Readers Respond to Growing Number of People Sleeping in Their Cars

Readers Respond to Growing Number of People Sleeping in Their Cars

Last week, WW examined the growing number of people living in their vehicles parked on the streets of Portland (“Houseless on Wheels,” Jan. 19). Those numbers are growing, but local officials don’t have a recent count and have failed to open a single site for such vehicles to park. Among readers, the sight of ramshackle RVs and occupied cars summons feelings of pity, frustration and rage. Here’s what they had to say:

omnichord, via Reddit: “The stats mentioned in this article highlight a persistent frustration with city/county/state response to this issue so far. It seems like they look at it and can’t find a perfect solution and so that means they then don’t do anything at all for what seems to be an unlimited amount of time.

“I think we have to embrace a sort of opposite approach, which is pulling the problem apart into the most approachable or urgent pieces—basically a triage approach but over a longer time scale.

“For example, you could get a lot going somewhere and say anyone who has children living in their vehicle with them get first priority, then anyone with medical issues after that (or whatever, just throwing something out there). “Similarly, you could draw a much harder line around insta-towing anyone car camping near a stream/wetland/water source.

“Then you could just go from there. I mean, you could spend an hour coming up with different criteria and then rank them and just go down the list until you run out of resources. Seems like we’d serve a lot more people and learn a lot more as a city/community doing that compared to just endlessly waiting for the planets to magically align in some better way.”

Captain Hamburger, via “Problem: a P2P meth and fentanyl epidemic. “Solutions proposed by local politicians, homeless advocates, and biased news outlets: more affordable housing and taxpayer-funded parking lots. “Makes perfect sense.”

SE Rico, via “Just once, I’d like to see a story on the impact these camps have on the neighborhoods they park themselves in. I write this as I watch the car campers across the street run their generators, smoke around their gas containers and generally lounge around all day. These people are not just going about their day. They plainly don’t give a damn about the effect their lousy conduct has on those who actually own homes in the areas they deign to gift their noise, pollution and drug use. C’mon, Portland. Enough.”

Ben Helmenstein, via Facebook: “I lived in a tent off of Lombard and Interstate, which is just down the road from this place, for about six months. It went downhill fast in the very brief time I was there. They cleared out Delta Park recently, which brought a lot of people to our camp. I witnessed multiple shootings, and saw and participated in a LOT of illicit drug use. Nonetheless, those people became my family for the time I was out there, and they’re not bad people at all.

“There are a few nonprofits that brought us supplies every week, and a couple social workers that went out of their way to help people. One of those people actually got me to Hooper, and by proxy got me to clean and sober living about a month ago. I’m doing well now. I’m trying to convince my friends that still live outside to follow my lead.”

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