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Mayor Hales Praised for New Law Ending Homelessness

Homeless featured image

PORTLAND, OR — The homeless of Portland, OR have many concerns, but thanks to Mayor Charlie Hales, now they can rest easier.

That’s because of a new law he has championed, making it illegal for a person to not have a home.

Since December of 2011, there has been a 24/7 vigil outside the front doors of City Hall to protest Portland's so-called camping ban, which effectively makes it illegal for the homeless to sleep.

Since December of 2011, there has been a 24/7 vigil outside the front doors of City Hall to protest Portland’s so-called camping ban, which effectively makes it illegal for the homeless to sleep.

For months, the Portland Business Alliance has been putting pressure on the Hales administration to do something about the homeless population in the downtown business district. The city, meanwhile, has been engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with activists and members of the homeless community, who have been living on the public sidewalks outside of City Hall, as well as in Terry Schrunk Plaza, in defiance of city policies that they say criminalize homelessness. One day, Hales might have the police push the vigil across the street, into the park. Then the next day, he might have the police push the vigil out of the park, and back onto the sidewalk again. Members of the vigil often find themselves hassled and arrested for rules that would change on a daily basis.

On August 15th, 2013, Hales had started off the day with a screwball [An alcoholic beverage consisting of orange juice and vodka. –Ed.], and found himself so moved that he relented — announcing to the press that he would allow the vigil to remain outside of City Hall, with no further harassment. The very next day, one of his staffers had explained that every word Charlie Hales had said was actually a typo, and that the vigil would remain subject to police harassment. It became clear that the situation was coming to a head, and something had to budge.

“We wanted to get them off of our front door step, so we thought, ‘Well, what if they had homes?’ And we agreed this was a good idea, an idea we hadn’t considered before. So then we thought that the best way to make this happen was to go the penalization route. Nobody is going to be homeless now — not if it means risking a fine, or even jailtime,” explained Hales, during a press conference. He then unveiled exciting plans for a food cart plaza outside of City Hall, taking the place of the now-unnecessary vigil.

“We’re especially happy about it,” Hales said, “because not only have we solved the issue of homelessness, but we’ve also created a new market for the local Portland economy. Consumers can come to City Hall, buy food, and eat it. The system, as you can clearly see, does sometimes work.”

Artist's rendering of the City Hall food cart plaza.

Artist’s rendering of the City Hall food cart plaza.

In addition to the 15 minutes of permitted sitting-time that a food cart purchase over $5 entitles a consumer to, consumers can also purchase additional 15 minute-increments of permitted sitting time. If the food cart plaza is successful, City Hall is considering adding a gift shop and a Chili’s restaurant to the first floor, further expanding the value of this public space.

“This is a brilliant strategy to end homelessness, and it couldn’t have come at a better time,” commented Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman. “The city’s financial resources are stretched to the max. But thanks to Hales’ initiative, we’ll be able to save some money by closing down all of the unneeded shelters. If we take a similar approach with food banks and other social services, we can start saving the city some serious money.”

"We're talking maybe even enough money to save the Portland Police Department's mounted patrol."

“We’re talking maybe even enough money to save the Portland Police Department’s mounted patrol.”

Given the gravity of the situation, the city wasted no time implementing the progressive new policies. The Department of Parks and Recreation erected a fence around Terry Schrunk Plaza, in a gesture meant to welcome the homeless out of the park and into the greater community.

"Tall fences make good neighbors," a cheerful Parks Department employee remarked, as he welcomed the homeless to the community.

“Tall fences make good neighbors,” a cheerful Parks Department employee remarked, as he welcomed the homeless to the community.

An envoy of peace officers carried the good news to downtown housing shelter Right to Dream Too, kindly enabling all residents to immediately vacate, so that they could waste no time in beginning their new lives. As an added personal courtesy, the officers wore full riot gear as they escorted the residents off of the premises, to protect them from any armed organized gangs that might mean them harm.

“The homeless are entitled to certain protections, as a legally-defined minority, under Title VI,” said Joe Freedom, a minister and documentarian who has been living at the City Hall vigil for the past year. “It’s good to finally see City Hall stepping up to its responsibility, instead of just sweeping the issues under the rug. Without sleep, a person isn’t able to function. And we live in a society where there are six empty homes for every one homeless person — how does that make any sense? Well, the mayor says that it doesn’t make any sense, and he’s right. We each need to go and buy at least one of those homes. When you think about it, it’s kind of disgusting that we’ve been letting them just sit empty and unsold like that. It’s not fair, people could lose their jobs because we aren’t buying homes.”

Follow Joe Freedom on his Twitter handle, @Nokkupy, and on Facebook. Photo by Mark Colman.

Follow Joe Freedom on his Twitter handle, @Nokkupy, and on Facebook.
 
Photo by Mark Colman.

But it’s not all a walk in the park, and success isn’t a guarantee. Asked what would happen to people who did not, or were unable to, buy a home, Hales’ tone darkens. “I was not elected mayor to tolerate lawlessness,” he says with a deep conviction.

Still, Saltzman clarifies, the city is not without compassion, even for law-breakers. “We’ll continue to operate one large shelter, which is currently under construction by HDR Engineering. It’s 10 miles outside of the city. If we find anybody in the downtown business district, or in any of the, lighter, uh, white — um, we have a color assigned to each neighborhood on the big map in the wardroom at City Hall, so that’s what I’m talking about — well, those people, we’ll send a free van for them to take them to the shelter. There will be work for them there, so they can pay for their own room & board, until they come into compliance and buy a house.”

“There are the sensitive issues of addiction and mental illness that come with the territory,” Hales interjected, “So we are going to have to be proactive about caring. We’ll have peace officers posted at the door to the shelter at all times, and we won’t just let people leave willy-nilly — I mean, they’d be wandering off, ten miles away from anything, maybe with nothing to call their own, and for all we know, they might just come back to the city. So we’ll let them leave by means of a free shuttle, totally free, which will take them to any one of a number of select few pre-approved locations that they desire. And anyone staying at the shelter can take the free shuttle whenever they want, just by putting a request into writing with 24 hours notice.”

According to the blueprints for the shelter, bars over the windows will help prevent residents from harming themselves.

According to the blueprints for the shelter, bars over the windows will help prevent residents from harming themselves.

But local government can’t save everyone by itself, even if it sounds that way. They need the help of the consumers of Portland. So, the Department of Housing will be setting up a hotline, so that downtown consumers and businesses can report a sighting of a homeless person.

“Nobody will be left behind and nobody will slip through the cracks,” Saltzman said, with a distinguished tear in his eye.

In celebration of this victory, City Council will enjoy a much-deserved vacation. Consequently, the public meetings and public testimony that usually take place on Wednesdays will be canceled for the next two weeks.

“It’s a very rewarding experience, as mayor, to bask in the appreciation of your entire city. And I’m really going to miss that I won’t get to have that experience on Wednesday,” Hales said. “But the Portland Business Alliance just bought me a cruise to Hawaii, and I can’t say no to that.”

18 thoughts on “Mayor Hales Praised for New Law Ending Homelessness

  • Ravenvenice

    is this for real? I mean…seriously. the homeless are going to basically get locked up? o.0 this has to be a joke

    Reply
  • mikeBlueHair

    Dear Mayor Hales, You Are Cordially Invited to Play Hide And Go Fuck YourSelf! Until Such Time As You See Fit To Remove The Corporatist Member From The Terminal Portion Of Your Own Large Intistines! I Have Faith In You Mr Mayor. You Can Do It!
    -love
    MikeBlueHair.

    Reply
    • Ravenvenice

      personally i just find the fact that while this here seems like it might be a bit of an exaggeration on the actual truth….making homelessness illegal is going to improve Portland economy how again? Of course this site has gotten a few decent comments, on another they made it seem like it was all the homeless fault and that we “need to remove the scum from our streets”…let’s see you bark that story when your on the streets…Personally i think that’s what Mayor Hales needs…to spend a month in their shoes. no income, no food, and no roof. then see what he has to say.

      Reply
      • Nan Wigmore.

        Sounds like a prerequisite for getting ones name on the ballot! Be shooed out of sight and stand in lines to get cleaned up, maybe someone will want to sit close to you while you hold out your old yogurt cup for the dole you need to get you energy for searching trash for the cans that could add up to bus fare enough to get your ballot to … Wait, how will you be able to vote for yourself?

        Reply
        • colleenpatriciawilliams

          Get a refund? If so, STFU. I pay taxes, that means I write a check to the IRS, and I’m sick of you conservatives who do NOT pay taxes, whining about your betters.
          Do you hold out your coffee cup for donations? You should. I’d so tired of you tax evaders whining!!!

          Reply
          • jim waters

            Your ignorance,arrogance and contempt for your fellow man kind all speaks so loudly for yourself! It is combined with that “your feeling sorry for yourself attitude so you’ll take it out on someone else much more unfortunate than yourself” simply because you ave no class and they won’t be able to fight back as well while defending themselves against other scum bag people just like you who made you so bitter towards your fellow man kind!!
            Lets all cry and feel bad that Colleen Patricia Williams has to pay her fair share of taxes because she is fortunate enough to have a job! Ahh…poor Colleen!!

  • bamingshen

    This is obviously a spoof, but if y’all don’t see this as a direction we are taking collectively with our let the expert’s fix it kind of mentality, well, there you go. I agree with that last person’s comment. May all those who judge take a month on street and see if they can do a money fast and how that goes. Who’s addicted to what? And see about living in the houses we do have, how they are taking up way more energy than our planet has. I can live much lighter than all these homes. And being without houses doesn’t make one homeless. There are plenty of homeless people with houses, and quite a few folks without houses that have made homes.

    We are all addicts.

    Reply
  • False Flag Usa

    I wish they city could close “Right to Be a Bum Too” – eventually they will, and moving social services outside the city 10+ miles would help them and us. Let’s do this!!

    Reply
    • right2dream2 supporter

      you have no fucking idea what the fuck its like or what right 2 dream 2 is about. i want to see how you do in the winter without your home. so why dont you shut the fuck up or else go out there and see what its like. love to see how you would do pregnant and in the dead of winter.

      Reply
    • colleenpatriciawilliams

      This TAXPAYER, wants whiny people who get REFUNDS to shut up. If you have no solution, go watch the Kardashians, and let the grownups talk.
      I say YOU move outside of the city by ten miles. Have you thought of Somalia? No pesky homeless you can’t shoot THERE!
      Just think, you could pretend to be a king, go shoot it out with some warlords. You can have all the guns you want, and you can still pay no taxes, so those like me, who write checks to the IRS, can get on with life.

      Reply
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    • bob

      soon my friend very soon why because now according to an article in the portland oregonian there forming a special tac team and for 6 months there going to do sweeps.this is not odot doing this its a tac team enforced by the city of portland starting unerd the bridges from division – hawthorne – morrison – etc and to put the ice cream on the cake by july 1st the city is appointing a prosecutor to arrest homeless people because its a criminal offense punishable by law.what do you think about that huh.if that isnt naziissm i dont know what is.its going to be a revolution and we the homeless outnumber them.they can wear all the protective gear they want we have special weapons as well and most of the homeless are vetrans.see you on the frontline.

      Reply
  • kitten

    Homeless people don’t choose to be homeless, they are forced into that lifestyle either by addiction, domestic violence or loosing their jobs, how is raiding camps and destroying what “homes” and items they have and then kicking them out 10 miles from the city help?? It doesn’t making it illegal to camp and be homeless is a big joke it just makes finding a job and having a camp even harder, harder to get back on your feet and how do you expect the homeless to pay for the illegal camping tickets? your joking right?? how bout this, give the homeless a good shelter, ie one that has a good bed and blankets with no bugs, one that has nutritious mealls 3 times a day, had a way to wash your clothes and shower daily, and of course a social and housing worker and group therepy, provide that for the homeless then they can find jobs and get a place, how can you find a job if you worry about loosing your bed if you don’t get there by 5 or not being able to wash your clothes or shower?? its not possible, I have been homeless for many years i’ve seen bs shelters that are just band aids for borken arms, homeless just need help, i hope to make a good shelter one day, if your gonna make it illegal to camp give them a proper, good place to go

    Reply

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