Where Portland went wrong, cont'd

Residents in nearby houses have grown frustrated with the unsanitary conditions and some campers’ raucous behavior. But city officials say clearing the camp is not logistically or politically feasible. When city workers showed up to force campers out at the end of March, activists blocked the road, evoking the possibility of a violent confrontation. To avoid one, the city took a step back.

– from this story (alas, behind the Oregonian paywall)

That is not what should have been done. It is not what should be done now.

He’s not the only camper at Laurelhurst who just wants to live outside without being bothered. But overwhelmingly, campers either want their own apartment or would be open to an alternative outdoor shelter. A sanctioned camping cluster or tiny homes would provide feelings of community while not requiring people to sleep on a cot next to a stranger, Michael said.

Open a managed camp somewhere, then. Many of them still won't go. Personal autonomy, blah blah blah.

Capitalism is really rough sometimes. But here you are, dude.

Portland needs to get real about homelessness before it's too late to save it as a viable city.  But I wouldn't bet on that happening. 


  1. This was my favorite: "A 32-year-old, who declined to share his name because he didn’t want his parents to know where he was, said he lives outside because he doesn’t trust banks, doesn’t want to work and doesn’t want to pay rent. He has a college degree and a family home he could return to, but he doesn’t want to operate under any rules, he said." The last part says it all "he doesn't want to operate under any rules." I think this describes the vast majority of those on the street.

    1. Yep. In addition to shelter beds, Portland needs jail beds. And a large force of whatever-you-want-to-call-the-police to hassle guys like that every night until they leave for San Francisco.

      Instead we get bike lanes and light rail.


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