We’re continuing to track the concerns about people who live outside along the Springwater path, the conditions of the path, and the safety of people who ride bikes on it.
Our two recent stories on the subject — one about concerns from path users and the current state of law enforcement response to them, and the other that shared the perspectives of the homeless residents themselves — has sparked a big discussion.
This issue obviously goes way beyond bicycling. We’re covering it because it impacts conditions on properties managed by the Portland Parks & Recreation and Bureau of Transportation that have transportation corridors running through them (like the Springwater, Waterfront Park, and the Greeley path).
Here are a few updates:
Neighborhoods are stepping up to address the issues
– Terry Dublinski-Milton, a member of the Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition action committee has been actively working on this. He tells us SEUL, which represents 19 southeast Portland neighborhoods, is “taking the lead.” They’re working with houseless community advocates to find a long-term solution so that people who cannot find shelter have a more sustainable and safe place to live. Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association Chair Eric Wikoff confirmed with us that he’s working with the SE Uplift Executive Committee to address the issues as well. Wikoff said the topic will be discussed at their upcoming meeting on February 4th.
– Lents Active Watch is a neighborhood group that formed last spring to, “begin patrols and take a more involved step into the Lents neighborhood.” They have an event planned this Sunday (1/24) dubbed “Walking the Walk” where they plan to get out on the Springwater path in the area around SE 82nd and Harney to “explore the neighborhood and get to know your neighbors.” Show up Sunday at 4:00 pm at Cartlandia (8145 SE 82nd) to join in. Come for the walk, stay for the food!
City of Portland statements on camping near the Springwater path
To help clarify the city’s position on the issue (that may be different than what you think), below are two statements. The first comes from the Parks Bureau (they manage the Springwater), the second comes from Mayor Charlie Hales’ office:
(Photo: M. Anderson/BikePortland)
Portland Parks (emphases mine)
Portland Parks & Recreation is aware of campsites off the Springwater Trail, including in the area you mention. It is indeed a challenge; a lot of folks have expressed concerns, fears and frustrations, and we are working with the Mayor’s Office on a more sustainable solution. Please know we are bidden to follow the Mayor’s Office’s direction on this issue (see below).
As you likely already know, the City Council has enacted a State of Emergency around homelessness last year. In addition, the City of Portland changed the policy regarding campsite clean-ups. This new policy reflects an equitable set of best practices to address the homeless challenge in Portland in a humane and safe way, while at the same time allowing the City to take appropriate action when the situation calls for it. The Parks bureau is complying with the City’s new policy which generally permits low impact camping on city property, but gross misuse of public space is not tolerated. Let me add that this policy does not apply to emerging criminal behavior. All crimes in progress should be reported to police. Furthermore, we ask residents to report campsite observations to the city’s campsite coordination program called One Point of Contact, at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/campsites.
Each location is assessed by the Mayor’s Office and can include removal of camps at city parks. You can also report any non-emergency issues including camping to parks at 503-823-1637. We have about 4 to 8 rangers on daily duty during winter months. They do respond to calls for services, prioritize them, and take action as appropriate. Under the new policy on camping, they cannot remove camps until an approval from the Mayor’s office is received. What helps secure this approval is your campsite reports to the One Point of Contact program, at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/campsites.
Recently the City of Portland changed our policy regarding campsite clean-ups. This new policy reflects an equitable set of best practices to address the homeless challenge in Portland in a humane and safe way, while at the same time allowing the City to take appropriate action when the situation calls for it.
As has been widely reported, the City Council has enacted a State of Emergency around Housing and Homelessness because we lack sufficient indoor space – whether temporary shelter or permanent affordable housing – to house our approximately 2,000 homeless people living on our streets. The City has prioritized the funding and building of more bed spaces, but in the meantime the City is managing public space in a realistic, balanced manner and is generally permitting very low impact camping. However, criminal activity and gross misuse of public space continues to not be tolerated.
If you send in some info on a camping situation we can document it, and it will be reviewed and prioritized with other campsites already under review. email@example.com
It’s worth noting that a reader saw a visible increase in police and ranger presence after he rode the path yesterday.
This is an important issue and I know there are many passionate voices with different perspectives on how to best to address it. I hope we can have a respectful and productive dialogue so that BikePortland readers can be a part of the solution.
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – firstname.lastname@example.org
BikePortland can’t survive without paid subscribers. Please sign up today.
If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at email@example.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.
After receiving and reading the new laws passed by Gov Brown from the PPD officers, basically saying they cannot do anything (see the officers response in the original article on BP)
This at least gives a glimmer of light in that iron clad wall of policy that PPD is hiding behind.
“gross misuse of public space continues to not be tolerated.”
I’d say Portland Parks & Rec has the clear go ahead from the Mayors office to “clean up” and remove those campers on Spring Water at 82nd (both east and west side of 82nd)
They are very clearly “misusing” public space;
-Defacing public property = graffiti on the path, walls, fences.
-public defecation on the path
-dumping on public land
– destroying (in large areas) natural vegetation
-littering (at an astronomical rate) Abandoned shopping carts full of garbage, junk, bike parts, trash bags, food bags and glass all liter the Spring water path.
Ok Portland Parks & Rec you put it writing now act on your word.
SOME of the campers. Not all.
No.. All create refuse. We all pay taxes, and pay for garbage and recycling. Since they can’t, trash piles up. Quit defending them. It’s getting quite old.
Street lights along the path would make a big difference. It’s a key commute route, and oncoming traffic in the dawn and dusk hours can come up fast. I’m surprised there aren’t more collisions reported.
Don’t count on any new lighting any time soon… Last time I checked, local conservation/urban naturalists/ wildlife interests would oppose attempts to brighten up the corridor.
Oppose on what grounds?
what’s worse for the ecosystem… lights or trash and untreated human waste?
Wasn’t that more for the Oaks Bottom section of the springwater though?
yes. really though, i should keep my mouth shut until I do more research into it.
What’s worse for the ecosystem, a well-lit path ridden by cyclists, or a dark path that forces people into a planet-killing car?
Pfft, I’ve seen park rangers deliberately turn the other way when they encounter public drinking on the Springwater.
Honest question: who here has never drank beer in a city park? Often times, “public drinking” laws are used to profile certain types of people and remove them from public spaces. If someone is drunk and harassing people then sure, address the problem. But what’s the big deal about someone minding their own business while enjoying a beverage?
Simple answer: It’s against the law. Do we really want a society in which individuals get to determine which laws apply to them?
“Do we really want a society in which individuals get to determine which laws apply to them?”
Is that sarcasm?
I not only demand a society where individuals have the freedom to determine which laws they follow but am willing to fight for that society.
Great! Fight for my right to escape the tyranny of speed limits!
Difference there is that’s a law designed to keep people safe. But yes, I want to live in a society where people question unjust laws and work towards fairness for all groups, not just the ones the ruling class “approves” of.
So laws you support should be obeyed, but those you don’t needn’t be? If we can all make that judgement for ourselves, there will be a lot more drivers speeding than people enjoying a glass of Merlot in the park.
The way to change a law you find unjust is to work through the democratic process and change the law, as we did recently with marijuana. It is not to simply ignore laws you don’t personally like.
I am not saying that at all. My point is that not all laws are written with public safety in mind, and some are even specifically written to keep marginalized groups silent and complacent. When police selectively enforce laws based on what group a person falls under, that’s corruption and needs to be addressed.
Adam one could pretty easily make an argument that alcohol in public is a public safety issue as well.
Civil disobedience (even trivial disobedience) is not compatible with democracy?
How so? Drinking alcohol is a legal activity as long as the individual is over 21. Why is it okay to do so in a semi-public bar, but not okay do to so in a public sidewalk or park? Some may argue that the bartender limits consumption, but this constraint does not exist if drinking at home or at a private party. Unlike smoking, bystanders cannot get second-hand damage from being near someone drinking. As long as the individual is consuming responsibly, there shouldn’t be any problem. Anything dangerous a drunk person could do in a park are already illegal.
Yes, drinking responsibly is not a problem. Public drinking laws did not come about because of responsible behavior.
Right, but the point is that drinking irresponsibly is frowned upon everywhere, yet we only ban drinking entirely in parks. If someone is responsibly drinking, why does it matter where they do it?
I think the difference is that if I drink irresponsibly on your living room, you can ask me to leave.
I am free to fornicate in my house, but not on the sidewalk in front of yours. Do you really not see the difference?
Plenty of cities don’t have public drinking laws, realistically it is the kind of behavior you see here associated with the drinking that caused us to have these laws in Portland. If we didn’t have people abusing the priviledge we could all drink in the park and just place the empty cans into a recycling bin when we were done.
The ACLU are perverts who support pedophiles!
Either you misunderstand what the ACLU is about, or I do. I believe they fight against unconstitutional or unjust laws, not for an individual’s right to only obey those laws that they want to.
Either you misunderstand what the ACLU is about, or I do.
So when a minority violates a law they consider to be unjust, they are “only obey[ing] those laws that they want to”. But when the majority violates a law they consider unjust, they are practicing their “constitutional” right to fight tyranny.
I didn’t say that. All I was saying was that letting individuals choose which laws apply to them is not likely to work out very well. There is certainly room for civil disobedience, but I don’t think that’s what most people, whatever their socioeconomic status, are thinking about when they drink in the park.
Can you please explain how one can practice civil disobedience if we do not let “individuals choose which laws apply to them”.
There is a difference between saying “the law doesn’t apply to me so I can do what I want”, and saying “the law applies to me but is immoral, and therefore I cannot follow it in good conscience; I will demonstrate its injustice by violating it.”
Drinking in the park is not taking a principled stand — it is drinking in the park. It’s even less principled if you are drinking a WA merlot, which, as we agree, is a real crime.
There’s a group of folks waiting for you in Eastern Oregon.
Those privileged white males in eastern OR are disobeying laws and are being treated differently from POC who disobey the very same laws. I find this to be outrageous and emblematic of deep-seated bias in our law enforcement system.
Similarly, I find it offensive that privileged white people like me are treated differently by PDX law enforcement from people living in tents.
When the people writing and enforcing said laws are corrupt, then yes. The laws in this country are stacked against minorities, marginalized groups, and the poor. Obviously, this is bigger than some silly public drinking law, but blind adherence to the law is also unhealthy.
Wow, in 5 years in the area, I’ve never seen a ranger on the springwater (seen a couple on the 205 path).
I’m glad to hear that… bans on public drinking are arcane…
I sometimes go for a walk around the neighborhood with a stemless glass of wine*. Am I a criminal? Should I be arrested and processed? Is this the best use of tax payer monies?
*typically WA merlot — which someone would consider the real crime.
No, you’re privileged.
Yes…yes I am.
I think it’s safe to say that everyone on this forum is privileged. Just living in a relatively safe and free country makes you privileged over the rest of humanity that is not nearly so fortunate.
Stating the obvious does not make it any less wrong. Portland can easily afford to provide housing for the houseless.
I agree, and I wish we would. I was not defending the current situation.
Put down the wine and open your wallet then.
“The Parks bureau is complying with the City’s new policy which generally permits low impact camping on city property, but gross misuse of public space is not tolerated.”
Amanda Fritz owes me a new B-S meter. Mine just maxed out and exploded.
From my discussions with the long term houseless residents who have been there for years with low impact, the increase in disruptive behavior occurred not long after last summer’s sweeps at the waterfront. That correlates well in timing with my increase in uneasiness and visably aggressive experiences on the corridor.
Kick a disruptive influence from a highly visible location to tourists….it will then move. In this case to a neighborhood that has been dealing with systemic poverty for generations. Is anyone surprised?
Just push them all to Gateway! Problem solved! /s
There was also a very noticeable uptick when they broke up the huge camp under 205 at Flavel about 1.5 years ago.
I put this on the previous thread very late in the “conversation” It was in response to photos of garbage stuck in riparian vegetation over the flowing water of Johnson Creek.
The efforts of Johnson Creek Watershed Council to recreate a natural setting around Johnson Creek could do more than create flood control and enhance fish and bird habitat. Areas that function, look, sound and smell like natural areas are a balm for the spirit. Persons of little income (or no income) can get soul renewing recreation by being in such a place. The sound of splashing water in a shady riverbend on a hot day can transport a person away from their daily concerns. To cycle through such a place would be renewing in a brief, concise passage.
The campers who are trashing the commons are not just making a place ugly and counteracting habitat restoration, they are eliminating low cost, high value recreation. They are taking something of value from people who have NOT given up on being part of society. They are taking something away from working people who may have few high value recreation options.
It is a complex problem, but although the campers may be societal victims, they in turn, are victimizing people who are playing by the rules.
The increase of density occurred without any controls. Then the flood came and there was a four foot wave that washed everyone’s belongings downstream. The “old timers” want to clean it up but the ‘ new group ” does not Care. Hopefully, we can start getting some resources to help them.
At this time – it’s really not safe to do a thorough clean up. The banks are too unstable and the overhanging riparian isn’t accessible. The official clean-up events happen in the summer when the water volumes are low and the banks have had a chance to firm up/dry out. I’d hate to see our conscientious old timers get hurt. I know they feel responsible, and I thank them for that, but it’s really the new-comers that want to build favelas where they can hide their accumulations of what’s likely stolen goods that caused the problem. They had so much stuff that they weren’t able to move it out and it just got washed everywhere.
That is exactly how I saw the situation. Not only is the habitat soaked, but the river level is really high. The long term residents are as disturbed as anyone.
I’ve always thought that if the campers took better care of their surroundings, cleaned up after themselves, and kept their areas tidy, they would be more welcomed by neighbors (or, to be fair, less unwelcomed).
I realize that some try, and others are simply unable to do this, but when people see piles of trash around these campsites, it does not help win over the hearts and minds of their fellow Portlanders.
Yes, they are on the margins of society, but they are also part of society, and are still bound by its rules.
I want to live in a society where people experiencing poverty and homelessness are welcomed by neighbors and helped by the government, not one where the marginalized group must prove their worthiness to the ruling class.
I do too, though I disagree this issue has anything at all to do with anyone needing to prove anything to anyone.
Come live near this shit-show and you’ll quickly have a change of heart. Unfortunately there are homeless individuals whose intent is not to terrorize the neighborhoods around the trail, but are getting tagged as such; I get this.. but what drives me absolutely nuts are armchair quarterbacks that can feel good about themselves about being progressive without actually having to experience the constant threat to Person or Property. My response is not targeted directly to you Adam; for all I know you may live by the trail also, but I’m sick of hearing from people from parts of the City that do not have constant homeless traffic and make inane commentary from 20,000 feet up.
I’m not saying that someone should just put up with this issue near their home. I understand it’s hard. I just wish the response from neighbors was “how can we help” rather than “get these people out of here”.
How can they help?
That I don’t have the answers for. Other than seeing the issues that cause homelessness as the problem instead of seeing the homeless people as the problem.
I think most people do see the causes of homelessness as the problem.
I wouldn’t want my neighbors to leave their trash all over the place, regardless of whether I lived in a house, an apartment, in a tent, in my car, or on the street. It just makes life that much more unpleasant for everyone, most especially those who have no choice but to live amid it.
Adam, a lot of the feelings that many neighbors express on this issue run a lot deeper than just this one specific issue. There wis a lot of resentment and anger at the City in this outer SE area of Portland. Many people feel that we have been neglected by the city (in services, infrastructure, attention, police response times, etc.) for a long time, and this is just the latest example of “well it’s out east far enough where no one with any political clout lives, so they can just deal with it. Many people feel that we live in an abandoned section of Portland, and this is just another example of that.
I think a lot of residents in this area have been looking for help from the city for decades and haven’t gotten a lot. Thus they are weary to really look to extend help themselves.
Rules made by and for the privileged. Rules that often do not apply to the privileged.
*illegally sips merlot while walking outside*
Merlot is fine. Old English? Not so much.
I noticed a couple of tidy camps last summer with trash cans and recycling bins. I have zero heartburn about those types of campers.
I wonder if focusing resources on the sorts of people who take pride in their homes (and themselves) would do more to reduce homelessness than trying to save everybody?
great point and articulated very well! Diminishing the quality and availablity of our outdoor spaces is a loss for all citizens and may have the biggest harm on those with the fewest means
“We’re continuing to track the concerns about people who live outside along the Springwater path and the safety of people who ride bikes on it.”
it’s not the people living outside along the path that worry people, it’s the aggressive and unstable people frequenting the path and making trouble that we’re concerned about…
I don’t remember anybody stating that they had problems with people that they knew were living there… I think victims were assuming the perps lived there, like the article is assuming…
Be careful how you read my intro Spiffy. I am saying there are two concerns: 1) The people living outside (their health and safety) and 2) the people who ride the path and feel their safety is threatened.
I’ll consider clarifying that sentence… But please don’t jump to the conclusion and assume I have a “problem with people living there.”
A civilized society does not sanction people living outside because they are too poor for permanent housing.
This is third world kind of stuff. Shiny new condos and towers with people living in shanties around them. We should be embarrassed….
Find some D*mn wearhouses or something. Find out who these people are, what they need to get functioning, stop acting like you are compassionate by giving human beings a patch of ground to legally pitch a tent on.
This problem seems to be growing daily here. Hales, Novack, Fritz, etc. should just all be fired immediately for there total negligence…
Agreed. Hales declares a state of emergency, then permits a shanty town, relegating people to a lawless mud-hole devoid of services, protections (from law enforcement, public observation, or protection via codes/standards). If this an emergency (and I agree that it is), then allocate a genuine resource toward this: provide a clean, dry place, close to services and easily serviced. Provide addiction and mental health services. The City owns a couple of parking garages downtown that would probably work great for this for a short term fix. Actually giving up something (the City) to help these people would go along way to generate support for more permanent fixes. Asking the people receiving help to obey basic laws (no drug use, no littering, etc) would also help separate the people who need support from the sketchy people who choose to live in the fringes and support themselves criminally!
I like living in a tent though. I only live in a real house because my Dad get concerned. I don’t even sleep in a bed, I have a heavy blanket, a fleece blanket, and a sleeping bag. It’s comfy 😀
As for the “City’s new policy which generally permits low impact camping on city property”…my reading of this statement (and the intent of the council) would this now allow houseless individuals to “park” a tent in an on street parking space or off street parking structure stall as long as they pulled a permit or paid for the space?
“Low-impact” generally means you pitch your tent at 9 or 10 pm and you pack it up by 7 am. Settling somewhere, even semi-permanently, is not low-impact. Having accumulations of trash that exceed what you can fit into a gallon zip-lock bag is not low impact. Hauling around more than a change or two of clothes is not low impact.
I think the best low-impact option is a camping hammock – as long as it’s not tethered to trees in a way that damages them. If folks can get to where they’re living out of a single backpack, packing everything they need up on a daily basis and leaving as little trace of the time they spent camping/sleeping as possible – that’s low impact.
Low impact is knowing you can get a day pass to a gym to shower. Low impact is using a laundromat. Low impact is eating on-site where you purchase food so you can dispose of the packaging.I know these choices are hard when things like buying cigarettes are really a need to keep energy levels up and making good choices is harder when you’re in crisis mode. But it’s about making good choices and unlearning the bad habits you pick up from being in poverty crisis mode.
That’s exactly what Ammon Bundy and his crew are saying.
I don’t read that at all. Working against unjust laws vs setting up your own parallel government are two different things entirely. Showing some restraint about people camping on public lands vs people refusing to pay grazing fees out of principle are also two different things entirely.
nope… Bundy wants the law to favor them rather than everybody…
Oh the irony! A rancher suckling from the government teat leading an armed insurrection because he doesn’t like the milk.
False equivalence. What Bundy and his crew are doing is the very definition of white privilege. What I am arguing for is breaking down this privilege that allows a group of white men with guns to occupy a federal building without intervention from law enforcement.
Soooo… shoot them all?
Bundy and his bunch are also armed and threatening to shoot anyone who interferes with them.
My mom used to say something was “on the fritz” when it wasn’t working properly. Hello? Amanda? Are you there?
“Under the new policy on camping, they cannot remove camps until an approval from the Mayor’s office is received.”
Then these camps are the mayor’s fault. That he will not approve that they be removed demonstrates a lack of commitment to public safety. Which doubles down on his City’s police Department’s inability to manage the bike theft problem.
This mayor is being negligent…
That is an utterly unreasonable interpretation of the situation, and you know it.
Hardly. This is a choice that the mayor has exercised for years to intentionally do nothing about the tent city along this trail despite the variety of crimes being committed there on a daily basis. Not only is this negligent, but it creates and rationalizes a sense of lawlessness. While the city is busy filling city offices with diversity and equity officers, the mayor says he can’t do anything here, let alone investigate bike theft. This is hardly an unreasonable perspective.
Maybe he will not approve removal of the camps because it is illegal to do so without providing an adequate alternative. If there were an easy answer on how to do that, it would have been done long ago.
I do not think Hales has been a stellar mayor, but he does not bear sole responsibility for a widely recognized crisis that has been building for over a decade.
Really, it’s illegal for the City to enforce local ordinances that prohibit camping? Really?
I wonder what “law” prohibits enforcing the City’s laws? Do you see the problem with the formulation you’ve presented? The City’s own laws prohibit camping, hence, how could it be illegal then to enforce the City’s own laws? Answer – it is not illegal at all.
Hales needs to enforce the law, period.
I’m sure there are people here who know more about this than I do, but I believe a judge told Portland that it can’t enforce that law. So yes, it is illegal.
I also had never seen any Ranger, until yesterday. There were a couple on the Flavel to 92nd section.
Rode the AOT again today, but only from 122nd to 92nd. On the stretch from 205 to 92nd there were 2 CoP cars, a city pickup with an equipment trailer and a dump truck. They had one of those mini “ditch witch” tracked things moving soggy trash to the dump truck.
On my return trip the DW was gone and the dumper was full. and they’d only cleaned up 1 site.
At this rate, the soggy trash MAY be gone by Summer ?
I’m starting to think that homelessness should be addressed at the federal level. The root causes need to be addressed at the national level, not the municipal level, and federal levels of funding might be needed to provide housing to all who need it. Of course, another huge federal bureaucracy would not be thrifty or efficient…
“Root causes” is code for blaming someone else for the plight of these folks, ie., big business, white males, not enough education funding, not enough welfare spending…except that, despite the BILLIONS expended at the federal level and BILLIONS more at the state level, this problem is being solved. Hence, suggesting that we should let the feds solve it is a fool’s errand.
I’m reluctant to post this, but for anyone interested:
“Open” carry might be more effective in getting the “evil-doers” to steer clear of you. Sling an AR-15 over your shoulder and no one will bother you, on the Springwater, or at Malheur.
I don’t know why, but the city emails me Charlies newsletter.
He is currently in Washington DC , telling other mayors about his success dealing with the homeless.
The solution is legally quite easy. Transfer the land adjacent to a private non profit who will manage the land under contract. Therefore the cops can boot the squatters. If they encroach the path, they can be cited as well. Solved. You are welcome.
The police cannot chase them out of there now?
I truly feel that, like San Fran, Portland is a destination for the homeless and transient because the City makes it so comfortable to be homeless and to transit the area. Whether it’s accommodating the tent sites under the overpasses; tolerating the large groups of unsafe, unclean, and, frankly, dangerous people along the river front; not doing anything about the tent town along the Springwater…people up and down the west coast recognize that Portland will accommodate them should they choose to be homeless.
Now, I am not talking about the temporary homeless, but the chronically homeless and professional transients.
The City can do something other than tolerating this situation and permitting it’s residents and visitors to be accosted, be pressured, and,otherwise, feel unsafe. It’s just that the City chooses to do nothing, oh, except to be it’s own temporary shanty town that only encourages more people to come be homeless here in Portland.
The term is not “Professional Transients” they are “life adventurers” (professionals get paid)
It’s well-established at this point that the cheapest way to deal with homelessness is to provide homes for the homeless. The faster we do this, the faster this problem goes away.
You mean build them drug houses? No thanks
Honestly, an addict shooting up in his living room is a lot better _for me_ than that same addict shooting up along the Springwater.
I’ll support their rehab not their habit, sorry but there are to many pressing issues to give housing to addicts to continue their destructive lifestyle. It’s just wrong on so many levels and sends a message to others that using is OK, and you can get free housing too!
Your not supporting their habit, but supporting shelter. I don’t think a person’s capacity should enter into it. Though I am confident someone here could craft a scenario wherein I contradict myself.
I’ll bite, , if you don’t have o pay for housing that leaves plenty of money for “other” activities, seriously. The article quoted that most people in those tents had drug issues, solve that and it should lessen the homeless problem. It’s like fixing the roads without addressing the studded tire issue, what’s the point?
What is the cost to the public of chronic homelessness vs. placing the chronically homeless in supportive housing?
We’ll it’s not like the addicts are spending all their money on housing. So if we give them housing, the same amount of money will go to their drug habit. The main difference is that it is now less likely that some kid will step on a needle in the playground.
“the faster this problem goes away”
…to be replaced by a different problem. Where is the incentive to study hard in school, get a job, and drag oneself to work every day in order to afford housing, food, and other things when there’s an easier way? Just let the government provide “free” housing, food, medical care, cable TV, and other stuff, except that those things aren’t “free” at all. They cost money, and that money comes from people who work and pay taxes.
Eventually, working people get tired of being forced to support the lazy freeloaders, especially as more and more people choose to “become homeless” and let the government provide them with “free” housing etc. That leaves people who work for a living feeling like chumps as they get taxed more to support the growing ranks of the lazy, some of whom choose to steal bicycles from those same taxpayers in order to support a drug habit. Providing “free” housing attracts more and more of those people.
I understand that there are people who became homeless because they fell on hard times, as opposed to those who made a choice to live outside and be criminals. I’m also aware that my position does not align with the liberal do-gooder approach, but I would like to be able to ride my bike without being attacked by transients.
By ‘cheaper’ I mean to the taxpayer. It’s cheaper to give every homeless person a home than it is to pay for policing, clean up after encampments, etc. This isn’t a liberal position, this is an economic position.
There will always be people who seek out the “easy way”. Starving a person into work is neither moral nor effective. I see the “freeloader” problem as lesser than the problem of people not having enough to eat or a place to sleep, regardless of their work ethic or desire to contribute to society.
I also think most people want to be constructive and contribute, and that the population of potential freeloaders are relatively small, and are probably not the kind of people you want working for you in the first place.
Many homeless prefer to live outside because they don’t want to obey the rules that go along with living in a shelter or housing.
The homeless that want shelter should be given it.
I agree that anyone who needs shelter should get it; that seems the bare minimum a civilized society should provide. However, if someone is offered shelter and declines it, I don’t feel any obligation to let them make camp in the park.
It’s weird – this is yet another one of those situations where you really see how the rights of the individual have come to trump the greater good over the past 30 years or so. Letting people break the law by seizing public property for their personal use is a terrible idea and can only lead to more people doing it in more egregious ways. It doesn’t matter how tragic their circumstances are or how civil they are in the way they go about it. At some point, you have to put a stop to it, even if you haven’t managed to secure millions of dollars in public funding to give everyone a tiny house or an apartment and access to mental health and addiction services. It’s a public health issue.
Or country is based on the supremacy of the individual over the group. It is not always without problems, but generally seems better than the alternative.
I’d have to disagree with that. The US was founded with the idea that individual rights should be protected, but not at the expense of the common good. Our founding fathers weren’t even willing to let everybody vote because they thought it might negatively impact what they perceived to be the common good. Other countries are way better than the US at balancing individual rights with collective rights and the commons, and other parts of the country are better at doing it than Portland is these days. Letting everyone do what they want without reference to how it impacts other people is how you wind up with bums (both rich and poor), crooks (also both rich and poor) and a commons that is like a peed-in pool.