By William MacKenzie
On June 17, Portland’s alternative weekly, Willamette Week, posted a story titled, “Tires Slashed, Mirrors Shattered Along Laurelhurst Street Where Tensions Between Neighbors and Houseless Residents Continue to Escalate.”
How did the media and much of liberal Portland get to the point where people who slash tires, shatter car mirrors, rip out landscape lights, overturn trash and recycling bins, destroy landscaping and damage parking strip trees are simply described as “houseless,” as though that’s their defining characteristic?
How did we get to the point where people doing this:
are excused because they are “homeless” or “houseless” or some other insipid term? That’s just plain criminal.
Some would say calling some people bums is offensive, callous and unfeeling, that it’s not “fair” to lump people together for any reason.
Being homeless or houseless should not be a free pass to a different set of behavioral expectations. Being homeless doesn’t give somebody license to break into a small business, deface property with graffiti, shoot at each other and unsuspecting pedestrians, bury sidewalks and parkland under trash and garbage, pollute waterways , steal and chop up bicycles and cars, openly sell and buy drugs, assault random passers-by and litter private properties with discarded syringes.
On June 20, KGW8 television reported on incidents at a tent site on the corner of Southeast 33rd Avenue and Powell Blvd. in Portland next to Grover Cleveland High School’s track and sports field.
“We live in a war zone basically and there’s nothing I can do,” said Elias Giangos, who said he’s lived in the neighborhood for the past seven years. He and his wife plan to move out at the end of the month. Giangos said he was assaulted multiple times by those living at the campsite. Scars from the time he was stabbed by someone living at the campsite disfigure his left arm.
“Even when I was getting assaulted, we called the police, there’s no response,” he said.
Things recently got so bad with the so-called homeless around Multnomah County’s Gladys McCoy Building in Portland across from Union Station that the county hired a firm to assess the risks to county employees and recommend responses.
According to the Physical Security Vulnerability Assessment of the area in and around Multnomah County’s Gladys McCoy Building prepared by Eric Tonsfeldt / Operations Manager – Foresight Security Consulting, “The density of unsanctioned homeless camping immediately around the McCoy Building represents the most immediate, consistent, and palpable threat to the safety and security of the employees and contractors in the McCoy Building.”
“The building is currently surrounded by ongoing, frequent drug abuse and distribution, violence, and aggression within dense areas of unsanctioned houseless camping.,” the report said.
The report said the following crime occurred just within the 1/8-mile area centered on the McCoy Building between 7/19/2020 and 7/18/2021: 33 assaults, 79 instances of larceny, 7 instances of vandalism and 35 drug/narcotics offenses.
Those aren’t the to-be-ignored actions of “the homeless.” They’re the actions of vagrants, malcontents, addicts, crooks, criminals….bums.