"You might as well start getting jail space open"

Finally, the homeless nonprofit industrial complex and I agree on something. It came in a quote from a program manager at Street Roots, the homeless newspaper of Portland. She was talking about the mayor's plan to usher the city's tent squatters into supervised camps:

"From talking to people out on the street you might as well start getting jail space open because I have not found anybody yet who is like 'yay, I’m on board with moving to these campuses,'" she said.

I've said for a long while that the city's public camping situation has gotten so bad that it won't be solved without major law enforcement involvement. You would need drastic expansions of shelter space, mental illness treatment space, drug rehab space, and yes, jail space. 

None of the above is going to happen without a major shift in leadership at the state, county, and city levels (and now the dopey Metro level is involved as well). Change certainly isn't going to happen just because our miserably failed mayor wishes it so.

But yeah, the Street Roots person is right. The only other places a lot of the tent dwellers have to go are drug treatment or jail. And an addict never, or almost never, wants treatment. If they won't move along, off the sidewalk and into a designated camping area, you might as well start getting jail space open.

So why don't we get real and do that?


  1. Did you see this article? Some history (Faircloth Amendment) plus people who came up with a plan and implemented it. Imagine dedicated people actually coming up with a strategy and following through on it. It's time Portland got off the pot and stopped fiddle-farting around! Sure, the pandemic exacerbated the problem greatly, but the homeless problem in Portland has been increasing for decades with no solution/resolution in sight, just more debates about what to do.

  2. “Mayor wishes it so”
    Sadly, a sizable number of shallow thinking voters have the same social blinders. Been that way for decades

  3. The vast majority of campers are white, so the lefties should be fine with putting them in jail- for equity...

  4. The majority of the intractable homeless are schizophrenic or have a related disorder. Addiction is always overestimated as a cause of homelessness, when in reality it’s mostly a symptom.


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