Portland houseless crisis continues despite campaign promises

Naasei Lynn, Staff Writer

The ongoing houselessness epidemic within Portland has been a key identifier of the City of Roses for decades. Dubbed ‘the homelessness crisis,’ this issue has been at the forefront of political promises for campaigns all around Oregon. 

Year after year, Portland residents flock to the polls to cast their votes for the politicians who deliver the most inspiring resolutions to the houseless crisis. Despite all of the commitments and plans made, the crisis still takes a toll on the City of Portland. The burden of the crisis is as much on the residents as it is on the city, causing many to re-evaluate their stances on Portland.

“I can’t say I’ve seen a change, yet,” Tualatin High School (TuHS) teacher and Portland resident of 30 years Theresa McCaffrey stated, referring to crisis-guided policy changes in Portland. McCaffrey, who resides in the southeast region of Portland, has witnessed an uptick in crime, graffiti and houseless encampments since her arrival in the city. Like many other Portland residents, she still holds out hope for an effective response.

“I love my city and I want it to get better. I want it to heal,” McCaffrey said, making a passionate appeal for the future of Portland. McCaffrey also mentioned the hardships Portland went through after the 2020 protests and the COVID-19 pandemic. There is still an underlying belief in policy changes, such as Measure 110 and a $130 million spending plan, but the hope is out of desperation as much as it is based on evidence.

Other Portland residents also carry the same hopeful sentiment as McCaffrey, wishing the best for the city but unwilling to put full faith into the words of politicians.

“Portland has always had an issue,” stated TuHS teacher Shem Malone, Portland resident of 26 years. Malone stressed the complexities of the houseless crisis, and how it cannot be resolved in one promise or a single policy change. The levels of the crisis extend beyond the public eye, he said, and a true solution would take decades of continuous effort. 

McCaffrey and Malone both share the same doubts in problem-solving vows issued by Oregon leaders, such as Governor Tina Kotek, but the impact of these plans is unlikely to be seen until years have passed.