New theory

I wrote a while back about an interesting lawsuit, in which disabled people are asking a court to force the City of Portland to clear the sidewalks of the legions of "homeless" tent squatters that are blocking the right-of-way. Perhaps that angle will force action where the spineless politicians won't otherwise take any.

Now comes news of another threatened legal action, which would be filed by the same troublemaker lawyer, in which the plaintiff would ask the court to force the city to remove permanently the grotesque tent camp at Laurelhurst Park. This time the theory is protection of the squatters. The trees there are old, some of them are diseased, and if the city doesn't move the tents out, one of the occupants could be killed by a falling limb or trunk.

“The branches and limbs of the trees are at risk of falling and pose a significant threat of severe bodily harm or death to anyone in their target zone,” [the lawyer, John] DiLorenzo wrote city attorney Robert Taylor and city forester Jenn Cairo. “Any people living or sleeping in the tent encampments are at an elevated risk of death or injury much greater than that of an ordinary pedestrian.

“My clients urge you to permanently clear the tent encampments lining SE Oak Street and send licensed arborists to care for and remediate the city-owned trees,” DiLorenzo continued. “My clients do not want to see a senseless and tragic death or injury caused by the City’s inaction.”

Would a lawsuit help the remedy along? I can see the city's defense now: The trees are no threat because the street people are going to die of violence or drug overdoses before any of the trees could come crashing down on them.

It's amazing, isn't it, that it's taking epic courtroom struggles and all sorts of novel legal contortions to get City Hall to do the sensible thing? Portland will never come back until street camping is outlawed and the rules enforced. Homeless people should be offered a shelter bed, a bus ticket out of town, or a jail cell. Adults with kids should get a converted motel room. Until the options are limited to those, the breakdown of basic civilization in the city will persist.

But pass the popcorn on these lawsuits. Dang.


  1. Has Portland ever published the amount of money it spends on the “homeless issue”

    It always tells us how much it spends on schools


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