Homelessness in Portland

ChuckandjackBlogger Chuck Currie, a Portlander currently in recently returned from seminary, has called blogger Jack Bogdanski on the carpet - for comments Jack made regarding Erik Sten and homelessness in Portland.

Jack Bog wrote:

But ask yourself, folks, after 10 years of Opie in City Hall, are Portland's homeless better off or worse off than before he got there? To me the situation appears as bad as ever. He's had his chance, made 10 years' worth of speeches, and he's gotten next to nothing done.

Chuck Currie wrote:

Bogdanski might think that the situation “appears as bad as ever.” But that is only because he does not know what he is talking about. Before Kafoury and Sten began their work our city’s shelters were run down facilities and in some cases people lived in them for years before moving – if ever – into permanent housing.

Currie's post include a long rundown of improvements to Portland's homeless services - based on his experience as the chair of a county committee on homeless facilities.

Read Jack's post. Read Chuck's post. Decide for yourself. Discuss.

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    Right on, Chuck--right on.

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    As far as I've been able to tell, Jack never lets not knowing anything about a subject get in the way of bombastically/sarcastically expressing his almost solely negative opinions. Why should homelessness be any exception?

    I don't get the appeal he has for some of you who are obviously thoughtful people. A poster on Portland Communique once called Jack a "baby boomer blowhard". As a baby boomer and occasional blowhard myself I had to wince but "blowhard" was exactly the word I'd been looking for to explain why I don't read Jack's blog. I've tried more than once but I just don't get the appeal. (Kari, b!X, someone, explain it to me, will you?)

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    After Jack wrote in several posts that moving 5 homeless Portlanders a month into permanent housing was nothing to brag about, I responded to the Currie piece:

    Excellent post Chuck. Also, from the Loaded Orygun post you link to, Jack wrote:
    Let's see... 600 homeless people... 10 years... that's five a month. He may be working on it, but he ain't getting it done. The situation is much worse now than it was in 1996. Maybe tough love will work better than muddling along.
    It's a typically misinformed comment. The figure -- 660, not 600 as Jack states -- is for THIS YEAR ALONE. It's just another cheap shot based on misinformation concerning an important issue. That's 55 people a month, not 5 as Jack speculates.

    I am now permanently banned from Jack's site -- I cannot debunk misstatements of fact nor view them from my computer.

    I did write that Jack's comments were misinformed and stand by that statement. Interestly, after banning me from commenting or even accessing his site from my computer, Jack posted a piece mentioning both Chuck and me by name. Again, after I was banned and unable to respond. I know this, btw, because I am still able to read the first few words of posts that show up on blueoregon's blogwire on orblogs.com.

    However, Jack then permanently removed the post entitled "Great Internet Moments" from his site.

    As Jack would say, what a guy.

  • Sid Leader (unverified)

    "Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble."

    Psalms (ch. XLI, v. 1)

    That was for you, Chuck.

    Happy Good Friday.

  • Jesse O (unverified)

    Jack also ran hard headfirst into the truth in his misstatements about Measure 37. Not content, he got up and ran headfirst into the truth again. Ouch, that's gotta hurt!

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    Jack has also called Oregon's Vote by Mail system the "elephant in the room" because of his strong suspicion of fraud.

    Reminds me a little of our President. He likes to go with his gut -- facts be damned -- and that's worked out just great, hasn't it?

    Got proof? Back it up, Jack.

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    worse, his commenting minion used the WA Gov's race as an example of previous vote fraud--which is patently wrong and frankly ridiculous. Beware if you ask me to back up this allegation with facts; Carla and I won an award last year for helping to provide them. :)

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    I quit reading Jack's smallminded, often not factual, sarcastic downer of a blog long ago. Darn, I wish I could say I had been banned too! It's a badge of honor here in these parts.

  • Robert Ted Hinds (unverified)

    On the subject of homelessness and the 10 year plan, it's my understanding that there are federal dollars attached to it that depend on certain milestones being met and steps being followed. From that perspective, the pace of the homeless plan is understandable, if not frustrating.

    However, Lister's statement that he doesn't see homelessness as a problem in a city where there are homeless people begging at every major intersection is ridiculous.

    However, I think there's need for some creative solutions to the problem. For example, Whitaker Middle School sits emply and costs $181,000 per year to maintain, much of that being to scrub graffiti off its walls and clean up broken glass. Why not allow homeless families to live there until it's sold? It would certainly put an end to much of the vandalism, thus reducing the cities expense. The anti-tax crowd couldn't complain if it saved money, and residence there could be subject to drug testing as a condition.

    Sten has the lead on this issue, but I have to agree that his "passion" for the homeless problem seems more rhetorical than substantive at times and he is easily distracted by things like his PGE buy-out plan where he spent a lot of time and money, but clearly didn't realize what he was going up against.

  • Terry (unverified)

    As Thom Hartmann would say, "Good on ya," Chuck Currie, Charlie Burr, Sid Leader, Torrid, Jesse O, and Doretta. Jack deserves this come-uppance.

  • Jonathan (unverified)

    I got banned, too. It's a blogging philosophy that's reminiscent of Lars' style -- if you don't like what someone says, shout louder and/or hang up.

  • ron ledbury (unverified)

    A cheaper house is -- well -- cheaper.

    Calling landlord subsidies affordable housing is just plain Orwellian-weird. It is consistent with boosting the price levels of homes . . . which in aggregate decreases the general affordability of housing. The home-price-support mechanism of choice is that of focusing on low interest rates and serves to force a buyer into a position of assuming a huge debt load so that a seller can take a capital gain.

    Apply an Economist's measure of "equitable performance" to the whole affordable housing game. It is an abysmal failure. Even a few economists for the federal reserve have noted that most of the gains from federal involvement in mortgage securities go toward the mortgage holders and not to the mortgagors.

    When we get 40 year mortgages or even 50 year mortgages will that be to support the price level of homes or to enable the hapless borrowers to afford homes in a purely free-market driven environment?

    Take on debt, and more debt and more debt . . . . and forget that a dip in price level would make things more affordable.

    If you like to focus on personalities rather than reason . . . Mr. Bush likes to push his "ownership" society so as to lock a bunch more gullible-poor into huge debt-loads that will take a lifetime to cover. The poorest of the poor then become dependent, via a shared interest prospectively, in keeping asset prices high, artificially.

    One significant method today to spare folks from certain financial disaster from a restoration of an equilibrium price for homes is to enact an anti-deficiency judgment statute, thus transferring to the lender the risk that the price of the home far exceeds the size of the debt. It is something that should be packaged with the payday lender restrictions being sold to legislators for the coming special session.

    I am no fan of encouraging someone to enter into a loan agreement that far exceeds the value of the item upon which the loan is issued. I am no fan of giving a landlord a guaranteed profit either, under the well-intentioned-guise of aiding the poor. The HUD related funding for "affordable housing" is, by the way, available for cooperatives where the actual residents get to keep the property after the debt is covered.

    If this were 200 years ago and you were trying to test a flying contraption I might try and talk you out of it, because it was risky and you might get hurt. But you would be an adult and can make your own choice. Here, however, you want to try a flying contraption and want to drag unwilling passengers along for your test flight. I would object to you even dragging a test-monkey along for the ride.

  • Sid Leader (unverified)

    Jacko is a well-known homophobe on a troubled tram to nowheresville.

    When (openly gay) City Commissioner Sam Adams said something BoJack did not like a few months back, Jacko suggested sending him a beautiful PINK down comforter.

    Isn't that sweet?

    Nah, it's freakin' sick and a self-proclaimed Ivy Tower law professor should know better. You do know better, right BJ? Or are you hiding?

  • Mom (unverified)

    I wish we could have a good discussion about this issue, it is so complex. Yes Jack pokes fun at Eric Sten, and I have defended Eric's heart and intentions in Jack's Blog without getting kicked off, from all I can tell about Eric and his staff, and I have attended several meetings with folks he has appointed to work on the homeless issue who are also sincere and knowledgable. I learned a lot in the few months I attended those meetings, there are some very dedicated folks working to try and help these people, but I also saw the other side of it too, the disruption and the damage done to downtown business.

    If you go and listen to downtown business people you get quite a different picture of the problem than Mr. Currie is painting and how well the problem has been solved by the last 10 years. At least in the discussions I listened to part of the problem we have is the breakdown of the mental health care system, and the foster care system. A lot of homeless young people are refugees from the foster care system, and something needs to be done to get them into the "system". The Youth Programs we have in the City again have wonderful dedicated folks working in them. But with the meth epidemic dumping more kids into foster care, it is hard to keep up with the fray.

    I enjoyed the panel City club had and the remarks of the Sisters of the Road Cafe founder had, and it mimics an other experience I had working with At Risk Teens, the folks want to not be invisible or ignored. These kids and homeless folks are disconnected, and they need to connect with society again. Getting them into housing is many times not enough, I think that is why Dignity Village won't die, it connects these folks and gives them a feeling of family.

    The other problem is there are all these different often times competing programs with no unifying umbrella. We need to do more things like the event at the Memorial Collisium where all these agencies came together under one roof and offered a range of services from healthcare to job counciling, I hope that this was tracked. I think if this type of thing were done monthly, If there were one stop shopping for these services.

    The other problem is the inability to be able to institutionalize folks that are not an imminent danger to themselves or others, but obviously mentally ill. I realize that this brings up all kinds of stories of abuse, but in talking to one of the folks who worked for Central City Concern, and successfully got people who were slowly dying and infected with various diseases off the street and into care programs, sometimes finding they had distraught relatives looking for them when they went AWOL, off their meds and away from the halfway house.

    The old CCC during the depression had managed camps, where people could stay in relative safety with sanitary facilites, the old Edgefield was a Poor Farm, where families could have a roof over their head, but they worked and grew thier own food to help off set expenses, and stayed connected until they were able to get on their feet again, surely this was better then living in a car. If you look at the wonderful legacy the CCC left us from Mt Hood lodge to many of our parks, and look at the problems we have in our natural areas and forests that all this labor in CCC style could help solve, particularly with the young homeless folks, to teach job skills, and make them feel useful to society. The at risk kids we took out and had working to help clean-up the neighborhoods would talk about the neigbors that brought them pop, cookies, and snacks and praised them on their work. These kids felt good about themselves. Seattle and Clackamas have this modern CCC program, I don't understand why Portland can't have it too. But depending on who you suggest this to, they look at you like you are Ebenezer Scrooge saying "Are there no poor houses".

  • Madam Hatter (unverified)

    Off topic but, you can be blocked from even viewing a site?

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    Madam Hatter: Yes, you can block someone from visiting a site through their ISP.

  • Jim (unverified)

    Mom says that Jack "pokes fun at.." people on his blog. I think this understates the case, and is a bit too generous.

    I find that his reliance on derisive pet names, and his mocking and ridiculing of good people in this community often go well past the point of civil discourse. Of course, I can just choose to not read him, which is what I’ve come to do, but the community is contaminated just the same.

    As much as I’ve often disagreed with his point of view, that has not been what has troubled me. Diverse opinions can enrich. Instead it's been his cynical, careless, compassionless attitude that has repelled me.

    Oh, that and getting banned.

  • Steve (unverified)

    I think Erik does a wonderful job for the homeless. I don't know if 600 people is a good number or not, but that is fine. As a matter of fact, I think Erik should quit city council and do homeless stuff full time.

    I think that is Mr Bog's main bone of contention is that after 8 yrs as a city council person besides some nebulous agenda items Erik has nothing but homelessness to show. Now if he could have taken the $35M for the water computer he blew and built a homeless shelter, I'd be impressed. Or instead of chasing PGE, put that time into homelessness, great. Or instead of giving developers tax breaks on $1M condos instead of affordable housing, better yet.

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    How about managing the Fire Bureau? Best bureau in the City.

  • Oscar (unverified)

    Steve, get your drunk ass back to the bitchathon at the Jacksters. And don't you Blueies get sucked into arguing with boozers who have as little regard for the facts as they have for you. Sound and fury suckers, get some sleep, we have work to do this weekend.

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    The reason Charlie Burr was banned from my site for a week was his off-topic post criticizing the campaign strategy of Dave Lister.

    If one has to support a clown like Erik Sten to be a "progressive" around here, count me out.

    Thank you for your time. You may now resume the mutual masturbation.

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    OK, all... let's get back on topic. This post is about homelessness -- not a generalized Jack Bog smackdown.

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    literally bold leadership!

  • Israel Bayer (unverified)

    Ok, so Jack really doesn't even deserve a response...

    But by saying Erik, or people experiencing homelessness have it better based upon one person's work in the community is comparing apples and oranges. Thousands of people still sleep with the rats and the rain, and if you asked them if they are better off, well, you'd be hard pressed to get a homeless person sleeping out tonight to say, "Yes, my life's better because some politician, or homeless advocate is fighting for me."

    It's great the City of Portland have gotten more than 600 people off the streets this year, but the 10-year plan to end homelessness is bigger than Erik, or Portland... The 10-year plan is being carried out in almost every city, county and state in the US - it's huge, but it's not the answer to poverty in America. (Not to mention it's one of the few things liberals have fallen in line behind Bush and his crusades on - all while HUD has slashed funding for homelessness while shifting power to the faith based community and putting more federal regulations on non-profits, forcing them to dance for the community)

    More so, hundreds of people have worked hard to get people off the streets, none more so than the people themselves. Countless organizations, and on and on and on...

    And, during the last few years more and more laws (sit, lie, camping, trespassing, massive sweeps, park closures, curfews, etc) have either been implemented, or upheld under the current watch at City Hall.

    Let's be real - homelessness is not about services. It's about living wage jobs, health-care, mental illness, ya-dee-ya-dee-ya... Poor people in America are fucked - plain and simple. You can house hundreds of people today, but tomorrow more people are going to be on the streets. No federal plan will end homelessness, or solve affordable housing so long as unions are being busted and workers are being screwed.

    This is not about Jack, or Erik (who I support) - it's about much larger issues... While I've always appreciated Erik's dedication to helping poor people - many of whom he knows by name, A LOT more could be done....

    Real Estate Transfer tax Creating an environment for union workers who build new development Forcing developers to pay money per square foot built for affordable housing Creating out of the box work programs More peer ran programs, on and on...

    I should stop because I'm rambling, and tired...

  • ron ledbury (unverified)

    Instead of "Real Estate Transfer tax" why not "Mortgage Document Transfer Tax"

    The present "owners" are more like glorified renters that have already promised to pay way too much for property. They are in debt for far more than the rental-justified valuation of property, as an investment.

    Instead of "Creating an environment for union workers who build new development" why not set a target of pricing homes so that workers (regardless of unionization) can afford to live in a home that they might build. This is like the relationship between Ford worker's pay and their ability to buy a car.

    Instead of "Forcing developers to pay money per square foot built for affordable housing" why not view any tax on a product as a disincentive to the production of the product.

    If I want to discourage the consumption of gas I could tack on a two dollar per gallon tax and dedicate it to whatever, rather than road construction, and decrease consumption. Perhaps to cover the military cost to secure the supply line for imported oil (internalize this cost that is instead spread to all).

    That is -- Why would you want to discourage production of homes? This sounds crazy. It might sound rational only if you favor huge personal debts and favor the banker's desire to get a unique first right to obtain dollars to lend out in their carry-trades. If jobs are what you want, from federal initiatives, then you must look to the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps for an example that DOES NOT involve compounding the present indebtedness of your neighbors with ever more debt. A major driver of a depression is an unsustainable imbalance between debt and wages. The debt just keeps going higher with the fleeting speculative frenzy in housing and WITHOUT a commensurate increase in wages for either the construction workers or the general population. It is a case of the harder you try to fix something the worse the problem becomes.

    The federal reserve is going to stop reporting the M3 measure of the money supply. This measure includes, over M2, deposits in excess of the federally insured deposits at banks. The M3 has been increasing at an annual rate of roughly 8 percent, while wages have remained relatively static. Debt (assets, whatever, depending on perspective), inclusive of mortgages documents, is like a measure of a claim on NOTHING MORE THAN the future earnings of wage earners, inclusive of the so-called owners of homes. The cost, the cost to society, of trumping schemes to artificially boost the price level of homes is one glorious disaster.

    Beyond the personal micro-economic consequence or the aggregation of the huge debt is the tandem action of local governments to seize upon the apparent intrinsically high, but speculatively stimulated, price level of homes to impose higher property taxes on the glorified rich owners -- that are just a collection of individual idiots that are largely way upside down from a long term financial planning perspective. This accumulation of personal debt that has boosted the home prices and increased tax burdens on the speculative valuations is compounded further by the the bond cabal that looks to such property, and the government's unique sovereign power to tax the occupants, to issue public bonds to obtain money and then deliver it to all manner of folks for all manner of pet projects like it is candy.

    For God's sake please let home prices fall back, and quit giving aid and comfort to the very rich bankers. I do expect to again address my beef with the federal bailout of the S&L's and their treatment of the 100,000 per person guarantee of bank deposits as instead a per person per bank; today there are some 9,700 banks resulting in a theoretical 970 million dollar per person guarantee on savings. This would correspond to the M2 measure of money supply -- that which is apparently guaranteed. Adjust that guarantee back to a per person bank deposit guarantee of 100,000 and absolutely no more, and expressly prohibit doubling up on the guarantee via the use of deposit brokers to spread out money in 100,000 dollar chunks to the Charles Keating's of today.

    Don't settle for baby sized handouts, nor for the PR tripe that the trickle-downer's feed you like laughing gas. Should I merely cloak myself in the trappings of an advocate of the poor and the children so as to feast on them like the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood?

    Could Erik Sten even respond with some sort of explanation for his "economic" plan, in his own words -- here. Or is he too busy to even grace this site with his presence? If Erik, and his competence, is the issue he can surely speak for himself.

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    <i.calling landlord="" subsidies="" affordable="" housing="" is="" just="" plain="" orwellian-weird.<="" i="">

    The year I was a freshman at Chaminade Catholic High School, on Long Island, New York I was seriously considering the priesthood. That Christmas Eve I, and other fellow students, went deep into the bowels of NYC's ghetto to play Santa Claus to kids living in the tenements. Going on pre-arranged visits, I'd never been in such abysmal housing. As kids would gather around us, we ended up giving away toys and gifts to those not on our lists.

    Back at school...I asked: why these particular people, and why in these particular buildings? Why those kids on our list? They were parishioners. Why those buildings? They were owned by the Archdiocese of New York.

    Turns out of the Archdiocese of New York, circa 1966, was one of the --if not THE-- biggest slumlords in NYC.

    I gave up on the priesthood. Stopped going to Mass every lunch. Eventually stopped going to Mass period. There seemed then --and I believe it's there still-- a disconnect between the teachings of Christ, and the deeds of the Church.

    We don't have those awful NYC kind of slums in Portland. Maybe someday we will. But every time I hear "affordable housing" advocacy equated with subsidies to developers, and those developers make handsome profits along with political contributions, I get a little uncomfortable with all the "righteousness" attached to this enterprise.

    What I offered on Chuck Currie's blog --whether it'll appear, I don't know, its a managed list-- was my experience as Assessments Manager, where I tried to get recognition that cancelling City liens on properties donated to non-profits by Multnomah County...that's millions of dollars in foregone revenues to the General Fund, the LID Fund, Environmental Services, the Bond Sinking Fund...that represents a hidden subsidy we don't even acknowledge. Other people's money, subsidizing developers. Made somewhat of a higher calling by calling it affordable housing.

    There's nothing wrong with developers, nothing wrong with making a profit. But let's not make this more than it is. Those tens of thousands of tenement apartments in NY...affordable housing? Doing the Lord's work, or stuffing your back pocket with rent checks?

    I live in close SE, the homeless are all around us, especially after the efforts to squeeze them out of downtown. This is a national problem the city can't solve. We can try, and its good to try, but the homeless are still all around us. In our kids playfields, under our bridgeramps, along our waterfront, sleeping in the bushes. Its a tragedy and its right to work at solutions. But its hard to feel we're making progress.

    After ten years, after forty years, after the War on Poverty...we build buildings, but we also tear them down. Yesterday I was in the Federal Courthouse, with its marble elevators, and leather-clad courtroom doors. The Hamilton Hotel used to stand there, a much humbler place, whose tenants are now scattered to the wind. Being there in that opulent, almost ridiculous courthouse didn't feel like progress.

    Critics are ascerbic and they make us uncomfortable. Satire can be wickedly funny, and it can be cruel. The debate in the commons can be unpleasent. But it nourishes our soul.

    I don't like Jack's "Opie" and "Gramps," don't like the level of disrespect that gets dished out sometimes. But I don't like broccoli either, and sometimes things you don't like have a benefit you need to acknowledge. It's a forum, as is Blue Oregon, as is anyplace that people talk about stuff that matters. Jack does that and I appreciate the effort.

  • mom (unverified)

    UCC also has its problems in backing the wrong horse in the race


    By 1985 Chavis Muhammad had been elected executive director of the United Church of Christ's Commission for Racial Justice and soon emerged as a national figure. He organized gang summits (meetings between leaders) to criticize the skyrocketing violence, the school drop-out rate, and rampant drug involvement hurting America's young people.

    I remember when this happenned, and I was so proud that UCC had offered a platform and path for such a mistreated minority spokesperson to bring him to national prominance and the point where he was elected to head the NAACP. Only to have him resign in disgrace.

    This is the problem perception and hype vs the reality of the situation. People are so in love with the ideas and image they don't track the accounablity or actual impact these folks have on solving the problem.

    We elevate these folks so they think they are supermen, then they resort to validating themselves in the wrong way when the reality is they are not making an impact.

    That takes team work and an honest discussion of the problems and not a whitewash of claiming what works and the left or right has all the answers because everyone is trying so hard.

    I love New Avenues Ben and Jerry's shop, where the kids get a chance to learn and move up. My first job was as a clerk in HS, and I did my share of waitressing in college. You don't go from unemployed youth to Rocket Scientist overnight. Most of us had parents that made us do chores as a first step. Most of these kids that are roaming around homeless did not have that gentle nagging from parents that cared and installed in them the work ethic, ironicly the original Puritan Congregational mantra, the New England Church that was one of four that morphed into UCC.

    There is so much opportunity to help these kids if we give them a hand up and connect them to the opportunites, give them the parenting they never got growing up, and don't just ignore them and complain about them or think that the traits and skills that responsible parents instill in thier kids will magicly appear in kids that didn't have that advantage or any stability themselves.

    As Frank Said, Jack's biting commentary may be cruel but it is also real. Anyone who walks downtown and even Renee Mitchel wrote about the problem of walking to her car and being scared downtown.

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    ...even Renee Mitchel wrote about the problem of walking to her car and being scared downtown.

    What does "even Renee Mitchel" mean, exactly?

  • Israel Bayer (unverified)

    "Jack's biting commentary may be cruel but it is also real."

    By attacking Erik on the subject of homelessness, Jack's post is anything but real. He's using the issue to poke at Erik, but he's got nothing...

  • Ramon (unverified)


    Consider this an intervention. Erik Sten deserves to get re-elected. We need the continued leadership that has made Portland the city it as become during his time in office. 12 years is not enough. We need at least 16. Face it, Jack. Everyone who likes things the way they are, who sees things having changed for the better during his tenure, is for Erik Sten. There are plenty of such folks on Portland.

    If you liked Vera Katz, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like the homeless, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like Early Release, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like the meth addicts, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like declining student enrollment, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like declining student achievement, vote to re-elect Erik Sten.

    If you like No Money for parks, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like No Money for roads, vote to re-elect Erik Sten.

    If you like Free Money for politicians, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like Free Money for developers, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like Free Money for wealthy condo owners, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like Free Money for organic hippie farmers, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like Free Money for Firefighter Disability Frauds, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like Free Money for people who don't get water bills, vote to re-elect Erik Sten.

    If you like owing $ millions on PGE Park, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like owing $ millions for Public Transit, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like owing $ millions for the OHSU Tram, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like owing $ millions for the failed bid to take over PGE, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like owing $ millions for the Water Billing System that never worked, vote to re-elect Erik Sten.

    If you like photo radar, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like fining people who let their dogs off leashes, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you like cannibalizing Public Services for Public Pensions, vote to re-elect Erik Sten. If you have enjoyed Polluting the Columbia River with raw sewage, vote to re-elect Erik Sten.

    There is lots more but an exhaustive list is simply not possible. Your man Lister doesn't stand a chance, Jack, because Eric Sten is that good. With Lister and Burdick splitting the oppo vote, Erik is home free in the primary. And we've saved the taxpayers a ton of money!

  • Mom (unverified)

    I really respect Renee Mitchel, and believe she cares about the community and will tell it like it is. Her column on the situation downtown about being harrassed on her way to her car, was a blunt accessment of the problem and it didn't imply that Eric had solved it. I will admit I was a little taken aback with her TRAM piece, but I also understand what it is like to walk that fine line of being employed and able to support your family and pay for the kids college, and being unemployed and on the way to homelessness because you dared to question a sacred cow.

  • Mom (unverified)

    Gordon Smith: Just the facts Kari Chisholm

    "I've been accused of hyperventilating when it comes to Senator Gordon Smith, a leading GOP clotheshorse*."

    Isn't the pot calling the kettle black, that's why I have never registed with a party on the West Coast in 20+ years even though I have donated to Darlene Hooley, Kitzhaber, Kurt Schrader, Bus Project and other Demos and liberal causes much more heavily at least 10-1 than R's and conservative movement in this state. There are a few good R's out there and now what appears to be an interesting Independent running as well.

    This was a mild example describing Smith as a clotheshorse, mild compared to what I have seen this blog and other progressives call Bush and his cadre. Including Jack's blog, I don't think that this blog or the UCC has ever called for mercy on Bush's behalf, but rather chimed in with glee on the funnies and satire, and I will admit chuckling at that biting humor as well.

    We all need a streak of evil to survive in this world, and I will admit to having one as opposed to being holier than thou and enjoying both the Bush, Smith, and Eric bashing, that wouldn't be funny if it didn't have some truth in it.

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    Steve wrote: I think that is Mr Bog's main bone of contention is that after 8 yrs as a city council person besides some nebulous agenda items Erik has nothing....

    Jack makes his case that Sten has ‘nothing to show’ on homelessness with inaccurate figures and responds like an 8th grader when people point this out.

    Again, 660 homeless are being moved to permanent housing this year, not “5 a month” as Jack writes.

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    Sorry, I didn't mean to unleash that flood of pent up anti-Jack feeling on BlueOregon. It was an honest question. I've been puzzled for a long time. The outpouring did help.

    I conclude it's about valuing "real" over "factual". "Real" is about emotions, "thinking with your gut", as someone put it. Reality doesn't matter much to real.

    Maybe Jack did come up with the appropriate metaphor. What he does is masturbation. His other word does describe what happens at BlueOregon, the activity here is much more mutual.

    Back to the original topic, despite my distinctly not being a left wing groupy fan, I'll probably vote for Erik Sten. The brouhaha over the water bureau fiasco is way out of proportion to the actual problem (which didn't cost anything like $35M in the end) and the blame for which is much more appropriately laid at the doorstep of bureau management below Sten. I'm glad he and others have gone after PGE. That has the potential to save us an order of magnitude more than the water bureau thing cost just on the tax issue alone.

    I don't question Erik's motives or his successes on the homelessness issue but it does seem like a Sisyphean endeavor in the long run. I have to agree that it's a national problem and is ultimately more about the structure of the economy than anything else. If our economy were producing living wage jobs in sufficient quantity that would be enough to move a lot of people out of poverty directly and would give us the resources to deal more humanely with people with mental illness and addiction problems. Short of that, there's a ceiling on how much difference you can make and there are some counterproductive side effects that go along with the approaches that are available. It's not just a right wing myth that some of what we do leads to attitudes of entitlement and dependency that don't serve people well in the long run.

    If Dave Lister were promoting an approach to homelessness that seemed more promising I could get behind that. He's not. He doesn't even pretend to have a clue about homelessness. Buried in all the usual platitudes here are the things he wants to do: lower taxes on business, kill VOE, stop creating urban renewal districts, privatize city services, build more roads.

    I don't find fault with many of his problem statements, I think most of the current city council also agrees with him about most of them. I do have some trouble with a number of his solutions.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)

    Too much energy gets spent here feeding the egos of egomaniac bloggers. The more serious issue is that homelessness is not a simple answer.

    Renee Mitchell's complaints that I read were not about being "harassed" but about the presence of people that made her feel uncomfortable. These are very different things. I don't feel harassed by a person asking for a money as I walk by. I may feel guilt, but that is certainly not their fault for being there. Nor do I feel harassed by young people gathering in pioneer square, no matter how odd they may choose to look.

    The problem, from a practical point of view, is that many people like Renee do feel "harassed" by people downtown that make them uncomfortable. And for the retail businesses downtown that is a problem if customers choose to shop elsewhere. Of course the same "edge" that drives away some customers, attracts others. I'm not sure they are correct in believing that the net impact is bad. But then I am not sure we should define solutions to the homeless problem around the needs of retail businesses in downtown Portland or the discomfort of Oregonian columnists.

    As for the young people themselves. I have never understood why more effort isn't going into helping foster care kids transition in to adulthood. Essentially they turn 18 and they are on their own. Most 18 year olds aren't really prepared for adult life. Parents and family continue to provide support and advice. We need to establish some system, whether volunteer or professional, to provide support for these kids so they can figure out what options they have. For instance, virtually every one of them is eligible for financial aid if they want to go to college. But who tells them this or helps them figure out what is realistic for them to do given their skills and experience. The answer is no one.

    The current "big idea" is to focus on the chronically homeless. I am sure there will be another "big idea" in a few years.The way you address homelessness is to address individual barriers. There is no universal solution other than money - but there is not enough of that. If there were we wouldn't have a problem. So the question is what to do with limited resources. My guess is that we will keep shifting focus - but hopefully each new "big idea" will lead to some progress on a specific part of the problem before the next one comes along and displaces it.

  • Mom (unverified)

    Getting back to solving the problem, there are several obsticles.

    The homeless problem is complex, it is not just economic that we can fix throwing money at it, but as mentioned it involves mental health issues, I believe the number bandied about is about 1/3 of the folks, including a high number of Viet Nam Vets. These folks if tracked and identified do have social programs available to them. Drug and substance abuse problems that is an extremely varied and twisted issue and need intervention and supervision not just free housing. Unemployment due to lack of Job skills, some as basic as realizing how to dress and report on time every day to a job and not talk on your cell phone all day while trying to do it. Government tends to try and fit everyone into a mold with the one size fits all approach.

    I think to solve this we need to go back to the CCC type approach, where there are graduated housing and steps that depending on the needs of the people effected, they can attack the barriers and demons they face one step at a time. The fact that Dignity village exists, crys for this approach.

    Its not cruel to have a tent village patroled by at night, with counselors, where people can learn cooking and social interaction skills, and place to teach job and life skills. Where there are showers and sanitary facilities. It is a heck of a lot better than these folks sleeping in Cars, and under bridges, its no more depraved than the scout camps I went to as a kid. Dig out the Grapes of Wrath with Henry Fonda, or Meet John Doe, by Capra. This problem is not new and it was solved once before, when people were lost in the shuffle as America changed from a craft and agraian society to industrial, and different skills were required to find jobs. Now it is the digital divide. Maslow's triangle is still valid, people can't worry about improving thier skills to adapt to the new economy until they are stablilzed, and have thier foundation in place to build off of.

    Have places for people that are safe, give them work and training, get them stable on the meds necesary or detoxed in a supervised and controled enviroment, have public works projects that they can contribute to not just sit around so they feel like they are doing something useful, as thier skill level and contribution increase, make the housing better, let them work their way up the ladder, until they can jump off. We really could use some help in our state parks, and local infrastructure to catch up. Why not put to work some of those "disabled" police and fireman, give them some training, and let them supervise all the things that need to be done, from cleaning up the parks to restoration of habitat, to urban fire prevention clearing of the underbrush.

    Part of this is health care reform, again we used to have this in public health clinics, I remember getting my shots during immunization drives at school in the gym, and at the beginning of the year going through the line-up to have a Dr. give me the once over, and check my health chart to make sure everything looked OK. Every child should be getting health care.

    The extension services used to go teach at the CCC camps, personal hygene, child rearing trainig, canning vedgetables, and other ways to provide good healthy food for families. Let these folks grow produce on plots identified in the "Digable City" program. Again this has all been done before, these skills were taught for "Victory Gardens", we still had ours in the 50's when I was a kid, along with a few chickens in the back yard.

    Have another one of those service days at Memorial Collisium.

    Colaborate, like the major players in the homeless youth groups have and don't compete for grant funding with eachother, I was impressed with the folks both private and public working on the homeless youth issue, but there were some players missing from the table, and I hesitate to say this because I know it will bring some folks down on me, there are not the vagrency laws in place like there used to be to get folks into these programs or institutions and off the street if they are not willing to go there.

    I have been inspired by some exceptional disabled people, who are who they are because they do contribute to society and make the world a better place, dispite being almost totally disabled. They are integrated into the team of the people building the community and interact and contribute. The biggest gift we could give to the people begging on the street corners is that chance to contribute, and the feeling of self worth that it generates.

  • (Show?)

    Thank you all for your feedback on this important issue.

    As I said in my original post, all is not right with how Portland addresses homelessness. We don’t have the resources we need. But Commissioner Sten has been the one elected official consistently fighting for those resources. Elected officials can make a difference and while those living at the Clark Center, Jean’s Place, the Royal, Palm, Outside In, and the permanent affordable housing units built because of Sten’s work might not all know his name they benefit greatly from his leadership. Everyone in Portland does.

    But the problems we face our huge.

    Did you know that a total of 1848 homeless students attended Portland public schools during the 2004-2005 school year? Last year the PPS program designed to help homeless kids integrate into the schools – Project Return – had their budget cut by 70%. Multnomah County, instead of funding Project Return, supports a separate school for homeless youth that isn’t able to offer the resources to students our pubic schools can. Such separate schools are considered so ineffectual that it is illegal to spend federal money to operate them. This is just one example of where the needs of people experiencing homelessness are ignored.

    We have even more problems on the federal level. Just look at the new budget plan.

    Portland and Multnomah County long ago divided responsibility for how to deal with the issue of homelessness. The city is to oversee the needs of single adults and the county is to oversee the needs of families and youth. What has been the result? Because of Sten we have new services for singles, new buildings, and plans to do more. Multnomah County has dropped the ball and only when Sten has stepped in has there been any new support for homeless families and children. It may not be his area of responsibility but he sees a void and wants to help.

    Finally, this post on Blue Oregon mentions that I’m a Portlander in seminary. It is true that I took a three-year break after 17 years of working on homeless issues to get married, have beautiful twins, and attend Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis to obtain a Master of Divinity degree. But I finished seminary in December and moved back to Portland then. I’m glad to be home in time to vote.

  • cicolini (unverified)

    Not defending Jack, but Portland + Multnomah County have failed to resolve it's homeless problems, and not just in recent years, but for decades. It's a complicated problem without a clear or apolitical solution, where advocates can easily be bought or sidetracked.

    Sten picked up Kafoury's "homelessness" cause easily with Bob Durstin, who spent a couple of years as ED of the corrupt and feckless Transition Projects as his COS, and later picked up Marshall Runckel who got lost in the liberal guilt and Dignity Village. There are no political heroes here.

    Sten kept homelessness as “his issue” largely because no one else cared enough about it to know anything about it.

    Sharron Kelley cared about homelessness because her son was homeless. Lisa Naito cares about homelessness because her brother is occasionally homeless.

    Caring about homelessness does not equal solving homelessness.

    Actually - we know how to do this. We know, and have piloted in Portland, simple solutions which are very effective at resolving most homeless issues. But beyond pilot programs, such as the CCC mentor program, the HADIN network, the PSRB, InAct and the drug diversion court, alcohol and drug free housing, CHIERS, and the consolidation of mental health treatment centers in 2001 as Cascadia, there remain great gaps which cost serious money.

    Here's an important point. Fresh eyes see these gaps instantly.

    Anyone visiting Portland marvels at the beautiful buildings, the flowers, the trees. But also, routinely, tourists comment on the number of homeless and deranged people wandering the streets. They pile up on Burnside, they panhandle at Pioneer Square. Should we blame them? Why? What would be the benefit of that? Pointing fingers doesn't solve the problem.

    There are only two things which will "solve" Portland's homelessness problem. 1. a skilled and uncorruptable advocate. 2. plenty of financial support and political protection for that person.

    If you want to solve homelessness, watch for the emergence of this person and then get on the wagon.

  • (Show?)

    Bob Durston and Marshall Runkel are both honorable public services who have served their community with distinction. I served under Durston at Transition Projects (TPI) during his tenure as executive director and we also served together on the board of Burnside Community Council (Baloney Joe’s). Calling TPI corrupt is reckless slander. Marshall, who now works for a national non-profit, is the best problems solver I know. It would be difficult for me to think of two more talented people than Bob and Marshall. Erik Sten has brought-in top-notch people to serve on his staff. Feel free to disagree. But offer up some facts instead the nonsense written above.

  • ron ledbury (unverified)

    Cold detachment coupled with good intentions and an apparent self-assessment of infallibility are a problem all on it's own.

    I am partial to Veblen over Keynes, and can see the goal of near-full-employment as a rough equivalent of assuring that on behalf of the state we must assure that every state slave must be put to work, even if they retain some autonomy over where it is that they work -- on behalf of the state.

    Here is an easy link to a contemporary listing of social scientists (economists) that have, arguably, the best interests of the public at heart.

    Mr. Currie, it is not enough to merely wave off all reasoning in a gesture of self-assurance by dismissing points by dismissing the poster's themselves. This communication medium, and a small set of threads, is surely not the sum total of the ideas that might have been raised.

    Your self assurance is on par with Sid's frequent expression of confidence but merely presented in a slightly more cordial manner.

    You are surely free to dismiss ideas that are raised here or here, but not by dismissing me (or anyone) as disagreeable -- and certainly not by alternatively declaring that someone is agreeable. I find personality cults to be offensive, but that is just an opinion.

  • lw (unverified)

    I remember back in mid 1990's Jean DeMasters saying there were about 2000 homeless people in the metro area. At 660 people off the streets per year, thanks to Eric Sten, I'm glad the problem was solved before the turn of the century.

  • Randy2 (unverified)

    Posted by: lw | Apr 15, 2006 6:53:23 PM

    I remember back in mid 1990's Jean DeMasters saying there were about 2000 homeless people in the metro area. At 660 people off the streets per year, thanks to Eric Sten, I'm glad the problem was solved before the turn of the century.

    **Yeah, and I remember back in the mid-90s... gas was how much? rent was how much? minimum wage was how much? the drug problem was what? the schools had how much? medical insurance was how much?

    **and yeah, I'm glad at least someone around here has said he wants to be responsible for this problem...

    As Bob Dylan put it -- back in the 60's, OH MY -- "How many times can a man look away and pretend he just doesn't see?"


  • (Show?)

    I remember back in mid 1990's Jean DeMasters saying there were about 2000 homeless people in the metro area.

    The current street population in Portland is estimated at 6000. So it's tripled during Opie's time. Maybe God can tell us how that demonstrates his effectiveness.

  • (Show?)

    Don't even get me started on gas prices-- I was paying between 80 cents and $1 a gallon in Texas in the years before I moved here in July, 2000. While we didn't have full/mini service mandated, because of the levels of pollution we were experiencing, we had to start buying the lower pollution gas that California uses-- and that's more expensive.

    I honestly see no reason for it to more than triple in a period of less than six years. And the way it's going, it's looking to be at $3/gallon+ before long.


    Just because the total population increases, that doesn't mean actions aren't being taken to help that community.

    Did people forget about the horrible down-turn in our economy? Lots of people being laid off? I'd imagine a number of those people are now on the streets.

    Not to mention the huge cuts to physical and mental health services. Or the cuts to programs to help people who are drug addicted. That surely put more people on the street as well.

    Without work like Sten and others are doing, we'd have even more people living on the streets. I'm sure those 660 people/year are extremely appreciative of the help they received to help them stable housing.

    Homelessness isn't a problem that will go away overnight. Nor will there stop being people who become homeless for one reason or another.

    You just have to keep working to get more people off the streets so that they don't have to be on the streets long before they are part of a program to help them. And hopefully one day we'll be able to catch many of these people before they ever have to turn to the streets so that we can get them help before they're homeless.

  • (Show?)

    Is it possible for Jack to put pen to paper without subtracting from the sum total of human knowledge? Jack, what's 660 homeless divided by 12 months? Take as long as you need.

  • lw (unverified)

    I listened to the City Club debate where Sten said the magic number of 660. Has anyone determined who and where Sten got those numbers. The accounting, criteria, and who came up with that number would be interesting. Can anyone post that information?

  • Devin Estroyer (unverified)


  • (Show?)

    Chuck wrote, Finally, this post on Blue Oregon mentions that I’m a Portlander in seminary. ... But I finished seminary in December..."

    Sorry 'bout that Chuck. It's fixed up in the post. I could swear that your blog said three days ago, "Views on faith and politics from a United Church of Christ Seminarian"....

    Anyway, welcome home!

  • (Show?)

    LW: 660 homeless were moved into housing last year according to the 2005 progress report on the 10 year plan to end homelessness.

  • ron ledbury (unverified)

    Charlie and Chuck,

    My Mom set up one of the earliest group homes in Oregon to accommodate people who could "function" in a community setting rather than an institutional setting. Advances in medication to treat a segment of the population that needed help, and for whom the burden on family members to care for them was too great, individually.

    It would be useful to distinguish the class of people who are afflicted with a mental disease from the "Okies and Arkies" depicted in the "Grapes of Wrath."

    There are far more people who live paycheck-to-paycheck and who have virtually no effective savings or retirement claims or assets that are free from debt. They do not even have land that could sustain their needs and for whom a dust bowl would convert them into dust bowl migrants, with little more claim to being special than any foreign migrant.

    See the words of Justice Jackson in his concurring opinion in Edwards v. People of State of California, 314 U.S. 160 (1941):

    "I concur in the result reached by the Court, and I agree that the grounds of its decision are permissible ones under applicable authorities. But the migrations of a human being, of whom it is charged that he possesses nothing that can be sold and has no wherewithal to buy, do not fit easily into my notions as to what is commerce. To hold that the measure of his rights is the commerce clause is likely to result eventually either in distorting the commercial law or in denaturing human rights. I turn, therefore, away from principles by which commerce is regulated to that clause of the Constitution by virtue of which Duncan is a citizen of the United States and which forbids any state to abridge his privileges or immunities as such."

    The state has a unique duty to care for those who cannot care for themselves. It is noted in a case, anecdotally, such as Heller v. Doe, 509 U.S. 312 (1993). The threshold inquiry in this category of cases is whether someone is a danger to self or others. A drunk crazy guy that is running among passing cars must be picked up, at least in one state, or the family members can pursue a wrongful death action against the government.

    If, however, someone does not have a mental disability then the tables are turned over and then homelessness by reason of ANYTHING and EVERYTHING other than mental disease is subject to the men and women in blue performing sweeps, proudly, and before the cameras and the press. The sweepers, or those calling for the sweeps as for example the proponents of Urban Renewal in St. Johns, do not make any distinction; as the goal is the cleanliness of some little corner of the world.

    Yet, it must be admitted that a general population that is itself predominantly living hand-to-mouth or paycheck-to-paycheck cannot long be expected to endure the burden associated with providing for the housing needs of others; particularly able-bodied others. I wish I could better explain why it is that our judiciary must more rigorously apply the notions, like Justice Jackson's argument noted above, of equal privileges and immunities in the economic realm among able-bodied persons, quite apart from the folks with a disease affecting their mind.

    Ms. Gretchen Kafoury, and her son, may support Mr. Sten. But they, like others, can get lost in the complexity of the issues that they attempt to address.

    When you try to convert the spectrum of issues into an argument that is reduced to a single hyperbolic myopic fact thing like the exact number of homeless then your point is only that you are incapable of making a better argument. There is a routine debate, by the way, in performing the census about how to count the number of people without an address. The numbers are large enough that it is reduced to a matter of performing a statistical analysis because determining an exact and complete number is impossible, within reason, to perform. And, I would say that that precision of that number fails to address the qualitative features of the vast majority of the population that are on the cusp of homelessness.

    I do not want to have to live in a glorified labor camp, called Portland, but that is what has become of the entire debate over the need for housing among poor people. The choice, as presented by our elected leaders, is among a confined set of landlords to whom we must pay tribute. The reliance on external resources, and tribute in the form of interest payments, to cover both private and public debt, just adds a new and divisive twist, like salt in a wound, to the whole debate.

    I can only thank Kari for letting me spill out my thoughts and arguments here on his site, which is the most that I can expect.

    I have remarked before that the injection of money from the fed, but only by way of banks and lending, is like the injection of drug money into a country like Colombia . . . with a corresponding destruction of the political process. It is essential to explore the options that are at our disposal, but where the feds did not divide and conquer us, via the control of the nation's currency and via the various and diversified mechanisms for creating indebtedness from us to them.

    As an aside: Mr. Sten is at best an unwitting agent. The O PAC though is witting, but that does not excuse Mr. Sten.

  • (Show?)


    Since you’re unfamiliar with this issue please let me help you along:

    If Jean DeMaster made comments stating in the mid-1990s that there were 2000 people homeless in Portland she was most likely referring to one-night shelter counts untaken by Multnomah County each year. These counts provided fairly accurate information about people living in shelters but not those living outside our doubled up in housing. The numbers of people who were / are homeless have always been much higher than the shelter counts.

    Has homelessness increased in Portland over the last few years? Sadly, yes. But it has all across America. Poverty and hunger rates have gone up all across the nation the last four years – a result of Bush’s economic policies – and at the same time the federal government wants to cuts more programs for affordable housing.

    Blaming Commissioner Sten for a national problem is a partisan tactic unworthy of an honest discussion of one of Portland’s most important issues. He has been the only public official since Commissioner Kafoury to even give a damn and his results have been impressive.

    As a said on my own site, I’m really starting to appreciate that you teach tax law at Lewis and Clark instead of legal ethics. Truth telling doesn’t seem to be one of your talents.

    I eagerly await your next uninformed response (I’m sure you’ll make one regardless of any facts involved).


  • ron ledbury (unverified)


    You just do not get it and you do not even listen.

    Cheaper houses are cheaper, by definition.

    It is the Democrats, inclusive of our own state treasurer, who are hell bent on encouraging indebtedness to others and even indebtedness to the state to prop up asset prices, inclusive of home prices and stocks . . . even though homes are not "investments" other than as a rental property or a device to extract wage income in the form of interest payments. The property taxes are rather taxes, effectively, on the level of personal mortgage indebtedness . . . in our modern zero-down world of home finance.

    The "ownership" thing is just more effective, in our Orwellian-world, at extracting wage income from the local working cattle than charging rent.

    Let's talk "progressive" and it's meaning and I'll take the position that you are more right than you paint Mr. Bogdanski.

    I'm might be an old-timer to some here. And you are full of yourself. Get over it before you fall over and hurt yourself. Find some footing fast.

    It is I who raised the notion of the role and concern of Ms. Kafoury. I could trot out the concern too of former Governor Barbara Roberts or that of former Governor Tom McCall.

    You are belittling the urgent need to deal with housing needs of the mentally ill so as to latch onto it to somehow contort it to serve the financial self interest of landlords that just want a public meal ticket to profit for the able-bodied poor. In this effort, it is you who dilute the limited resources that are genuinely needed to meet the needs of folks that cannot help themselves. This is the ethical dilemma that you need to address.

  • Israel Bayer (unverified)

    For what it's worth, this an interview with Sten on the subject being discussed back in November.

    Erik Sten interview with Street Roots

  • Steve (unverified)

    Chuck - Again you are missing the point. Erik is running for City Council and I assume the hagiography you penned was targeted at telling us how much he has done for the homeless - which is great. I just wish he would quit city council and focus on homeless issues since his other accomplishments really don't merit his return as a commissioner.

    Unfortunately, I was expecting someone on City Council who had some minimal skill set beyond homeless issues. I'll grant you he has done more than the other commissioners on homeless issues, but he has also wasted a lot of money that could have been used for families in Portland - homeless or not. I am sure he will get re-elected, then he will revert to character and throw developers big subsidies again.

  • lw (unverified)

    Charlie Burr: I imagine that the 05 Progress Report with the 660 number was produced by a public agency. Could you identify particulars to who and how they came up with that number.

  • (Show?)

    Tell you what, lw. Why don't YOU produce evidence that the 660 figure's wrong. I linked to the source & it seems clear that you didn't bother to read it, as it was taken from portlandonline (City of Portland).

    There's this new thing called Google. You'd be amazed at what research you can get done searching all the internets with it.

  • Israel Bayer (unverified)

    The agency responsible is the BHCD -

    ending homelessness

    Several organizations provide outreach,support, and other jazz, including JOIN, Central City Concern, and others.

  • ron ledbury (unverified)

    "The bureau had planned to release a count of people living in shelters as part of the wave of information currently being released." http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/29196_census28.shtml

    Would you count the number of people living in units that have been characterized as "affordable" housing and continue to receive aid? The number of homeless would thus increase as more units of "affordable" housing come on line.

    Does the state treasurer's frenzied property tax backed bonds to finance interest rate reductions, in a circular and mutually reinforcing lunatic spiral to keep prices inflated, constitute assisted housing such as to characterize the borrowers as homeless-but-for-continued-aid?

    We all get to look forward to a world that looks like a Phelps Dodge kind of town where it only takes a tram-like bit of dementia to force the natives to plead with their leaders, or their masters, for their right to just plain live, as if they lived in a tent city on a vacant parking lot and had to cough up 3 to 5 grand a year for their tent-space or be swept.

    Even the Joker in Batman can smile.

  • Sid Leader (unverified)

    OMG! I too was banned from BoJack's blog, I guess for suggesting that people in glass towers should not throw stones at good people like Foxy.

    I was banned for THAT?

  • lw (unverified)

    Charlie and Israel, thanks for directing me to the BHCD site. I found it interest that the 05 Report said "660 ...homeless....were housed." Would it be fair to think that in that 660 count that it could be any of the homeless that were "housed" for one day as well as for a week or more? I got the impression from Sten in his City Club remarks that 660 homeless were permanently off the streets and back into the "mainstream" of our society.

    Also I read many other parts of the long report and was surprised to read that almost $28M dollars in year 05 was spent on "homelessness" for the metro area; that figure was accounting for the fed, state, and other grant dollars, and not for other expenditures that are given to "homelessness". Hopefully you won't think I am bashing the "homelessness" issue.

  • Israel (unverified)


    I think it's fair to say more than 600 people are housed. It's not as simple as just placing people from the streets "back into mainstream society."

    For example, JOIN works hard to do outreach on the front end, then get people into housing, and then do work on the back end. They have outreach workers that know the streets, and also keep in touch with people after they're housed.

    You have to understand that people are becoming homeless at alarming rates, so the idea that 600 people are housed today doesn't meant the problem is going away. I'm sure the numbers reflect agencies that have already been doing the work for years. Meaning that organizations that do house people didn't just start this year - if you look back those organization have always been housing people with the resources available. The 10-year plan has just allowed more resources, therefore more people are able to obtain housing.

    The larger componenet in this is best summed up in an article by Paul Boden from San Francisco that talks about why we are at the crossroads we are today concerning housing and homelessness.


    Believe me, I want Erik to move hard on housing, and he is... there's absolutely no proof in the pudding that Erik's doesn't have this under control - but the reality is it's bigger than any council member, or city agency - so they can do the best with what they have, and still come up short. That's why I'm urging people working on this stuff to stray away from the idea that we are going to end homelessness with this stuff. In my opinion, the city is doing everything they can, but the business community (who often times bashes the city over homelessness) needs to step up to the plate. Instead of being fixated on the idea of panhandlers and the like, they should be advocating to the realty associations, and developers to chip in and to contribute to affordable housing.

    In Seattle, the city just forced developers to pay $19.84 per square foot for everything they build. And while it did face a lot of ressitance, some big time developers were out advocating for the money to go to affordable housing.

    It can be done, but it's going to take everyone to make that happen...

  • ron ledbury (unverified)

    "there's absolutely no proof in the pudding that Erik's doesn't have this under control"

    Take the folks from dignity village and offer them assistance to form a cooperative and to obtain federal funds on like terms as that offered to the myriad politically connected advocates of "affordable housing," but where they get the keep the property when the favorable lending and property tax rates end.

    They can then claim to be no less dignified than the suits.

  • lw (unverified)

    Israel, I couldn't find any definition in the City of Portland's Bureau of Homelessness and Community Development (Sten's Bureau) for "housed". How was "housed" measured/defined-one nite or 365 nites? That was my previous question in the above post.

    Do you also have information on how much is given to homelessness in the metro area (that is in addition to the $28M noted in the Report)that includes all the monies, in-kind services, donations, etc in dollar values (churches,synagogues, temples, mosques, and other groups that contribute to the problem)? I'm aware of the problem, I'm also curious about all the resources that are going to the problem.

  • Israel (unverified)

    The January 1, edition of Street Roots offers the most detailed information to date; Check out the article - on the right is a sidebar that breaks down the #'s of people in permanent housing... Street Roots article on 10-year plan

    Note that the 500 was of January, not April...

    And permanent, as I understand it means long-term, and I assume it acts in the same way as the open marker with 6 to 12 (sometimes up to 18 months) month leases through the vouchers used to house people.

    And concerning the $28M - don't know...

  • captain dandy (unverified)

    Ya know... I used to be a Democrat. I remember when the democratic party stood for things like civil and human rights, fair taxes, education, and taking care of our most vulnerable citizens. In fact when I came to this site to tell a story of civil/human rights violations of perhaps our most vulnerable population, it was in the hope of finding that my more recent view of the party would be changed, as people would be up in arms and speak out about their outrage. Instead what I found was a luke warm (is that warmer than tepid?)response to an outrageous story. I found people more interested in discussing who will pump their gas. I found people more interested in talking about people they don't like... kinda like back in high school. I found people more interested in chatting about nudity in Eugene. THIS IS THE NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY?!? The ghost of Jack Kerouac (who channels through me for some god forsaken reason) refers to you all as Republican Lites. When he first began doing this I asked him to cool it. Now I see his point. I just finished reading this loop about homelessness and came away sickened about how little was said about homelessness. Good Democrats...

  • Magenta (unverified)

    If you want to know how homelessness and “placements” are measured, “housed” is the starting point, ie., 600 are “permanently housed”. After that it’s tracked every 3 months. At 3 months, they’re able to follow up with maybe 60%. Of the 60% they can still locate, 70% are still “housed.” After 90 days, maybe 50%. After a year, 20-30% may be still “housed.” At that rate, we’re losing the battle.

    Ross Williams writes that there’s not enough money and we have to work with limited resources. May I say (respectfully), bah-humbug (or, I’m not buying it)! Lw writes that $28 million was allocated as if this was a lot of money. I submit that this is a pittance of the amount that is really available. There’s plenty of money, it’s just that no one wants to spend it on the “unworthy poor.”

    Mom writes that if folks are tracked there are “social programs” available to them. Again, a respectful, bah. First, they aren’t tracked. Their individual needs are usually unknown to the system. The cuts in “social programs” are alarming. The truth is, both the feds, the state, and local government have neglected to do what they ARE ABLE to do to solve homelessness. When will the activists of our community bring a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of people who are homeless? It’s disgusting that our government is getting away with neglecting the basic human right of people with disabilities to adequate shelter.

    Mom also writes that we should use the old Whitaker building to house people. Mom says: “Government tends to try and fit everyone into a mold with the one size fits all approach [… and has been] inspired by some exceptional disabled people, who are who they are because they do contribute to society and make the world a better place, dispite [sic] being almost totally disabled.”

    Well, Mom, you may not know about what’s the deal with “disabled people” (they are quite inspiring, aren’t they?), but you’re absolutely right about the mold. Many were already unwillingly segregated (“placed”) at Whitaker during their school years, segregated into “special education” in the bowels of that same building, and they demonstrated some damn inspiring resilience in dealing with the mold growing like mushrooms on its ancient walls. I say why not use the old Whitaker site to “house” these unfortunates? Skip the clean up operations (there’s not enough money for that). They may even feel that they have finally been “placed” in a real home that they know and love, rather than in some cold “affordable housing” they’re unfamiliar with.

  • lw (unverified)

    Magenta, thank you for your imput about how to count "housed". It substantuated what I thought-it does not mean the homeless are back in the mainstream when they are counted as "housed". I do think $28M is a lot of money, and I hope my inquiry about the other dollar amounts given by other agencies/religious affiliations conveyed that I also feel that it isn't pittance. There are many groups that advocate and give to the homeless money and time that are not in the list in the $28M total.

    I don't mean to demean the "homeless" issue, but to discuss the real dollars that are going into the issue and how effect they are.

  • captain dandy (unverified)

    The following ALERT was emailed to DAWG at 7:08 last night, a sample of what the developmental disability "leadership" has contributed to the effort of fixing a broken system. Of course, we didn't read it until this morning, but I guess that's the point. My sincere hope is that the leadership in the effort to end homelessness is a little more on the ball.


    Subject: Special Session ALERT Date: 4/19/2006 7:08:40 PM Pacific Standard Time From: [email protected] To: [email protected] CC:

    Sent from the Internet (Details)
    Internet Address Card Attached

    Special Session TOMORROW!

    The Oregon Developmental Disabilities Coalition and the Family Action Coalition Team, as well as number of other human service and education advocacy groups are asking Legislators to take one extra step tomorrow, beyond allocating the additional funds necessary for the Department of Human Services and Education. That step is to update the May 2005 revenue forecast.

    The forecast made in May 2005 for caseloads and expenses in 2007 can be more accurately predicted than it was a year ago. If the May 2005 revenue forecast was more accurate, chances are there would not be the difference that creates the "kicker." There would be no reason for the kicker to kick over $700 million back to Oregon taxpayers and multi-state corporations in the 2007 - 2009 biennium.

    Please call your Legislator and the House and Senate leadership by contacting the Capitol Switchboard at 1-800-332-2313.

    Applaud them for coming into Special Session to address the budget shortfall for DHS and education. Remind them that there is every reason for the special session (called to deal with the results of unforeseen caseload increases and consequent budget shortfalls) to also deal with the result of an unforeseen economic boom and consequent revenue forecasting inaccuracies Oregon's practice of crafting a budget to live within projected revenue streams is prudent. But the State's unpredicted economic boom and influx of new tax paying residents has increased revenue projections substantially beyond last May's forecast. The kicker law goes into effect whenever revenues exceed projections by more than 2%, kicking all revenues above and beyond projections back to corporate and individual taxpayers.

    The "kickers" do not significantly benefit most Oregon taxpayers but disproportionately benefit multi-state corporations and wealthy Oregonians. As reported by the Oregon Center for Public Policy, multi-state corporations reap 86% of the benefit of the corporate kicker; corporations operating in Oregon will receive only 14% of the benefit. As for individuals, the wealthiest 1% of Oregonians will receive an average refund of $4,857 per person, while the poorest 20% of taxpayers will receive only $8.

    In addition to making a call to your Legislator and Legislative Leadership about correcting the May forecast, Stand for Children is leading a group of human service and education advocates in a 10:30 am rally tomorrow (Thursday April 20th) outside the main entrance to the State Capitol. They are calling on the Oregon Legislature to do more to strengthen Oregon's education and public services. Students will present a giant kicker check to out of state corporations and have some creative fun with beach balls.

    The bottom line is -- there are options that Legislators can and should use to ensure financial stability.

    The mission of the Oregon DD Coalition is to promote quality service and supports which respectfully further the rights, equality, justice, and inclusion for all Oregonians with developmental disabilities and their families.

    Sent to you by the Oregon DD Coalition. Contact: Sharon Lewis, [email protected]


    This was captain dandy's reply...

    In a message dated 4/20/2006 6:27:14 AM Pacific Standard Time, DAWGOregon writes:

    If this really went out to all on your list at 7:08 PM on 4/19/06, I would suggest that your interest in seeing a multitude of calls to legislators is minimal. Having said that... it does CYA when your funding dries up. Sincerely, captain dandy DAWG Disability Activists Work Group) END THE WAITLIST!!

  • magenta (unverified)

    lw, thanks for clarifying that $28 million is a lot of money for dealing with the homeless issue... just wondering if you also think that $29 million ripped off by the state legislature from a special fund for services for adults with developmental disabilities is a lot of money, too. Check it out at http://www.blueoregon.com/2006/03/funding_service.html

  • magenta (unverified)

    lw, thanks for clarifying that $28 million is a lot of money for dealing with the homeless issue... just wondering if you also think that $29 million ripped off by the state legislature from a special fund for services for adults with developmental disabilities is a lot of money, too. Check it out at http://www.blueoregon.com/2006/03/funding_service.html


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