“Make yourselves ungovernable” is a favored slogan of rioting Portland anarchists. Through their activist organizational arms they walk this walk, making it as hard as they can for the city to maintain public spaces and basic services. Their advocacy on behalf of the homeless has for them the incidental if not deliberate feature of making the city less livable–Make Portland Unlivable would do for a chant–and contributing to their Marxian dreams of bringing it all crashing down.
In addition to January producing ten homicides Portland also reported a record year-on-year increase in traffic deaths that likely stems directly from the visible withdrawal of police from traffic enforcement, a result of their defunding, demoralization and understaffing–all frank goals of antifa and BLM. Seventy percent of those traffic deaths in 2021 were homeless pedestrians. A cynic might say the BLM movement in Portland, by achieving their goal of reducing police on the streets, has cost not only some black lives but a good many homeless lives as well.
And, naturally, if black lives must be sacrificed to Black Lives Matter, homeless lives must be sacrificed to their respective cause; the homeless must die so the “houseless” may live. After the traffic numbers were released Mayor Ted Wheeler announced a ban on camping along high-traffic dangerous roadways. Last year the city relaxed the rules and now allows tent and car camping virtually anywhere. Street sweeps clearing out camps are rare now and the city is providing hundreds more beds for the homeless and launching a plan to distribute small homeless villages throughout the area.
Nonetheless, asking people to camp somewhere other than a freeway onramp is just too much, in Portland:
“[We] strongly object to the emergency declaration to sweep encampments and further displace unhoused community members from alongside our most dangerous roads,” the letter reads. “The presence of unhoused people does not make our streets unsafe; rather poor roadway design, ongoing neglect and deferred maintenance, recklessness in the form of speeding, operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol and other dangerous behavior are all well-documented reasons why there is this alarming uptick in deaths.”
Most notably, the letter’s signatories include several of the advocates who publicly decried the rise in homeless people killed crossing streets. That suggests the mayor’s office did not consult the groups closest to the problem—and that Wheeler’s ban is poised to become the latest political impasse in a city paralyzed in the face of a housing crisis…
The signatories of the letter today hint that Wheeler’s reasoning for the ban—what he’s publicly stated as a measure intended to better protect people living along major roadways—is an inappropriate way to decrease traffic deaths.
“Nowhere in any transportation study, advocacy campaign nor community forum seeking to address our roadway safety problems has it been suggested that unhoused people and encampments should be swept or outright banned as a partial solution to this crisis,” the letter reads…
Of course the answer to this crisis stemming from too few cops is fewer cops still:
The proposed safety measures include fully funding Portland Street Response, closing high-crash corridors to drivers as an emergency order and reducing the speed limit to 25 miles per hour on all city-owned roads, and increasing visibility at 350 of the city’s busiest intersections.
The letter also mentioned a legal precedent that the city of Portland has found ways to circumvent regarding when it’s legal to sweep people: the Martin v. Boise ruling in the 9th Circuit Court, which said that a government can only sweep people if there’s enough shelter for each individual. (There is not, by a long shot.)
Heck of a job, antifa!