Three hots and a cot

If I were king, my solution to the homeless problem would not start (or end, for that matter) with a free apartment for every adult. But homeless families with children would get a free motel room. In a place with a lot of rules.

I take it that that's what some families are, in fact, getting under current programs in and around Portland. And a couple of proposals to expand hotel and motel conversions in the area are in the news today. The two projects are moving in opposite directions, however.

First, here in Portland, county commissioner Sharon Meieran, the only one on the board I would trust with anything important, is proposing that the county buy and convert the Crowne Plaza Hotel over by the Rose Quarter into a homeless shelter and mental illness treatment center. It sounds like the right place for it. There's a sanctioned homeless camp on nearby land, and for many years Central City Concern has successfully operated a converted motel on the awkward triangular block just across I-5 from the camp. And so the neighborhood is already a de facto social service district. It makes a lot of sense to move some more troubled souls off the streets of other parts of town and into that neighborhood.

But Meieran's proposal is probably going to run into problems, because that is also the area where the developer weasels are going to have the taxpayers pay to cover the freeway so that they can erect more of their high-rise schlock, under the preposterous cover story of somehow making reparations to Black people. If the developers have their way, there'll be fewer, not more, needy people milling around over that way.

Meanwhile, down in Clackistan, this morning county chair Tootie Smith abruptly changed her vote, already cast, from yes to no on doing a hotel conversion on Sunnyside Road. Since she was the swing vote, the project is now dead. The county was supposed to take over and convert the Quality Inn (pictured, five years ago) just across I-205 from Clackamas Town Center. The local business people successfully twisted Smith's arm and killed it. When it passed last month, the project sounded pretty civilized.

Amidst all the dithering, not nearly enough is being done to solve the crisis on our streets. There's a lot of tax being collected and handed out to nonprofits. And a lot of politicians are talking. But drive around and see for yourself. The situation is not getting better, not at all.


  1. First make it easier to prosecute for possession with intent to sell. (Get them off the streets)
    Then provide temporary housing for families

  2. In my opinion, Albina Vision Trust is operating a racist land grab and none of our local elected officials nor the Oregon Department of Justice have the political will to denounce their attempt to draw an Afrocentric redline to keep white people out of their piece of Portland. Just remember that before black people lived in Albina, white people lived there and built the houses. And before the white people lived there, Native Americans did. How far back do we go to achieve equity? Will Albina Vision Trust at least have the decency to do a land acknowledgement when they have their inaugural ground breaking?


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