Sign this petition telling Mayor Hales and Portland City Council to provide safer and more humane solutions for people living outside and to prioritize the safety, cleanliness and livability of our city’s public spaces.
This petition had 3,386 supporters
Every day thousands of people sleep in our parks and open spaces and panhandle on our sidewalks. Turning a blind eye to people living on the street is not a humane solution to Portland’s homeless crisis. It does nothing to help the most vulnerable, whose safety and health is compromised every night they sleep outside. It doesn’t support Portland families and visitors who want to feel safe using our public spaces, or small business owners whose customers and employees must navigate Portland sidewalks.
City Council’s lack of consistent focus on these issues has allowed camping and panhandling in neighborhoods throughout the city to become accepted as the norm. In some of Portland’s most beloved venues, such as Waterfront Park, Eastbank Esplanade and the Springwater Corridor, the number of people congregating in camps has grown beyond what has occurred in the past.
Portland is better than this. It’s time to get serious about addressing this long-standing problem that affects every person — residents, visitors, those in need of services — in the city.
We need to provide more emergency and temporary shelters, an area where the city ranks as one of the lowest compared to other major metro areas. We need more humane solutions for people who want help because no Portlander should have to sleep on the street.
We also need the city to enforce existing laws and actually use the tools they have at their disposal to ensure our parks, public spaces and sidewalks are safe for everyone. This includes swift action to address the illegal behaviors that occur on our streets and in our parks, threatening the safety and security of residents and visitors, as well as the vulnerable homeless populations that fall victim to those exhibiting lawlessness. And we need to explore additional tools and strategies to provide services to those in need and enforcement for those who decline to play by the rules.
We want Portland to be known as a place of vibrancy, a place where families want to visit, a place that is known for innovation and a deep sense of community.
For many years, the Portland Business Alliance has advocated for livability and safety of our city’s workers, residents and visitors. As an organization that represents more than 1,800 businesses that employ workers who have families in the Portland-metro area, we want our city to be the best place it can be for everyone who experiences it.
The Alliance and its partner, Clean & Safe, have worked successfully with the Portland Police Bureau and other city bureaus to provide enhanced security downtown. We have also worked with Central City Concern to employ about 500 formerly homeless individuals and help them move to more productive lives. In addition, over the years Clean & Safe has provided significant resources to bolster emergency shelter, outreach and shower and storage facilities. Most recently, the organization rebooted its “Real Change not Spare Change” campaign to encourage people to support successful social service and outreach programs instead of handing out dollars to people on the street.
We need city leaders to step up and prioritize this problem. Please sign our petition to tell Mayor Hales and members of Portland City Council that we can - and must - do better than this for the good of everyone.
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