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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 27, 2011 8:44 AM. The previous post in this blog was Gatsby twists himself into a pretzel. The next post in this blog is Meanwhile, in the Pacific Northwest.... Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Portland should be better than this"

Yes, it should.

Comments (25)

It should. But why are the homeless and mentally unstable there? Because where else do they have to go? Whining won't stop the root cause nor will cops and jails. While social services bucks dry up, the developer and rail weasels are sopping at the trough. And as for the kids on living on the street... oh man.... I'm aware of friends of acquaintances that threw their kids out because that was easier than parenting....

I'm not totally sure what their point is.

They don't like aggressive panhandlers? Who does?

It seems like the author is then simultaneously condemning police brutality and asking for more of it-- while trying really hard not to do so explicitly. Is brutalizing someone else in your name really worth it, just so your day doesn't have some unpleasantness? Can the author really say that the offense to them personally has ever been any greater than "unpleasantness?"

The author also simultaneously acknowledges that trickle-down economics probably has something to do with the increase of aggressive panhandling, but claims to be too angry and impatient to want to bother with countering all of those policies.

Aggressive pahnandling, bad. Got that. Is the solution then doing the hard work of changing our economic policies or just ordering up more force against the human side effects of our policies? If it's the latter, and the author's views are now commonly shared by "liberals" and "progressives," we're all in a lot of trouble.

or just ordering up more force against the human side effects of our policies?

I didn't read the author of the linked piece suggesting that. I don't have a simple solution to the obvious problem street people downtown, and all over the city. Railing against Reagan-era policies isn't a solution.

"Downtown should be better than this. Portland should be better than this."

Should be, but ain't.

Portland deserves this, because they WANT this, they attract this, via their public policies. Portland elects people who crave this as a badge of progressiveness.

Portland seems to be saying: "Look at us, we love the homeless, the jobless, the car-less. We are so hip, our little socialist Mecca, because we are tolerant of everything!! Especially things smelly and crappy. Well, tolerant of everybody except people who want to buy fur coats downtown. Those people can go to hell, or Bridgeport."

"And as for the kids on living on the street... oh man.... I'm aware of friends of acquaintances that threw their kids out because that was easier than parenting...."

Wow, my next door neighbors have cousins who are friends of your acquaintances. Small world.

Although downtown would be much improved if we could rid it of the street urchins and panhandlers, I can live with them. After all, they provide a constant reminder of how awesome my life is and feed my smug sense of superiority.

It's the street-corner canvassers--be it for Green Peace or a Bill Sizemore--that I wish we could banish. I'm sorry that Ralph Nader conned them into thinking that they would be spending the summer working for "social justice" or the "environment." But I'm sick of the way they abuse social conventions to try to get their foot in the door: No I won't shake your hand, even if it's rude.

'I'm aware of friends of acquaintances that threw their kids out because that was easier than parenting'

Yes, and those who foster and subsidize that way of thinking and feed the castoff children are to blame.

When being homeless, addicted and dependent are seen as dangerous, deadly and best to avoid (as in the natural world) the problems will ebb.

Here's the comment I left over there:

Here’s my impression of the situation: You are a lilly-livered, histrionic little “female dog” who thinks people with expensive purses shouldn’t be bothered with poor ugly people in their “line of sight”.

Not wanting to step over piss and vomit every day on the way to work is “histrionic”? Not wanting an agressive panhandler to jump in your path/doorway/line for food daily and demand money is “histrionic”? Aspiring to have a public space where body fluids, drugs, aggressive dogs, and campers are not pervasive is “histrionic”? I think YOU are being histrionic, my man.

And while we’re on the subject of name calling and generalizations, how do YOU know enough to characterize the so-called homeless downtown? You took an extensive poll, perhaps? No? You “just know”? Hmm.

What’s stunning to me is the commenters who didn’t even pause long enough in their rage to read the man’s words. It’s a considered opinion, and acknowledges the problems and imperfection of the world. Are there *any* people left in the world who can have a critical mind without turning it into a hateful one?

If you go downtown at all today,
You'd better go in disguise,
For today's the day the ...s
Have their p-i-i-cnic.

Proof again that advertising works.

Railing against Reagan-era policies isn't a solution.

Maybe not. But it's a step in the direction of understanding the problem.

Reagan-era polices? We just call them "tax cuts" 25 years later. Redistribution of wealth and class warfare is ugly for the losers.

Thanks for the link, Tom!

"Indeed, Portland — whose nicknames include Beervana and Soccer City, USA — is easy to poke fun at."

But really, has anybody ever heard those two before?

The kids downtown are a human tragedy. You can see that if they continue on their current path on the street, using drugs, they are going to end up dead or in prison. I don't know what the answer is or why the street problem seems worse in Portland than most cities, but it's sad to see so many lives that are wasted for whatever reason. I don't think our city leaders have a clue what to do about it.

For those who want to excuse the problem away, or think we have to fix our nation's centuries' long macroeconomic condition before we can address our local sidewalks, I would just point out that many many cities don't have this same problem to the degree we have it.

So it can be alleviated. That horrible bastion of conservatism known as San Fransisco is the latest to try to solve it. Many cities put out collection boxes encouraging people to make a donation rather than give to panhandlers. Many cities also have police officers who will actually get out of their cars sometimes.

So again, for those who seem to argue that someone it HAS to be this bad, I simply say "go to another city and look around." It clearly does not.

The plight of the homeless is unique to the individual, they are real people just like us, we will be judged on how we treat the least among us and these people are the least among us. I too have little sympathy or spare change for you able bodied panhandlers but they are the minority, most are old, lots of vets, or young.

The prevailing "culture" of the Metro area is sad. Would I exchange it for the type of culture that could "deal" with these parasites? Not so easy. The only way modern Americans have of approaching social problems ain't pretty- the end of a gun.

America has come to excel at producing entitlement and disenfranchisement. Not a good combination. More force is only going to produce more of the latter. If you can look in the mirror and see a benign progressive while pummeling the shit out of the underclass, like San Fran, go for it.

Bottom line: Other cities have populations of homeless/mentally ill/whatever. But it seems that only a select group of cities, such as Portland, San Francisco, and Santa Monica have a crisis.

So, what is it about Portland that makes us one of the places to earn the moniker "Home of the Homeless?"

[Hint: Homeless Bellagio]

To make it simple, Portland lacks mores. Then there are societal means that Portland could adopt to accommodate those mores.

Tolerance works both ways. Having standards, then requiring respect for them, and enforcing them is what is lacking.

If you tax something, you get less of it. If you subsidize something, you get more of it.

A sort of ironic side effect of the saw - privatize the profits, make the public eat the loss.
The price of branding beloved Portland as portlandia in pursuit of an agenda (outside of the public interest)

Snards, I don't think you were in the same parts of downtown San Francisco I was in this past June. I was appalled at how the city by the bay has changed so radically from my first visits down there in the 70s. Even in the 90s, there were not druggies, and mentally ill and pan handlers in abundance outside of the Tenderloin. Much has changed.

Part-time work I've taken on has had me traveling the streets of Portland for 10 hours a day.

I've been watching the town itself for 45-50 years. It was always a proud and plucky place with a hard core of people who appreciated working for a living.It's a sad little place now. Scroungy and artificial.

Our society is broken. It's only going to get worse. Get used to it, Portland.

It's a sad little place now. Scroungy and artificial.

I think you mean "green" and "international".

I'm just kidding, of course. Portland's dying a death by a thousand cuts,the kind of cuts that you don't readily see (and so get ignored or explained away).

I'll say it again: in future days, the past few years will be seen as a key part of the turning point of Portland, and Adams as one of the more bumbling, dishonest, and ineffectual leaders the city had.

I say this without snark, but rather with genuine sadness. There's a lot that's happened this past few years that may never be undone in the foreseeable future.


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Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
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Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
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Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
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Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
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L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
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Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
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Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
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Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
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William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
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Jeff Noon - Vurt

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At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
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