This is real and it’s happening in our community right now. We feel it’s important to use the platform we’ve built to cover ALL of Portland–to be an ally for everyone.
Recently, we posted a photo of a two-block stretch of Exchange Street (currently closed to all but bike and foot traffic) with Portland City Hall in the background. The Portland City Hall Encampment was visible and provided a real juxtaposition of the difference between what different members of our community are currently experiencing. Neither we, nor the person who published the photo, caught this important detail.
We’re glad we did not, actually, because the chord that photo struck with many, and the disparity between different people in our city it displayed, has become a rallying point for us, as it already was for many dedicated activists and those experiencing homelessness and other societal issues that need to be addressed NOW.
We’d also like to note that the photographer who took the original photo came back downtown, visited the Portland City Hall Encampment, and took the photos for this post. We debated long and hard about showing these photos, but believe they are taken without exposing any person and to make a point, to show ALL aspects of Portland. We’re sorry to play a part in getting her involved in all this. Like us, she’s not just walking away, instead choosing to confront a harsh reality which too many of us don’t understand.
Community is everything. We wouldn’t be here without all of you. Portland wouldn’t be the city it is without all of us, and we hope you’ll allow us to join with you in this open community dialogue.
we would also like to clarify that we are not any official city or government organization but an independently owned online media outlet.
Many Moving Pieces: Stay Tuned
As reported in the Portland Press Herald just today, the Portland City Hall Encampment has announced it will end this phase of the protest, but that just means we’re at a new starting point for all of us to do our part in addressing the long-standing issues leading to homelessness, disenfranchisement, and a permanent under-class right here in our city. We don’t want that and know you don’t either.
“The demonstration has lasted for more than two weeks, drawing dozens of homeless people who were struggling to find basic necessities after the coronavirus outbreak forced the closure of Preble Street’s day shelter, where anyone could use a clean bathroom, take a shower and do laundry. The day shelter was also a focal point for people to connect with counselors, work with the staff to find more permanent shelter, pick up mail or charge a phone.” Also, “Mayor Kate Snyder…said the city staff plan to continue outreach to people who remain on the plaza to try to find them shelter. Snyder said she hopes to continue working with Falero to address homelessness.”Via The Portland Press-Herald
We can’t vouch for anyone else, but we won’t be abandoning this cause, or the people affected by homelessness, the war on drugs, and the other pressing issues leaving some to be left behind while others surge ahead.
Problems Necessitate Solutions, Not Delay
Portland has worked to be a progressive city, and has probably succeeded in some efforts, not in others. We are taking responsibility for becoming part of the change in this city. In case you hadn’t heard, the Portland City Hall Encampment is, “a broad coalition of residents working to end homelessness and guarantee access to safe, affordable housing for all Mainers. We are nonpartisan and believe that housing is a human right.”
Community is everything. We wouldn’t be here without all of you. Portland wouldn’t be the city it is without all of us, and we hope you’ll allow us to join with you in this open community dialogue. We realize this and many other issues have been growing and becoming more pervasive over time, and it’s time for that to change. No one of us can flick a simple switch and make that happen, but together we can make sure every one in our community feels represented.
We do plan to continue posting about the things that make Portland the city it is as far as dining, music, comedy, and local shops. Now, though, and this is our pledge: we will work to foster and facilitate community discussions. We know we only speak for ourselves on any given day. That’s why we want to make clear our intent: to give more varied, diverse, and heretofore silenced voices the opportunity to be heard.
Avenues Toward Change: How We Can All Help
We consider this a vital mission, and one we won’t deviate from until Portland has become the city it can be, should be, and (hopefully) will be.
Our goal is to use more of our resources and our ability to spread the word about the reality many are currently facing here in Portland and around the country. So, we not only welcome, but request your help in feeding us resources, thoughts, ideas, and anything else you’ve got so that we can continue to adapt this post and share it across all networks.
How To Help:
Reach Out To Portland City Government: This document bears the draft of a letter asking them to address the situation in our city.
Where To Donate:
We have listed several entities connected to the Portland City Hall Encampment. These are the a few ways to donate currently, though this list may evolve over time.
Organizations To Support:
These are some of the entities working hard to help with the situation of the under-served here in Portland. We’ll be adding more over time. Feel free to reach out with suggestions.