Greg Dilkes, a North Portland resident of three decades, told KGW8 that the number of homeless people in his neck of the woods “makes you not feel that great about living here.”
“It makes living in the neighborhood harder, not as congenial as it could be,” he added. “It’s the first time in a long time that we’ve actually seriously thought about moving.”
According to the local NBC affiliate, there are at least 6,633 homeless people in the Portland metro area, but it’s likely that number is higher. During the city’s federally mandated count of vagabonds in 2022, the city ran into a staffing problem.
“Teams were unexpectedly forced to quarantine or were faced with lost staff the week of the Count,” the Joint Office of Homeless Services explained in a statement.
One real estate agent named Lauren Iaquinta told the press that the problem of vagrants is a “pretty testy subject,” but that she has seen the impact firsthand.
“I would say the migration to the suburbs, I’ve seen quite a bit in the last two years,” Iaquinta explained. “Most people don’t want to have to worry about if they can leave their car parked in their driveway overnight without maybe having it broken into.”
According to data compiled by realtor Stephen FitzMaurice, “The U.S. Census Bureau for Portland city proper says Portland (not its suburbs) lost 11,000 residents from July 2020 to July 2021.”
One homeless man actually defended his fellow drifters, essentially telling the homeful people to get over themselves.
“We are the most harmless people you’ll ever meet,” TT Sanchez told KGW8. “They shouldn’t be scared of us — for what, because we live outside? That’s the only reason you should be scared of us because we live outside, so if we lived in four walls and a house and stuff, would you still be scared of us?”
While the residents might not need to be scared of the homeless, according to Sanchez, there are other reasons that Portland is not an idyllic place to live.
In 2021, the city experienced record homicide rates with 90 murders. So far in 2022, the city has had 57 killings. The rise in murders began after the city, on the heels of George Floyd protests, decided to defund the police by slashing the city’s police department budget in 2020. The cuts led to staffing shortages, which only exacerbated problems.
By the fall of 2021, the city reversed course and the Portland City Council unanimously passed a measure that increased the $230 million police budget by an additional $5.2 million, the Associated Press reported.
“Many Portlanders no longer feel safe,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said at the time. “And it is our duty, as leaders of this city, to take action and deliver better results within our crisis response system.”
In the meantime, one resident told the press that the current situation with homeless people is “insanity.”
“I just want our city to go back to the basics,” an exasperated Judy Kane told the press after one man in an R.V. pulled up in front of her house and started living in front of it.
“You can’t pull up on the street and decide I’m going to live here,” she added. “It’s just not fair.”
But not all homeless people choose to live on the street.
Some are building tree houses in Southeast Portland:
A Southeast Portland couple says they’ve been terrorized for years by campers living in and around a massive treehouse built on city property.https://t.co/UxJKDFQZAN
— KATU News (@KATUNews) August 16, 2022
One resident who lives near that sapling shanty relayed the horror she hears on a nightly basis.
“They’re right outside our bedroom window at night. We can hear them,” Marysue Stickler told KATU2. “They’re fighting. There’s [sic] guys punching women, women screaming up and down the street. It’s horrible.”
Of course, none of this even mentions the extensive rioting that has occurred since the summer of 2020, but that is a whole other story.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.