Lather, rinse, repeat

Here's some interesting, and infuriating, testimony given before the Portland City Council this morning:

Good morning Mayor Wheeler and Council members,

I am John DiLorenzo, a City resident and attorney.  Last year, I had the pleasure to represent the plaintiffs in the Tozer ADA lawsuit, which resulted in a settlement agreement with the City and benefits for our neighbors with disabilities who can now navigate many city sidewalks.

Part of the settlement agreement requires the City to provide us quarterly reports as to its progress.  Since last July, the City has engaged in over 4,000 encampment removals which approximate 8,000 to 12,000 tents.  The City employs Rapid Response, a bio-hazard removal company to perform these removals and has agreed to pay Rapid Response more than $26 million over its 4 year contract through this year.

The number of tent removals so far has exceeded the number of houseless persons living on our streets according to the last point in time count.  So, where are all the new tents coming from?

They are coming from the JOINT OFFICE OF HOMELESS SERVICES.  The Joint Office maintains forms, like those I have brought with me today, that show every check out of supplies from the warehouse.

In his letter of June 4 to the County Chair, Comm. Gonzales said it remains unclear as to how many tents and tarps have been distributed by the Joint Office, only to be left to the City to clean up. 

Well, these forms answer that question.  Since our settlement agreement last June, the Joint Office has distributed another 6,554 tents and 24,172 tarps.  Certain groups and direct recipients have, in turn, placed these tents and tarps back on our sidewalks and neighborhood streets where the clean-up cycle repeats and millions more dollars are expended.  The County has supplied us an XL spreadsheet which has allowed us to list by numbers of tents and tarps the particular groups that have been involved in placing them in the neighborhoods.  Even your own contractor, Rapid Response, checked out 58 tents and 248 tarps since our agreement -- tents and tarps which they arguably were paid again to clean up. 

Your agreement with the Joint Office requires the County to indemnify you from all expense and cost you incur as a result of the County’s actions.  At minimum, I believe the Costs of the ADA lawsuit, your costs of performing under the settlement agreement, and the tens of millions of dollars you have expended for the Impact Reduction Program should be reimbursed to you by the County due to these imprudent policies.

And of course, if you truly desire to engage in harm reduction, you should sever your relationship with the Joint Office altogether and use the $42 million of dues you pay each year to provide a more compassionate response – sheltering people as opposed to allowing them to languish on the streets. 

Thank you for the time you have provided me this morning.  I am happy to answer any questions and to supply these records to your clerk so you can see for yourselves.

Eighteen new tents and 66 new tarps handed out. Every single day.

Of course, the head of the office making this mess, Shannon Singleton, is about to be rewarded by the voters with a seat on the county commission, where she and the chair, Jessie From Council Crest, will keep this up for at least another couple of years. It's insane. 


  1. DiLorenzo is an awesome attorney, with a record of good work. His points made above are truly discouraging for the citizens hoping for some real change is the condition of Portland. Well, the voters of Portland and Multnomah county continue to elect the perpetrators of civic decay, time after time. You truly do get the government you deserve. Apparently there is no 'waking up' from the leftist utopian dream.

  2. It's a testimony to the fecklessness of the current Council that they are still involved with JOHS. They should exit from the JOHS agreement, and invoke the indemnity clause to put MultCo on the hook for the costs of the ADA lawsuit and the costs of complying with it. It's the only way Portland can get JVP's attention.

  3. In the end, the city and the county need to be merged. The back and forth is suicidal.

    1. Spin off Portland County from Multnomah County (as Multnomah County was spun off from Clackamas County), and then merge Portland city and county.

      The remainder of Multnomah County (Gresham, et. al.) would still be one of the more populous counties in the state, and you wouldn't have East County desperately fighting to keep from being annexed into Portland.

  4. I’m sure glad I don’t live in MultCo/CoP anymore! My investments I’m popcorn futures are doing very well in anticipation of the Cat5 clusterfuck that’s coming to MultCo/CoP in Jan 2025.

  5. Bigger isn't always better and in the case of government it is usually worse. Merging the city and county is like rearranging the deck chairs when the ship is sinking.

  6. A merger would make the bureaucracy smaller, not bigger.

    1. In theory that should be the result. In reality it would expand.

  7. I bet that public hearing was petty tents... You'd think Willy Weak would be all over this story, but no it took an attorney with his 2 minutes of time before our overlords to spill the beans on why nothing changes.


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