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Arlo Dibble
Staff Writer

Hostile arcitecture’s rampant rise leaves houseless with nowhere to go

Photo+by+Olivia+Beauchemin
Photo by Olivia Beauchemin

Hostile architecture is a method by which urban planners design specific places to be unlivable for homeless people with the intent of eliminating any comfort for them. Focusing on Portland, the number of homeless people is a separate issue that needs to be addressed, and this is an underlying factor as to how hostile architecture has gotten out of control.

Portland politicians dehumanize homeless people when they fund the building of hostile architecture. Not only do they not address the underlying issue – the homeless crisis in Portland – but they make it even more difficult to do so when there are no areas for homeless people to live.

There are plenty of examples of funding going towards unapproved structures or devices used to discourage homeless people from using the areas. According to the PSU Vanguard, Alex Alridge gives an example: the construction of flower boxes in Laurelhurst, a neighborhood whose residents are in the top 15 percent of wealthiest Americans, based on income. These were made without a permit, with the specific goal of intentionally forcing the relocation of homeless people.

If you’ve ever seen a bench that is slightly tilted, or has dividers in the middle, those aren’t to designate seating areas for traveling individuals; they are made to prohibit homeless people from sleeping on them. Where do people expect them to live and sleep if not on a bench that nobody else is occupying? Some businesses have gone so far as to put dull spikes across the entryways of closed doors or window sills to prevent a person from sitting there, many of which aren’t in use and aren’t in the front of said businesses.

Plenty of people who live outside of Portland, and don’t regularly visit, seem to have the most negative things to say about homeless people. Instead of a humane approach, like supporting homeless shelters, they target homeless people. Those who have experienced homelessness or are currently homeless deserve humanity and respect, just as much as someone who has access to a house. A start would be making livable places for said people. Whether that starts with a hostile architecture ban or building more shelters, Portland needs to serve its community. All of its community.

But this isn’t just a Portland issue. This occurs in almost every highly populated area, including both urban and suburban areas, including Tualatin. It needs to be addressed. No city is truly welcoming if it forces the relocation of those who are homeless. As long as these areas choose to fund this kind of architecture, they can’t claim to be welcoming.



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Arlo Dibble, Staff Writer

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  • M

    MadPoet ( Steven Delgado)Nov 20, 2023 at 6:47 AM

    Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! ..Am I my brother’s keeper? You should be ashamed of yourself Portland. The world knows you as THE City of Roses. A title that might rest with Texans or in Pasadena California with the hosts of The Rose Bowl. There are games and parades in as many places as there are varieties of roses. Yet Portland is THE City of Roses. I believe it is because Portland personifies the essence of the Roses. Tough,..beautiful.. where’s your love, your peace? We’ve seen enough of thorns and blood..and pricks. This is my home and I’m going to make a little bit more effort to make it a welcome and safe place for all.

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  • T

    Truth HurtsNov 19, 2023 at 6:15 PM

    I think Portland does not have a homeless problem but a drug problem. Fix the drug problem and the homeless problem will become practically non existent. Until the people who run the city decides to recognize the problem it will not go away. So basically you are part of the problem.

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