and have no interest in changing because the welfare of the street is freely given and never applies standards to recive assistance are going to be a burden until they die.

Re read the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is not just about helping someone in need but also about that person getting back on their feet and repaying the debt.

Addicts and Alcoholics are not interested in getting better they are just interested in getting by. Those are not the kinds of people children of any age should be around for any reason. That 4 year old should not have been on the premises for any reason.

The Sit-Lie ordinance did not make this happen, Sisters of the Road did not make this happen. A nameless junkie and an thoughtless parent made this happen.

Maybe it makes you feel better to believe that people can be redeemed and in some rare cases that is true but for the most part the people who live to take do not give back and die unredeemed and remembered for the destruction they left behind.

Portland has no idea how to solve homlessness because Portland refuses to acknowledge the reasons many people are homeless. They do not want to participate in society they just want to take with out working.

I have been homeless, I have worked with the homeless here and in other states. They are not some noble cause to be championed. They are people to be weighed and measured like all others for worth of contribution to the society they ask to live in. If they are found wanting because they will not participate but insist on being kept at the expense of those who will work and contribute then they should not be welcome at the table where civilization eats.

Becoming part of the community is part of the solution. We all need to realize our interconnectedness if we are to work toward solutions.

Fear, and the resentments they build, are the root cause of most of the problems our society faces today. Hate begets fear which begets more hate. It is fear thats creates the isolation drug and alcohol addiction needs to develop.

I disagree that alcoholics and addicts are forever doomed to drink and use. Millions of members of AA and NA would support the idea of recovery. If you promote fear, hate or reject the concept of recovery you are part of the problem. I hope you find healing or move out of the state. We don't need those opinions perpetuating the problem.
Jee whiz, I mean the nations WAR ON DRUGS is such a raging success that we might as well PUT EVEN MORE MONEY INTO POLICE AND just throw everybody we can into jail, this time for life!

We don't tolerate this stuff in AMERICA, the land of FREEDOM and democracy.

I say JAIL FOR LIFE for all losers!

Keep Amerika FREE!
I will break this down into just why I think they have chosen this way to deal with the problem. I’m of the impression this choice was made to provide their customers a sense of “ownership”. This ownership concept already exists with the ability to volunteer in a number of capacities.

Exactly why the staff will not step up and deal with the problem is beyond logic if you ask me. They are placing themselves into a position where they do not have to make any kind of decisions that could be seen as unpopular. As best as I can see this makes them nothing more than food service workers. If this is the case Sisters should hire from within the homeless population since there are many with food service experience who could do the job just as well if not better.

How I would address the problem.
1. Those who have created the problem should be excluded from receiving services of ANY kind. Not all are deserving of the help being provided. There are plenty of other places to get a meal so nobody will starve.
2. Make those who choose to sell infront of the Cafe uncomfortable through the use of either digital cameras or cameras mounted to the building. The last thing a dealer wants is to be photographed.
3. Start calling the police about drug sales. Dealers and their customers will take their business elsewhere quickly.

See how easy that was? Three simple steps and they do not have to close their doors to the community they claim to be helping.

Does this make me a genius?
One difference between a charitable public accomodation for the homeless vs. say, a hospital or a jail, is that inmates suspected of carrying contraband into hospitals and jails are routinely searched, and any needles, weapons, and other dangerous articles that would be a threat to childrens' safety and well-being are confiscated.

It would be unthinkable, however, for a charitable public accomodation for the homeless to undertake to search visitors and seize articles. Therefore it is inevitable that needles and other dangerous articles will show up on the premises from time to time.

The question then becomes: is a premises on which homeless persons congregate, among whom will be those who bring and discard needles, and no reasonable remedy for said bringing and discarding of needles exists, a reasonable place for young children to visit?

Maybe what needs to happen is that there is maintained a small, private room, off-limits to general visitors, for use by mothers and children. Either that, or maybe children are not allowed - for their own safety - into the cafe.