Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ruthie In Portland, Update

I read the stupid (well, actually I glanced at several paragraphs and threw the paper in a nearby trash can) article about homelessness in today's Willamette Week newspaper.

And I am disgusted.

Check the article out for yourself by clicking on the post headline above. If you want to bother.

Let me give you a synopsis of what happened while I sat and waited to be checked-in to the Bum Barn last night.

First of all, a woman rolled herself in on some sort of walker-wheelchair gizmo.Then She proceeded to inform everyone in general and nobody in particular that she was dead drunk.

Well, no duh.

With a flourish, she took her big bottle of hooch, turned it upside down and poured a considerable amount of it on the floor.

Unfortunately, she didn't do that BEFORE she drank the other half of the bottle's contents.

Then a guy started making out with a woman who must be twenty-years older than me (remember, I'm 54) on the couch.

It made me ill.

People walked in and out of the door, in various stages of impairment and inebriation.

Then the make-out couple left and a grizzled old fool sat down next to me.

Somewhere in his drunken stupor he decided that it was okay to grab me. So he did.

And I belted him.

Do I feel sorry for the people who throw garbage, blankets and pieces of filthy clothing on Portland's streets?

NO.

Do I have a sincere empathy with the people who grab so much that is offered that they struggle to push it around in shopping carts?

NO.

Do I feel a kinship with the people who never wipe off a table, clean a toilet or mop a floor?

NO.

Do I get a warm, fuzzy feeling when people cook and eat pizza, etc. in front of the rest of us who have none?

Hell, NO.

I want to see those people functioning to the best of their ability. And that is not happening in Portland, Oregon. I've said it over and over: the homeless population should be empowered...not enabled. That's not going to happen if the provider/consumer connection continues to operate the way it is now.

NO Way!

Mayor Sam Adams sent me a direct "twitter" message today. I sent him a tweet and declared that he doesn't care about the homeless problem in Portland. He replied by pointing out something about "millions in shelter funding" and "Yes, I care."

I think he misunderstood me.

Portland doesn't need more shelters. The City (and Multnomah County) needs to totally change what is being done with the consumers IN and OUT of those shelters.

Granted, there are those people in the homeless population who can't function above the level of a toad stool. However, there are MANY more consumers who are quite capable of making tremendous use of themselves.

Those people should be working for the City. There are tasks that they could and should be doing every day in Portland.

Nobody should be allowed to sleep outdoors. Not one blanket should be piled up on the sidewalk outside of the Union Gospel Mission. And no homeless person with worthwhile capabilities should be getting access to a City shelter space or County benefits...without performing tasks for the City/County to earn it.

The homeless population in Portland, Oregon should be able to shower, shave and share in the work that keeps the Community running.

It won't take millions to provide a mat, a blanket (INDOORS!!), a meal, a work ticket and a kick in the pants.

Think about it, Willamette Week, Mayor Adams and City of Portland.

Or take that article, roll it up real tight and shove it up your blind-holed ass.

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