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“Time to say ‘enough’ to misbehavior in public spaces”

Time to say 'enough' to misbehavior in Portland's public spaces

Sound all too familiar?  From a recent Oregonian Editorial: 

Kitty Piercy is the mayor of Eugene, but she sparked discussion around more than a few dinner tables in Portland this month by saying “enough” to the degradation of public spaces – and public life – caused by a segment of the city’s homeless population.

“Today I walked across town,” she wrote in an email to Eugene’s city manager and council. “I don’t think I saw one homeless person as I know them to be. I think I counted 27 travelers, many with dogs, sprawled on corners throughout the center of town.” They were, she wrote, “controlling … our public spaces” and effectively preventing others from enjoying them.

The term “travelers” refers loosely to relatively young and seemingly healthy itinerants who sometimes panhandle aggressively. Those who’ve spent time in Eugene or Portland will be familiar with them, and it’s a testament to the complex and politically loaded nature of homelessness that it requires courage for an elected official simply to say “this is not OK” to certain kinds of behavior.

We agree – this is not OK.

No point hit home more than the following:

Portland can, and should, provide services and compassion for the homeless. But residents, businesses and employees deserve to know in no uncertain terms that their city is equally committed to ensuring that public spaces remain safe for all members of the public. They should know that neighbors shouldn’t have to organize, tweet and blog in order to prevent public parks from slipping into chaos.

Read the entire editorial here:  http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/09/time_to_say_enough_to_misbehav.html

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