Friday, February 19, 2010

Paper Talk In Portland


I was kicked-out of the warming center shelter here in downtown Portland, Oregon two nights ago. Yes, Campers...I was told to leave but I didn't do it nicely. That's because I was mad. I still am.

After spending time with the shelter staff in Pennsylvania (including a trip through a snowstorm to Washington D.C., a ride to Altoona and another one to Harrisburg) I am disgusted by the arrogance of the staff at the shelter here.

What a group of self-righteous puff heads they are!

I wouldn't even have this laptop if it wasn't for a lady and her husband from a Methodist church in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania!

So when I was cornered by three fools (who apparently get paid to be condescendingly stupid) at once...firing verbal volleys at me...I raised my self-respect along with my voice...and fired back.

Now I am out on the street.

I tried to hitchhike out of here last night...and failed.

So I am going to try a different tack.

Meanwhile, I was handed the following list of dumb ideas today:

1. A camp may not contain more than four people after 10:00 p.m.:
What is the significance of the magical number four? When homies want to hang-out together all night they don't put a limit on their buddies. They hang out with who they want to hang out with. The City has no right to dictate anything else. Every citizen in the City of Portland, Oregon has the RIGHT to socialize with whomever he or she chooses. Socioeconomic status will NEVER decide matter if it's in a park at three o'clock in the afternoon or on West Burnside at three a.m.!

Yeah, I can just picture it: "See ya tomorrow,'s ten o'clock at night and we have to scale this group back to four."


2. A camp must be out of sight and earshot or more than 50 yards away from any other camp:
Why? Homies have a habit of visiting each other off-and-on all night. Then they wander off somewhere else and return if they darn well feel like it. Nobody has the right to tell them to do otherwise. What's the City want to do here, put all the homies in nice, neat, controlled cages overnight?! Just because a homie chooses to lay down his blanket and gear in a location doesn't mean that he's chained to that spot all night. The only entity that would benefit from that law would be the cell phone companies.


3. Campers may not set up a campsite until 9:00 p.m.:
This document of proposals just gets more off the hook as it continues! Who is the genius who believes that all the homies will wait until 9:00 p.m. to get situated for the night? I mean, the City really thinks that all of the homies will synchronize their overnight activities to match a designated schedule? These are people who drink, smoke, toke and go for broke when the spirit moves them.

Good luck trying to enforce THIS idea!

4. A camp must be quiet after 10:00 p.m.:
Many people (homies and otherwise) make noise half the night down by West Burnside...especially on the weekend. What's the City going to do...move all the camping homies out to some far-flung location? Then what? All of the services in the West Burnside area (where a large population of homies exist) are centralized in that area. And transportation is a hassle already. If the City moves all the homies in Portland to one out-of-the-way location...will the City give every camper a
permanent Honored Homie bus pass?


5. A camp must not cause any health or sanitation problems: Then that means that Portland is going to have to provide a whole lot more garbage cans and pee-pods (my term for Loo's.) Which will be a real challenge since the City can't properly maintain the Loo it has now (down by the Greyhound bus station)! Just last night I was lucky that I had Kleenex with me! The place was a mess with only a trickle of hand sanitizer left in the dispenser.

Think about it.

6. A camp must be off the sidewalks and roadways and away from nighttime high volume traffic areas:
West Burnside IS a high volume (vehicle and pedestrian) traffic area. So where are all the homies who lay down on the sidewalks there supposed to go to sleep at night?

In the Blanchet House parking lot?

The nonsense on this paper continues with limits on tents in one area and even dictates how many people can sleep in a vehicle at one time.

And then, the paper states that "The City will conduct a pilot project to examine the feasibility and benefits of providing storage to homeless people living on the street. The City will issue a request for proposals for the creation and management of two types of storage: one for documents and other small valuables and one for larger items. The purpose of this effort will be to reduce the need for homeless people to carry large amounts of personal property through the community and reduce the potential for nuisance and conflicts with the police over nuisance abatement. The City will endeavor to establish storage capacity on both sides of the Willamette River. If the City is able to find contractors willing to run the pilot project, it will fund the project for at least two years."

My first question is, of course, how much money are we talking about here?
I carry a large backpack, a purse and a laptop with me every day in Portland...and I use a cane! So where is this storage option located? Or where will it be located?

Heather Robertson, from the Downtown Chapel, says that she's going to bring every homie's reaction to Nick Fish (a City Commissioner who ignores me on a regular basis) and somehow make great things happen.

Yeah...great things. For who?

As long as the lines are drawn the way they are now...NOTHING is going to get any better.

I know that the homies will be wrapped like pigs in blankets down West Burnside again tonight. I know that the drug dealers will peddle their poison in the open. I know that the night air might be pierced by the sound of violence. And I expect that the Loo will be still be sans stock and filthy, too.

So why does anybody want to talk to anybody about this?

If the City of Portland, Oregon or anyone else sets up the aforementioned "Hold'em Hell", they'll do it without my blessing.

But then...I get blessings in Pennsylvania. The bitch stops HERE in Portland.

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