Ever since taking office, Mayor Tom Potter has been walking a delicate and difficult line between the interests of the people of this city and the interests of those who pull the purse strings. Yesterday, alas, he stepped over onto the wrong side of that line. That's when he unveiled a plan that promises to further persecute the poor and homeless people of Portland, at the behest of the forces of gentrification.
Promising to make downtown "safer," Mayor Potter expressed a desire to rid downtown of anyone who might scare shoppers away with their naked and unabashed poverty. Assuring homeless people that, hey, this is nothing personal or anything, he launched an attack on something called "aggressive panhandling," as well as an assualt on "a small but highly visible group who don't [sic] respect Portland's laws or its core value of respect for others." By respect for others, he appears to mean respect for those with a hearty income, rather than those who are presumably beneath our respect. Because, if anything, this proposal only reifies the already ingrained disrespect Portland's business interests show toward those who cannot afford their wares. The mayor went on to outline a 5-step program for the elimination of homeless people from our streets. Oh, that isn't what he called it or anything, but that is what it amounts to. [ read more ]
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