What do we need to get serious about the situation of the homeless in Portland? Money. Money for housing, money for substance abuse and mental health treatment, money for nonprofits that work with the homeless to locate housing and jobs. Also money to hire and train police to deal with the few hostile and predatory homeless people who stain everyone else in their situation.

The current situation is tearing up not only the well-being of the homeless, but neighbors, small businesses and city workers.

How do we get money? What about making sure that capitalism works for everyone? We could start by requiring people able to buy second homes here to pay higher property taxes. We could also encourage Airbnbs only in buildings where owners actually live, releasing more multiunit buildings onto the market, ideally making more units available for long-term housing and reducing rents. And, while we’re at it, keep taxes lower on properties seniors have owned for decades so they can age in their own homes.

Misery is all around us. It won’t magically evaporate if ignored, or be pushed or punished out of existence. Let’s just insist that those at the top of the ladder of fortune pay their fair share so we can keep our city whole. We need homes for the homeless and everyone else, not 82-room, $400 million gigayachts parked in our port.

Pamela Shaw

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: