Of beggars and choosers

The O ran an interesting story on Friday about where the Laurelhusrt Park campers went – and didn't go – when the city evicted them from the park on Thursday, The story is behind the Paywall of Pity, but the gist was that only eight of the campers went to a mass indoor shelter, even though 40 beds were available. 

The article said the shelters don’t require people to be sober, they give a person a bed (not a floor mat), and they accommodate pets and couples. At a shelter, homeless people get meals, showers, laundry, and some medical support. But as the story also noted, a lot of homeless people say going to a shelter "is worse than sleeping in an individual tent. They report a lack of privacy, dignity and safety."

Now, there is a line that Portland is going to have to draw politically if it's ever going to solve the tent camping crisis: If you're homeless, there's a limit to how much privacy and dignity you're going to get. As for safety, with a $2.1 BILLION budget over 10 years, I'm sure we can get security in the shelters and access to real cops.

No doubt we can get the shelters up to about the quality of Army barracks. And people with children are going to need something more like a motel room. But it's not going to be a particularly nice place, and you aren't going to get to live the rogue life you enjoy in your tent or zombie vehicle on the street or in the park. Your options are a shelter bed, a managed camp, a jail bed, or some other city.

Let me know when Portland is ready to say something that blunt to the squatters. No one currently in elective office here is probably ever going to say it.