In Portland, the new city camping ordinance came into effect with a caveat that could raise a few eyebrows — no immediate enforcement. Harking back to the timeless saying, “Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”, the city’s strategy seems to be one of education rather than punishment. But what’s the true cost of this ‘laissez-faire’ approach?
In what feels like a high-stakes game of ‘Simon says’, the ordinance kicks off with a grace period, a so-called ‘Summer of Education’. And while the city’s political leaders might as well be sipping margaritas by the pool, the folks stuck in an urban camping merry-go-round aren’t finding the scenario nearly as refreshing. Enforcement seems like a distant dream, almost as if the city is turning a blind eye to its growing homelessness and rampant open-air drug use. This lackadaisical approach raises more than just a few concerns, with even famous rapper 50 Cent chiming in on the policy’s potential fallout.
As fall approaches, it’s anybody’s guess as to what this ‘Summer of Education’ will morph into. Will it become the ‘Fall of Enlightenment’ or a ‘Winter Wonderland’? Regardless, it seems Portland’s strategy can be summed up by a popular quote: “This is Portland. This is standard stuff.” And while the powers-that-be might be indulging in linguistic somersaults, it’s the average Portlander who will have to deal with the aftermath of the policy.
#PortlandOrdinance #HomelessnessCrisis #UrbanCamping
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