By Taxpayers Association of Oregon
Oregon Governor Kotek recently declared a homeless State of Emergency and declared tens of millions of funding for seven key counties. Kotek is frustrated with how Multnomah County and Portland are handling the request.
KATU reports, ” the governor says some still missed the mark.”In Multnomah County, the city of Portland, the city of Gresham the continuum of care here in Portland, resources were tentatively allocated. They need to update their plan to finalize it before we will completely greenlight those dollars,” Kotek said.She said she was “disappointed” by the lack of clarity that some of the counties’ applications contained when it came to how the money — particularly funds to increase emergency shelter options — would be spent.She said Multnomah County and the city of Portland, for example, still have not reached an agreement on a site where they plan to locate 100 pallet shelters…”
And further stated “I have sat through several meetings about trying to understand existing capacity, who is paying for what, where does the money come from, what is the city committed to, what is the county committed to,” Kotek said. “They need to get their stuff together.”
The Oregonian reported Kotek saying, “While leaders of the Multnomah County-Portland-Gresham MAC group stated they would create 138 shelter beds, 100 of them pallet shelters and the rest either a motel converted to a shelter or individual motel rooms rented out for temporary stays, they did not state who would operate them or where they would be located.“We need that level of detail,” Kotek said. “One requirement for this pot of money is a habitability standard. We will not fund tents but we would fund pallet shelters, so that could go to the sites that Portland is working on with Urban Alchemy. But what we need to see is clarity.”
Why is Portland/Multnomah bumbling like this?
Multnomah County and Portland have been living recently in a golden age of free money as former Governor Kate Brown and President Biden have loosely handed out millions and billions of taxpayer funds with little strings attached. Portland saw budget surplus’ not just during the pandemic but even before. It has been a spending marathon.
The other problem is that it is harder for Multnomah and Portland to provide spending project details because it harder to implement them. This is because the County and City have catered and cultivated a huge extreme progressive activists community where they end up challenging every single decision the County/City make when it comes to addressing homelessness. For instance, the City may need money to clean up graffiti, but then liberal activist swarm in and demand that some graffiti is artistic expression and so Mayor Wheeler pledged to protect some street vandalism art. The City needs to sweep illegal and dangerous homeless camps and the political activists sweep in to stop them. The City pledges to stop giving out nearly 90,000 free brand tents/tarps (more than the number of actual homeless). The activists protest and even disrupt City Hall meetings over it. Even worse, some activists actually set-up mass free tents on the street after a homeless sweep in order to lure homeless back. So, you can see how it is impossible for Portland to plan to spend homeless funds in detail because anything they plan to do will be challenged and likely changed. The County and City can only plan to help the homeless on what they can get away with at the political moment, and not what they plan to do. The City and County have lost control over themselves.