Those of us who have committed our professional lives to supporting our friends who are experiencing homelessness in Portland have faced a lot of disappointments over the years. We’ve been disappointed each time we have seen a section of the so-called safety net eliminated. We’ve been disappointed each time we have seen a faction respond with fear and bias at the mere mention of services or resources to support unhoused folks being planned in their neighborhood.

I don’t believe, though, that we’ve experienced disappointment as deep and cutting as what we are experiencing right now, as we watch a varied group of people produce and spread knowingly false propaganda in support of a “smaller shelters” referendum that would level a devastating blow to the experiences and hopes of those who find themselves homeless in Portland.

The disappointment is so deep because some of those involved are purported allies of unhoused folks, who are committing the unpardonable offense of aligning themselves with NIMBYs and with those who feel no shame in playing games with the lives of vulnerable people.

It is my hope that the people of Portland will see through this cynical effort to upend the years of careful work that have brought us to finally having a homeless services center that will provide people with the safety and supports needed to emerge from homelessness. The “smaller shelters” campaign is disingenuous, dangerous and disappointing. Please vote for Option C on the Portland ballot Nov. 2.

Brian Townsend

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