Friday, October 24, 2008

Getting Soaked by Clean & Safe

Here is the complete story from The Mercury
Matt Davis Reporter from the Mercury tells us "whats going on" to the poor and houseless in Portland Oregon at 4am




In Safe Hands Posted by Matt Davis on Thu, Oct 23 at 10:31 AM I was up at 4:30 yesterday to follow the city's Bureau of Housing and Community Development along on a vulnerability survey, looking for the people in Portland most likely to die on the streets over the winter. It's the first time the city has done a survey like this, and there'll be more on it in next week's paper. But in the mean time, I wanted to relate this incident. By 7:15, the volunteers I was with had surveyed about 25 people sleeping on the streets outside the Portland Rescue Mission on West Burnside, when a Clean & Safe van showed up to hose down the sidewalk:

Among those sleeping on the street outside the mission was a barefoot man, whom I'd estimate to be around 55-60 years old, whose hands appeared to be suffering severe infection. He seemed to be suffering, too, from confusion, was very difficult to re-direct, and when asked if he'd seen a doctor, said "God will take care of me." His hands were weeping pus and blood, and covered in these scales:

Nevertheless, come hose time, the Clean & Safe crew made no allowances for the man, and appeared to show no interest whatsoever in his medical welfare. He was forced to stand up and move along, just like everybody else:

About 10 yards further down the sidewalk, the Clean & Safe crew eventually had to stop hosing, while the cops were called to attend to a man who had passed out and at first, didn't seem to be going to wake up. After five minutes he was eventually roused and hauled off in a police car.
On the one hand, I can accept that the city's business leaders want to present an attractive face for downtown consumers. But when they're hosing down the sidewalk outside a shelter that's already full, and showing apparent disregard for the welfare of those on that sidewalk with severe medical conditions, I wonder what messages we're really sending to the suburbs? I wonder whether a Beaverton soccer mom would really be comfortable knowing that by spending money in our downtown shopping malls, she was inadvertently sponsoring that kind of activity?