Craig-homeless in Portland
broken man in a broken system
It’s 2:00 in the morning, I awoke wondering how is Craig? When I saw him last he was walking North slowly away from me in downtown Portland wearing my black coat. When I first met Craig he was bleeding and he scared my colleague, she got in the truck, Craig then locked eyes on me, he was upset and asked me if I was calling the cobs? I finished my call (not to the cobs) and approached this angry bleeding man. He was loud, confrontational, intimidating and upset…then he asked me a question, don’t you have kids? He kept talking without hearing waiting for my response and asked what would I do if my kid had fallen and was bloodied and in need of care? I was taken back from my initial reaction of being attacked and needing to defend myself, my honor and those with me, his question brought me to a place of truly understanding the moment and not just what was on the surface. I told this man that I did not have any band aids, he said in a lower, soft, slow voice that he didn’t need a band aid and he said the last person he just asked for help told him to “F” off..
Craig needed much more than a band aid. I went to my vehicle and got some paper towel, wet a piece and handed them to Craig, he began cleaning his minor wounds. This obviously homeless man and I began a dialogue, I asked his name and where he is from, his name is Craig he is from Boston he was wearing a Blue Boston sports shirt, matching shorts and tennis shoes…he was cold, blooded, sad, hunched over, alone, hungry and informed me that he hadn’t slept much for days.
Craig and I only spoke for a brief while, I encouraged him to stand tall and had him look at the man in the reflection of the window that we were standing next to, he told me and that man he saw in the mirror that he wanted out of this predicament, he wanted to not be an addict anymore, we both agreed that he needed to get the hell out of Portland. But how? Craig has no phone and seemingly there was no easy or effective way for him to find help.
Craig needed another human being to see him, to be with him, to lie to him that he was not alone in Portland. What he really needs is for other human beings to love him, churches and their congregations to show up and for paid city and state legislators to do their job.
8-5-21 I arrived to Portland to view firsthand the city’s homeless and housing crisis, so that I could better serve Portland’s housing needs, I am home builder touring a few cities that have a housing crisis. I knew the needs would be complex, here is what I found so far and what I think is a possible solution. This page is a work in progress, health collaboration and input is welcomed…
City officials in Portland have an unhealthy tolerance and acceptance of drug abuse, mental illness, (both of which exacerbate each other), and a public health situation and liability.
I reached out to the governor, the mayor, news media and the city commissioners prior to my arrival with no response from any legislators.
An engineered approach is required;
*Learn the situation; no mystery here, load a bus with legislators and take a few hours tour of the city, get out and walk amongst the homeless, filth, public nudity, open drug use, noise, mental illness, urine on city buses and human feces. Then take action steps.
*Tax payers should vote out and or recall failing legislators.
*Establish policy and protocol for an effective solution.
*Consult with mental health, legal and other professionals, consultation only not an ongoing contract
*Build a fix it team;
*Boots on the ground; city employees crossed trained, make an amendment to their job description etc, if necessary. Train these already employed city personnel in basic level initial contact skills and protocol.
*Second level responders for enacting protocol-based action steps
*Mentorship…I see the need for men to mentor the homeless men in cities across the globe, Craig wanted help, wanted out, needed a hand up…we men need to rise to the occasion and teach our skills to those willing to work on a way out…firefighters, policemen, ball players, business owners, tradesman…let’s come together and fix this..
*Clean up, 2 buses;
* One bus going to a camp for rehabilitation
*The second bus going to a camp for those wishing to remain addicts
*Trash trucks, personal with PPE I bet there is a few hazards in that rubbish..needles etc.
*Looking for an attorney or two to jump in here and advise on property rights of the homeless
* Looks to me that most of the personal property could go to the landfill..
*Integrity; a call to all “professionals” get in, do your job, get out, stop the “stakeholderism” hold your head high as you only talk home what you have earned.
*Fund the solution; The tax payer funds are there, proper management is called for, Governments are NOT employers they have employees for the purpose to manage and provide services to the tax payers that they serve. eliminate jobs/positions in current government that are unnecessary, trim the fat, stop the stakeholderism! Law suits from persons injured by the public safety risk should not be a surprise, prior and proper planning prevent piss poor performance
Call for integrity; all those involve/hired, get in do your job and move on
Other cities dumping grounds; interview the homeless as where they are from, if it is determined that another city “dumped” them in Portland than have a conversation/send that city a substantial invoice
The Oregon governor should be embarrassed and appalled that one of his/her cities is in such disorder.