By Stan Baumhofer,
Candidate for Oregon Representative #33
Current public policy, at the local and state level, has made Portland unsafe. I know firsthand – I am an elderly crime victim.
A thief stole my wallet and $1,000 in cash in broad daylight right next to Providence Park, an area brimming with surveillance cameras. We have the footage of the thief, we have clear pictures of his face, and we have further surveillance of him spending my Social Security funds at a neighborhood bar. The police have not closed this case. Sadly, my case is far from unique. I know Portland has become crime-ridden, violent, and dangerous. Assault, murder, gun violence, car theft, and property crimes are at an all-time high in Portland. This while homelessness has exploded in every corner of our city.
We see report after report of businesses moving out of Portland or going out of business altogether, and public safety too many times tops the list of reasons. Downtown hotels are closing at an alarming rate because business and tourist travelers don’t want to come here. Graffiti has hit yet another dubious record in Portland. It doesn’t need to be this way. While police must respect civil rights and obey the law, they must have resources and support to do their jobs. In the state legislature, we can provide a backstop to local municipalities by prioritizing funding for law enforcement, and require local governments to provide the most fundamental service of government by restoring civil society. Instead of funding pet projects that pay off cronies, the legislature should prioritize task forces that employ state and local police to empower them to investigate and prosecute crimes. Additionally, street camps don’t solve homelessness. They compromise the health and safety of our communities. We must solve this issue humanely.
Portland must treat homelessness as a public health crisis and a mental health challenge, and we must rededicate ourselves to responsible and fully funded community policing. What we’re doing just isn’t working. Luckily, we have proven solutions available to us.
It’s time to make Portland livable again.