Salem's twisted priorities

Here's the lead story on the OPB website this morning: Our state legislators are keen on making sure that cities don't infringe on the rights of the many people living in tents.

[U]nder House Bill 3115, local governments would be required to adopt policies that are “objectively reasonable” in regulating when, where and how people can live outdoors in the midst of a worsening housing crisis. If cities enforced more restrictive measures, impacted homeless people could sue to stop them.

Of all the things to be bothering with right now. There's already a court decision spellinng out what the cities can't do, but I guess the politicians have to weigh in on top of that. Don't hassle our wonderful tent-dwellers.

The homeless crisis in Oregon cities calls for tough love. As a practical matter, the local officials in most places aren't ever going to be tough enough. But just in case, the legislature wants to nip any toughness in the bud.

On the love side, there needs to be a lot more shelter space, and some initiatives to try some different approaches from the tried and failed. Where are the legislators on that? I believe the noise you're hearing is crickets.

The bill in the OPB story is the work of Tina Kotek, the speaker of the House. Now, there's a politician I have always had zero use for. But at least she's consistent.


  1. The problem with adding additional shelter spaces, even enough to house everyone on the street, is threefold.
    1. Only a certain percentage of folks would avail themselves of shelter space.
    2. Another percent will refuse to live in a shelter because they don't want to follow the rules that keep those spaces from descending into total anarchy.
    3. Once word get out to the rest of the West Coast , more people will descend on Portland.

    Rinse and repeat.

    1. That's where the tough part comes in. If you can't live in a shelter, you don't get to live in a tent. You get moved and hassled until you decide things are better for you in some other city. Tina Kotek wouldn't like it, though, nor would a lot of other people. And so our dead downtown will stay dead.

  2. Why the Hell can't we have tighter controls over selling sawed off Catalytic convertors? It isn't just the mess of living in 3rd world hovels but the open season on anything that can be sold for drugs. And hey, now they don't even have to do any time.

  3. "Objectively reasonable." Such an exacting standard in this context that definitely won't lead to a lot of litigation (insert eye roll).


Post a Comment

The platform used for this blog is awfully wonky when it comes to comments. It may work for you, it may not. It's a Google thing, and beyond my control. Apologies if you can't get through. You can email me a comment at, and if it's appropriate, I can post it here for you.