Looking at American cities over the last few years, evidence suggests a connection between progressive Democratic rule and ruinous increases in urban blight.
One of the most notorious American hotbeds of chaos and decay is Portland, Oregon.
Up until a few years ago, Portland had a reputation as a gentle hippie and hipster hangout, as depicted in the skit comedy show “Portlandia.”
Now, like many other Democrat-run cities, Portland is dissolving into a morass of out-of-control homeless encampments, drugs and violence.
The turn in the city’s fortunes caught the attention of rock star John Mellencamp. He recently released a song, “The Eyes of Portland,” describing the city’s failures in dealing with its homeless problem.
Some residents of the besieged city were pleased to finally have someone calling attention to their plight.
On Fox News, Portland resident Bridget Barton said, “It is pretty bad, isn’t it? The city of Portland and the state of Oregon are really in crisis at this time. And John Mellencamp has nailed it with a couple of these lines in the song. I think my favorite is one of the ones you just said, ‘The land of the plenty where nothing gets done.’”
Mellencamp received some local criticism as well. Portland Monthly griped “The Eyes of Portland” video featured imagery of tents and begging individuals from Los Angeles and New York City instead of “our own brand of urban decay.”
If anything, using footage from other places reinforces that the same wretched conditions are festering wherever the Democrats are in control.
However, the news is full of reporting on genuine Portland-style blight.
In September, 10 disabled residents sued the city, stating the tents and filth blocking Portland’s sidewalks violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires sidewalks to be wheelchair and walker accessible.
In October, it was revealed that $139,000 public restrooms set up in downtown Portland had degenerated into vandalized, disgusting biohazards.
In December, a mother shared how she felt forced to move away from Portland after fentanyl pills — most likely from a nearby homeless encampment — wound up in her garden and near her small children.
She’s not the only one making that choice. In December, Willamette Week reported the Census Bureau said Portland’s population decreased by 11,000, or 1.7 percent, in 2022, down to 641,000.
Why is homelessness such a daunting problem?
Portland resident Stue Peterson blames the politicians for subsidizing the lawlessness. According to Fox News, Peterson said, “One of the problems we have here is the government wants to administer to the homeless and they’ve created a homeless industrial society, in my opinion, that doesn’t really get to helping or to alleviating what the real issues are.”
In an interview from December, a homeless woman in nearby Seattle seemed to support that analysis.
When asked what it was like to be homeless, she replied, “It’s a piece of cake, really. I mean that’s why you probably got so many out here, because they feed you three meals a day, you don’t have to do s*** but stay in your tent, or party, or smoke a lot of dope, you can do that.”
WARNING: The following tweet and video contain vulgar language that some readers might find offensive.
“It’s a piece of cake…you get three meals a day and don’t have to do shit…wake up, eat get high, wake up eat get high” repeat. A homeless woman shared with me why it’s so easy to be homeless. She was brutally honest because she hates the enablement “They are loving us to death” pic.twitter.com/HxRUoSFFFu
— Kevin Dahlgren (@kevinvdahlgren) December 31, 2022
In California, at least one mayor has tried a different approach with great results. Republican Mayor Richard Bailey of Coronado has stamped out urban blight by simply enforcing the existing codes on the books preventing public camping and other misbehaviors.
Mellencamp, even though he names Portland, implies the homeless situation is more of an American problem. He is right, in that we are called to help those less fortunate than us. Despite the line repeated in the chorus of his song, “Your tears and prayers won’t help the homeless,” prayer is what many of the homeless need most.
It’s interesting to note that the singer is a proud liberal who has campaigned for Democratic politicians — the very people whose policies encouraged the current homeless crisis to metastasize.
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