Sunday, October 16, 2011

Permitted To Be Nowhere

The cities of Multnomah County are like a lot of other cities throughout the United States.  They like to look like they are helping the homeless when they are actually oppressing them.

According to The Oregonian,  the owner of some private property has decided that he would temporarily allow the homeless to camp on his unused property in downtown Portland until he sells it.  "I'm willing to let them out of doorways," says Michael Wright, pointing out the benefit to the community.

The city of Portland, however has a problem.  There is no permit for it, they say.  And no one is allowed to camp, not even on private property.  Of course, that is the city ordinance.  That camping outdoors without a permit is illegal in Portland.  Remember that when your kids decide to camp in your backyard.

Or, perhaps, the activists of Occupy Portland should be informed as well.  They have been camping in public areas, not just private.  I want to make it clear, I am not opposed to protest.  I am opposed to the city's hypocrisy.

Or let's take Gresham.  There is at least two police officers, on city time, that have been going to homeless camps and ripping up their tents, sleeping bags and tarps.  They are vandalizing private property.  This is nothing new to the homeless in Gresham.  Those that lived on the Springwater Corridor would have their personal possessions ripped up and thrown in a dumpster by a county paid official.  Or there is the camp under a bridge in Gresham that came back to find their possessions thrown into a pit and burned up.

Many of the homeless are given tickets by a variety of Gresham police.  These tickets are sentences to leave Gresham and not come back.  Yes, they aren't binding by a court, but some homeless just follow it so as not to cause more trouble for themselves.  Many homeless claim Gresham as "home" and have no where else to go.

Okay, okay.  The homeless get the idea.  They aren't wanted here.  Somehow they are considered criminals just for living outside and trying to survive.  Look, if you can arrest them for drug use or for violent activity, no one is really complaining.  But the fact is, the homeless are being targeted as criminals because of what they don't have, not what they do.  They don't have four walls and a roof and that makes them criminals.

Oh, sorry, the camp in downtown Portland on Mr. Wright's property DOES have walls.  Made out of doors.  The City of Portland says that it is not according to code and must be torn down.

Look, here's the point.  You don't want the homeless to be hanging around on the streets?  THEN GIVE THEM A PLACE TO GO!  It is not enough to deny someone a place.  A body takes up room and space.  The cities of Multnomah County have basically denied the homeless the right to exist.  Can this really be legal?

The city of Portland just built a facility that houses 130 homeless and shelters no more than a hundred more. Where are the thousands of other homeless supposed to go?

Let's be completely frank.  The majority of homeless in Multnomah County have lived in the county since before they were homeless.  They became homeless here.  This means that these homeless are our responsibility.  We cannot deny them the right to exist.  The right to sleep.  The right to live.

We must work on a plan to live with the homeless because they aren't going anywhere.

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