April Fools: PDX on verge of collapse after homeless people invade downtown

One of America’s cleanest cities is on the verge of collapse, after riff-raff, homeless people, and bored kids have taken over Portland.

While still cleaner and safer than most American cities— it’s feared that the Rose City is becoming a haven for the undeserving poor.

Homeless services providers supported by the city, policy wonks and the business community have recently blamed Street Roots and Sisters of the Road along with homeless people this week of being obstructionists — after the organizations ask the city not to sweep homeless people from under bridges.

“I’m telling you, SR and other groups are to blame for not only the filth, but also for the courts determining that laws we created to target homeless people are unconstitutional,” says one source at City Hall who asked not to be named. “They just get up in here and start preaching at everybody, saying homeless people shouldn’t be ticketed for sleeping, they should be allowed to be in public and exist — on sidewalks even. Can you believe that? Homeless people will actually show up to committee meetings and hearings and say the same thing. It makes it really hard for all of us to do our work.”

One homeless provider who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the subject matter says, “We’re on track with the 10-year plan to end homelessness, and we only want what’s best for people on the streets. If SR and others want to do what’s best for Portland they would shut the hell up and sell their newspapers and feed people. It’s really hard to make backroom deals that help the ‘real’ homeless people, and to keep the streets clean when both of those organizations are running their mouths. At times, even joking about it.”

Part of the problem is being blamed on the youths.

Youths Gone Wild

At the forefront of the problem are the youths gone wild, specifically street youths who are thought to be under the influence of the devil, and the ‘80s hair metal band Skid Row. Their predecessors, the same ones who brought us things like jazz, beat poetry, rock-n-roll, ganja, acid, gayness, punk rock, skaters, hip-hop and now, complete anarchy, have now turned against the youth in an effort to rid them from downtown.

After experiencing a failed foster care system, one of the highest high-school drop-out rates in modern history, a transportation system that allows bored kids to move freely between the suburbs and downtown, and homeless kids traveling from city to city — Portland is thought to be on the verge of losing complete control.

“It has to stop,” says a business owner who believes that Satan is influencing their dogs and the way they dress. “And the nose rings and nappy hair? It’s a disgrace to our civilized society downtown. I can’t even bring my mother downtown to shop without being surrounded by kids who look like they belong on a ‘Mad Max’ set.”

A taskforce has been created in sponsorship with “Parents Against Acting Like I Did,” sponsored by a Drug-Free Under-the-Counter America and other leaders, who are standing up and saying enough is enough.

“It’s not all the kids. It’s just the bad ones,” says a spokesman for City Hall.  “We’re trying to figure out how we separate the good kids, who are just bored and have no community centers to go to downtown, with the street filth who have no home. We want the latter packing back to from whatever shit hole they came from.”

One of the major problems thought to be influencing the youths are drugs, the same ones that have been influencing youths since the beginning of time.

“We know we can’t stop the flow of drugs coming into our communities that are popular with the kids, so we’re figuring out a way to try to eliminate the kids,” says the spokesperson. “And others.”

Homeless advocates, service providers thought to be behind progress, drugs, trafficking

Some organizations are also being pinned for increased drug activity in the community, including Street Roots and Sisters Of The Road. With the United States military occupying one of the world’s largest opium producers (Afghanistan, 90 percent) and an all-out war being waged in Mexico due to drug trafficking, heroin has once again flooded the market on the West Coast. Homeless advocates and service providers are thought to be behind the entire operation.

“We can’t control the drug use in this community until organizations stop working with addicts. We simply can’t do our jobs. Businesses will starve to death,” a police spokesman said. “It’s getting out of control. We have to bleed them out.”

The spokesman says that until we stop the flow of hundreds of tons of illegal drugs into the community, groups should refuse to work with people using drugs.

One source told Street Roots that the city has drafted plans to build a fence around Sisters Of The Road, and create one of the largest alcove abatement gates in the United States in response to helping people on the streets.

Street Roots asked homeless providers, politicians and others about the idea of an injection site for heroin users downtown coupled with a housing specialist and drug councilor. One advocate replied, “Who are these naïve reporters who work with users and drug overdoses day in and day out?  Another responded to the e-mail question by saying, “Don’t,” while a politician we won’t name told us they actually wanted to get re-elected in the future, and declined to comment.

With the Resource Access Center, a one-stop shop, we-hope-you-don’t-drop-until-we-have-a-solution, is coming on line in 2013. It’s thought that providers like Sisters and Street Roots will no longer be needed at such a point, and will quietly go away, or eventually tire and have to move to Gresham where the city has successfully pushed poor people and minorities out of the urban core over the past two decades.


For the older hobo, and the we-just-don’t-like-you-around crowd, one strategy is an alcohol ban on street drinking that will launch in Old Town/Chinatown over the summer. The city plans on banning certain types of alcohol from grocery stores with hopes of moving toward prohibition sometime in 2013.

“It didn’t work in the ’20s, but it’s a new era,” says a spokesperson for the Office of Not Your Neighborhood For Long (NYNFL). “We think that if people want to drink beer, they should have to pay for quality beer, like Oregon’s own microbooze. The idea that a person who is low-income has access to the same alcohol selection, as say people in other parts of the city and state is disturbing.”

Asked if the program was the least bit classist, a spokesperson for the city said, “Not at all. Poor people can still drink Coors and Bud Light until they kick the bucket, or until 2013 when we hope to either drive alcohol out of the community, or poor people, whichever comes first. With all of the other efforts going on, we’re hoping for the best.”

Asked if after more than three decades of this kind of quality of life enforcement was showing any signs of success, a spokesperson for the group said, “We’ve housed a lot of drunks in our day, and at least a quarter of them who are dealing with mental health problems are being well taken care of in the county jail. We think we’re winning this war.”

Recession residuals

Is the recession playing a part in the rise of the visibly homeless?

After more than $54 billion dollars in federal cuts to low-income housing (real figure) since 1978, and facing one of the worst recession of our lifetime over the past three-years, the United States, including Portland has been hit hard.

After years of keeping poor people and minorities out of certain geographical areas by redlining, the banking and real estate industries in Portland, and around the country tried to make good by giving the next generation of poor people and minorities faulty loans on houses they couldn’t afford in the neighborhoods they once couldn’t live. Dozens of business savvy venture capitalists got rich; the bankers got really rich and the real estate industry got really, really rich. Then the dream ended, and poor people and minorities got f$cked, again.

The market collapsed on itself — sending an entire free market spinning out of control and kicking thousands of people who were spending money like it was 1999 into a free fall of poverty, and for some, homelessness.

According to leading analysts with the National Chamber of Commerce, it’s now thought that it was actually poor people’s fault to begin with, and that many of the businesses, specifically in downtown urban cores, including Portland, are being forced to go out of business because poor and homeless people are to blame — for everything.

“If poor people would just be a little bit smarter and work a little bit harder none of this would be happening,” says a young 20-something coming out of a grocery store with a 12-pack of Oregon microbooze, who refuses to give to panhandlers downtown because they’ll just go get sauced. “I think it’s pitiful that I can’t enjoy my urban experience downtown anymore. It’s all going to hell.”

By Edward Nigma, For hire

* Each year on April 1,  Street Roots publishes a special satire edition of the newspaper.

2 responses to “April Fools: PDX on verge of collapse after homeless people invade downtown

  1. Spot on. Simultaneously hilarious and devastatingly sad.

  2. Reading this now has ended my day perfectly. It’s nice to leave work with a smile on your face! I just hope that wall isn’t quite up yet so I can get to the bus…

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