Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Multnomah County and Portland, Oregon's Waste Of Money

I counted on people who just plain let me down. And that resulted in me curling up in a sleeping bag and two blankets on the bare sidewalk in front of the mission in Portland last night. The temperature dropped to 28F and the wind chill sank lower than that.

Details on my latest activity will be listed within the next few days.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Downtown Portland, Oregon Shootings

This terrible tragedy happened just blocks away from where I sleep every night. In other words, it happened in "my" end of the hood.

(Click on the post headline above to read the latest news about the shootings.)

Many of us in the homeless community are stunned by this situation.

The folks at the warming center are pleading for non-violence.

And I...I am doing the very same thing that I have done many times on the road...putting out my hand as I walk...and holding onto the hand of God.

My sad and sincere sympathy goes out now to everyone affected by the loss of those young people. And I also pray for those who survived that attack of violence.

I, myself, was attacked here in Portland two years ago. Check out my blog, scroll down and you will come to the picture that I took of myself in the hospital several days after my own awful night.

It is time to pass the roses, and bring peace back to Portland.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Portland In Pathetic Pieces

First, I would like to share with you a copy of an email that I just sent to a friend of mine:

I went to the library here in Portland today (Sunday) and tried to
log-in to your blog and the computer that I was on locked-up.

The lady librarian was hateful to me. I asked her for help and she
related to me like I was a piece of dirt.

Yesterday, one of the guards here (a total asshole, from my
perspective) saw me talking to some of the neighborhood homeless
drunks in the library. Granted, they get rowdy and cause trouble but I
still talk to them off and on and I believe that I have the God-given
right to talk to whomever I please, wherever I please, whenever I damn
well want to.

Well, after I talked to the guys I went upstairs to a quiet place in
the back that I had never found before. There was a guy sitting in a
chair on one side and another guy sitting in a chair on the other side
and an empty chair in the middle.

I sat down in the empty chair and listened to my Walkman giving the
reports about Sam Adams coming back from City Hall. I was also
suffering from a bad hangnail (which I am still battling with) that
had caused my finger to get real red, puffy and sore.

So, I was trying to use my left hand to hold onto my notepad and write
with my pen. But I kept dropping the notebook, obviously.

Anyway, finally, this dickhead of a guard comes up and tells me that I
have to move. I ask him why. He said because the chair that I was
sitting in was situated in front of this freight elevator and that the
chair was blocking it and something about ADA-compliance and bladidy

I said, "Okay, I will just move the chair over."

Nope, that wasn't good enough for him. He wanted me to get out of
there completely. And it was obvious from his demeanor that he didn't
like me anymore because of my "associations" with the riff-raff. In
other words, it was and is a disgraceful example of close-minded,
stereotypical discrimination of the worst kind.

Today, I went up and tried to open your blog and the computer froze.
It has done that once before. Hell, I have no idea why it's doing

But that guard had come by me and then gone back and said something to
the librarian, who when the site froze the computer, was extremely
hateful and never did a thing whatsoever to help me.

I ended up getting a young man who works for the library to help me
get on another computer where I showed him what I did. And again, the
computer locked-up. But he was able to see that I did nothing out of
the ordinary and that the problem lies between Blogger and this
library's sucky network.

Thanks to him, I was able to get on yet another computer, this one,
and send this on to you.

Now, you have an excellent blog and I had no trouble
whatsoever in accessing it and everything else that I normally do when
I used the computers at Pacific U. in Forest Grove. And those
librarians were very nice to me.

But just imagine someone ripping into you in front of everybody. I did
nothing wrong. But she and that guard have decided otherwise and that
is pissing me off. I almost fell to tears in there but I am too tough
to cry.

Since you work for Multnomah County, if you know anybody who works
within the library system here, could you please ask them to pass the
word along and get the hell off of my back?

Picture me...a fifty-three year old woman with a cane! I come, use the computer, maybe look up some information in a book, peruse novels, draw comics, get sleepy and nod off(but who in my position wouldn't?)am respectful, clean and considerate.

And I was treated like that.

The thing is, I know darn well that if my friend (the one that works for the County and is an acquaintance of mine) was sitting with me at that original computer, (and neither one knew who my friend is) the guard and that harpy librarian probably would've terrible to both of us!

And yet, please click on the post headline above and read what THE FREAKING MAYOR IS DOING IN THIS CITY RIGHT NOW!!!

But oh, he's all dressed-up and connected so hey, nobody's gonna jump on his ass (except for another guy) in the library.

But I'm poor and homeless so hey...it's open fucking season!

(Did I mention that I was pissed-off about this?)

And to top it all off, while the library is picking on homeless women and the Mayor is playing private pervert with his constituents,
THIS happened here in Portland last night.

And it happened only blocks from where I sleep at night.

People here have more to be concerned about than street people and the stupid Mayor!

And I, for one, am sure that my friend is going to react strongly when she receives my email.

These three examples are proof that this City is coming apart.

I guarantee, no matter what, I won't go down with it.

Bet on that!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Stop It, Sam.

My Second Open Letter To Sam Adams:

Give it up, Sam and get out.

I sit here shaking my head while I realize that you'll probably stay.

But come on, you snake-in-the-grass, you've asked people to lie for you. You are deceptive, manipulative and conniving. I don't buy your act right now and I don't trust you.

That's as it should be. Because you've done a bad thing and now you are going to hide behind your lawyer.

Really, Sam.

We don't want someone who doesn't care where he slithers.

The City of Portland needs a leader with legs who will stand tall, man-up and do the job right.

For the last time, Sam...think of everyone else for once...and go away...now.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Open Letter To Portland, Oregon Mayor Sam Adams

To Portland, Oregon Mayor Sam Adams:

Go away.

Just get out.

You are a true embarrassment to the City of Portland and the State of Oregon.

I am a middle-aged homeless woman, Sam. But I don't spend my time drinking, getting high, making false promises or lying about what I've done.

It's obvious that you can't say that, anymore.

You were handed a privilege, Sam. A special chance to protect what is good about this City and fix what isn't. The majority of the voters in Portland put their confidence in you.

And you made a mockery of that faith.

What kind of impression do you think you have made on the youth of Portland?

What message are you sending down the ranks to their impressionable ears, huh?

Are you proud of your past behavior today?

Do you look at yourself in the mirror, smile and say to yourself, "There's the face of a great guy and a competent leader."

Who do you have left to fool?

Or more to the point, who is the biggest fool in Portland, Oregon today, Sam Adams?

You appear to be a coward to me, Sir. And a self-absorbed waste of time.

I sat in on a meeting last night that involved working out problems at the downtown adult warming center.

And I feel that the four women who attended that discussion are more concerned about the welfare of the City than you are.

The bottom line?

I don't respect you anymore.

Go away, you stupid person...


Ruthie Rader

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Say It Ain't So, Sam

Click on the post headline above to read the story about the new Mayor of Portland, Oregon: Sam Adams.

Sam and Beau walking down the street
One's got loafers, the other's light on his feet
Sam says "Beau, you're the cutest boy I ever saw."
"Tonight, you wear the panties and I'll wear the bra...

And then we'll deny it."

God help us on the West Coast!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Memory Remains...


This is why drunks and druggies should be kept under control. I was sober and straight as can be when I was attacked from behind by three guys at night, on a quiet street two years ago in Portland, Oregon.

Anchors Away!

Here He Comes, America

[Photo: Marc Hall / Getty Images]

I tried to find a good outtake from now-President Obama's inaugural speech this morning. I can't find one.

Oh, the words are okay...they sound uplifting...and they roll off the political tongue right.

But those are just words.

May God bless every citizen of the United States of America...as our new captain steps on board the ship...that will now leave Bush's Backbay...and sail us all into the growing storm.

An Open Door No More?

"The future of Open Door Counseling Center is at a crossroads. Without the board's commitment to strong oversight, it appears likely that the organization's ability to continue to operate and provide needed services to its community will continue to deteriorate."--Elizabeth Grant, Attorney in Charge, Oregon Department of Justice/Civil Enforcement Division. Public Audit Report, July 14, 2008. DOJ File No. XCT0011-07.

"You wanna know why his desk is so close to the door?" Bob, the unofficial "homeless helper" at Open Door asked me.

We were sitting at the picnic table with mugs of hot coffee, watching our breath fade off into the expanding dawn.

"Tell me" I answered, wondering why Bob, who isn't an Open Door employee, has free access to the offices inside the house.

Even when there is no staff there.

Who is Bob, really, to the rest of the actual Open Door employees?

"Rick's desk is by the door because next thing you know, he's gonna be through that door and gone...permanently." Bob declared and pointed his finger at the highway.

And if Rick is fired, where will that put Bob, I wondered.

I thought...of all of the computers in that house, which ones does Bob have unsupervised access to?

How much client information does Bob have access to?

Why, if Bob is just "another client", as Robin (a staff member) declared him to be, does Bob live in a cozy space on Open Door's property?

Nobody else does.

Why did Bob mention the story about Rick supposedly messing around with a vulnerable female?

What "paperwork" is Rick so frantic about taking care of these days?

Why is Rick dealing with his computer and with very few clients?

What, in fact, IS Rick's official position at "Open Door", anyway?

And, last but certainly not least...

Was it ethical/legal to offer me the following deal:

Robin offered me housing at Elton's log house out in the woods. Yeah, she mentioned $300.00 per month rent that I would pay to old Elton.

There's one hitch, though...Elton is one of the board members at Open Door.

And the Open Door Counseling Center is a 501(c)-3 Non-Profit.

Is there a conflict of interest here?

And would Elton turn around and give a financial kickback to the staff at Open Door from the rent that I paid him every month?

Elton has a number of rooms in that house. He sure could benefit if the Open Door staff continues to steer clients in his direction.

Playing with the money...yeah...things that make you go "Hmmm."

Monday, January 19, 2009

No More Revolving Door!

These People Are Open To Who?

And people wonder why I look at many so-called "homeless-helpers" through cynical eyes.

Check out this story:

Justice Department Investigates Open Door

I had a little eye-opening experience at that place this morning.

And between you and me, after their office door closes tonight...I'd like to see the investigation open right back up again...tomorrow morning.

Information coming...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Portland, Oregon's Popular Souvenir

Portland Souvenir
Syringe Laying On The Sidewalk Outside
The Public Library In Portland, Oregon
Photo By Ruth Rader

After They've All Passed Out...

The Mead
The Mead Warming Center, Portland, Oregon
Photo by Ruth Rader

Ruthie In Oregon, Update

For those of you who are just now checking this blog out: I suggest that you read all of the posts on this home page. Those posts will give you an idea of what has been happening at all of the warming centers that I've visited around the Portland Metro Area.

You are welcome to leave me a comment or send me an email.

Last night I ended up at the warming center run by some kind-hearted folks at a nice church building in Forest Grove, Oregon.

The man is like everyone's favorite uncle and the woman knits prayer shawls.

Some rougher people came in but the old folks weren't fooled by them.

In fact, when the lights went out, the uncle man came up to me and said, "They should be asleep soon..they've been drinkin' all day."

Until he said that, I had no idea that he'd even noticed their demeanor.

I will be there until Monday morning when I will have to figure out an alternative.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Now What?

Tomorrow the warming center in the church building will close. And I will have to find another place to stay. I am so tired.

I have a possible place to check-out but I'm leaning toward not taking it. I am ambivalent because the home is situated out in the boonies...miles from public transportation and the Internet.

So I am not sure that it will work for me.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Saving Grace To Losing Disgrace

It doesn't make any sense to me that $300,000 has been allocated to operate a night shelter like the Meade in Portland, Oregon.

The money, as far as I can see now, has turned the project from a saving grace to a losing disgrace.

Without case management or an opportunity to engineer a plan, it makes no sense to simply warehouse a tribe of drunks and drug abusers.

That's not saving lives...it's enabling...and supporting destructive lifestyles.

Ask any honest member of AA or NA and they'll tell you that catering to addicts only encourages the addiction.

And all of the people that have trashed the Meade project made a choice to be that way.

The truth is: All of them are capable of making the choice to stop what they're doing.

If they end up dead on the street, they end up dead. If they continue doing what they're doing they most likely will end up that way, anyway.

The way I see it, that $300,000 could have been better spent getting those who want to live a responsible lifestyle into permanent housing.

Did you get that?


Okay, I'll say it louder.


I, myself, could be sliding my key into a lock and walking through my own front door today. And I see no worthwhile explanation for why that isn't happening. Not when I look at that $300,000.

So I am going to send the link to this latest post to a number of people today. I hope that they put some real honest thought into my words.

From a saving grace to a losing disgrace. I stand on the other side of the street, inside the hotel...and shake my head.

Shame on you, Multnomah County. Shame on you, Portland.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ruthie In Portland, Oregon Update

And the thunder rolled...

The mellow day ended on a bad note.

I knew as soon as I walked to the meeting place that the mood of the crowd last Saturday night was turning bad.

Homies stood on the corner and passed big, flat bottles of liquor around. Grumbling and laughing too loud.

A particularly nefarious pack glared at me and I overheard one of them say, "Let's put a knife under her ribs."

I put my hand in my pocket, leaned on my cane and looked right back at them.

By the time that we all made it to the warming center, a number of the homies were totally drunk.

I assumed that they wouldn't get in. But they did.

And I honestly believe that if I hadn't made the decision to leave that place I would have been in a dangerous, physical altercation that night.

I ended up at a mission where a street friend (who works there) helped me out.

Yesterday, I took the train to a church in a suburb of Portland. The people there greeted me with open arms, literally and otherwise.

I stayed in their building that night and will do so for the time being. They feed well and have a very nice shower.

The building itself is one of those "Crystal Cathedral" types that's as big as a Wal-Mart store.

My connections with the County are aware of the situation and will deal with it. I have great faith in them.

Yes, I want to see life get better for those who really want it. But I also think that it's time to put the hammer down hard on those who will try everything that they can to prevent that from happening.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ruthie In Portland, Oregon Update

It's a mellow mood here in Portland, Oregon today. I went up to a new homie place and took a morning nap, followed by a cold diet Dew from a friend of mine, then a peaceful shower (for once) and a visit to the laundromat.

Now I have a clean body and clean clothes! Yay!

I met with the woman that I have been talking to on the phone and corresponding with via email. She is a wonderful lady who works for a man who is in an interesting (and useful) position in the government end of things.

We ate fries and cried about some things...then we laughed and parted with smiles. I met her "boss"...and liked him immediately. He has good vibes.

We are in the midst of making plans. And I am happy that I returned back to Portland. Good for me.

The Meade was crowded last night. The warming center finally reached maximum occupancy and I tried to help by cleaning things up.

I stand across from that fancy hotel every night. And I look up and gaze at the lights in the occupied rooms on the top floor. Then I slide my eyes back down and look at the glittering beveled glass on the front doors. The doors that might never open for me. Last, but not least, I smile at the bellman. Then I turn my head and watch a grizzled man as he rolls a cigarette while sitting on his pack.

My breath only rises a bit in the frosty air. It never reaches the sky.

But my blog, "Ruthie In The Sky", is slowly beginning to reach the right people...everywhere.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Ruthie In Portland, Oregon Update

DEC. 2008

Ruthie In Portland, Oregon Update



Thursday, January 08, 2009

Ruthie in Portland, Oregon Update

I stayed for about a week in Ontario, Oregon and enjoyed myself tremendously.

And then, just when the time came to leave, a big storm blew in and dropped the temperature and snow...everywhere.

I walked from the library to the westbound ramp to Interstate 84 and shivered. The wind picked-up and the temperature on a local motel sign flashed "21 degrees."

I listened to country music on my radio, made breath circles with my mouth in the air and stuck out my thumb.

Three-and-a-half hours later, a big truck finally stopped and the driver took me all the way to a casino outside of Pendleton, Oregon.

By that time, I was at a much lower elevation, the temperature had risen to 40F and the driving snow had changed to a soaking rain.

After trying, unsuccessfully, to get a ride out of there...I decided to walk into Pendleton. And that's exactly what I did.

I walked down the shoulder of the dark interstate, sans flashlight (I lost it) approximately ten miles (yes, I said ten) to the Salvation Army office in downtown Pendleton. Cane and all.

When I got there, I collapsed (more or less) on a bench outside of the building. I was soaked to the skin and cold.

Did the head poo bah let me in for a cup of hot coffee/to change into dry clothes/eat breakfast/warm up for awhile?


He made me sit out on that bench with nothing. Finally, a young man who stays at that shelter brought me out a hot cup of Joe. Then I got inside after 11 a.m. and dried off, used the bathroom and ate lunch.

After lunch, I dragged my leg up to the local laundromat and re-washed and thoroughly dried my clothes.

Then I climbed up the high hill to the ramp (my legs were shaky and hurting from my long jaunt the night before) and stuck out my thumb.

A lady, who explained that she had just gotten the results of her cancer screening back (she tested positive for cancer) stopped and drove me to Stanfield, Oregon.

Then I shuffled down to the end of the ramp and sat on a guardrail. I watched a spectacular sunset and then a nice young man from the Boise, Idaho area stopped and picked me up. He drove me to Hood River where he stopped again and bought me dinner at a popular pizzeria. Then he drove me right to the warming center door in downtown Portland.

Thank God for favors great and small. Thank God for them all.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Ruthie In Portland, Oregon Update

I am back in Portland...and before I get to HOW I got back and what it was like, I want to tell you about what happened when I went to take a shower at the Salvation Army women's Bum Barn.

When I got there, at 7 a.m., I discovered that nobody was in the shower. For once. Yay!

But my happiness was short-lived and ended when a big, Black woman walked into the bathroom and let me know that she wanted to take a shower first. I told her that I wouldn't wait for her. She obviously didn't like that.

So, she sent a skinny Black woman in to hassle me while I was IN the shower. Then, when I finished and got out, She jumped in and everything was fine...for a few minutes.

Then the woman in the shower got out and told me that she wanted to use the handicap shower (the one without a shower rod or curtain) because she couldn't rinse off properly in the shower that she was in.

I said, "Gee, that's funny...I didn't have that problem."

I was in the middle of getting dressed and just doing my thing when she started having a tantrum. She wanted me to get up, half-dressed, half-lotioned up and grab all of my things and move out of the shower area.

I told her that I would leave just as fast as everybody else did.

Then she hit me with some very negative and clearly racist remarks.

In other words, reverse-discrimination.

What a surprise. NOT!

I tried to reason with her, and get dressed, and get my stuff back in my backpack...all at the same time.

Obviously, without a shower curtain, the woman was going to get major water all over the bathroom if she used that shower.

Finally, two "staff" women came in and told her to get out of the large shower. The white woman left me alone. But the Black woman swore that the only time that they had any problems in the shower is when I use it.

Which is bullshit.

In other words, she stuck up for her totally wrong "sistah" and left me with the sound of her disrespectful words ringing in my ears.

I said it before, and I will say it again: The Salvation Army S.A.F.E.S. "shelter" is a damn disgrace.

Monday, January 05, 2009


Private Message: Hello, Kingston, Rhode Island. University of Rhode Island.

"This Stupid Song"



This Stupid Song

I'm just another bum on the street
Wearing a coat of consequence that don't smell sweet
Got poverty boots on my dirty feet
Please feel sorry for me...

~Yeah, I'm another bum in Portland
I sit here all day long
I've got a paper cup in my hand
And I sing this stupid song...

Stupid song, stupid song
Singing it to you all day long
Stupid song,
Can't fix what's wrong
By singing this stupid song.~

I'm just as pitiful as I can be
I've forgotten that a job could set me free
(what job?)
So, I'd rather take your money and let it be
Please feel sorry for me...

~Yeah, I'm another bum in Portland
I sit here all day long
I've got a paper cup in my hand
And I sing this stupid song.

Stupid song, stupid song
A weak voice singing to the strong
This is not where I belong
Singing this stupid song.~

Yeah, I know I'm funky
And I look a little strange
But if you want to share your money
I'll take all your spare change

I'm manipulative and crafty
I know every trick in the book
And I can make you pitch your pennies
With one pathetic look...

~Yeah, I'm just another bum in Portland
With lots of free time today
So stop and listen
Throw money that glistens
And then just go away!

Stupid song, stupid song
Singing it to you all day long
Stupid song,
It's too damn long
Can't stop singing this stupid song!

--Poem written by Ruth Rader.
All Rights Reserved.