Apparently, Charlie Hales has given a drop-dead date of August 1 -- by which time all the homeless encampments currently placed alongside (and sometimes blocking) the Springwater Corridor path will be forcibly removed by law enforcement.
But because this is Portland, there has to be an action. After all, that's how our fair city got its nickname "Little Beirut" once upon a time. The name has stuck, and confrontational stuff -- like the WTO protests, random anarcho-punk muckraking and now this -- is why.
So a group of folks calling themselves Serve The People-PDX is gathering their resources in order to stage some kind of counter-action against law enforcement when they begin to sweep out the homeless people from the Springwater. For those of you who don't use Facebook, the word Disrupt figures prominently in their advance PR, which doesn't bode well for anyone wanting to avoid a scene that will already be -- well -- a scene. Kick out almost FIVE HUNDRED people from the place where they've been living, because they have nowhere else to go -- and then tell them that the City doesn't have anywhere for them to go, either -- see what happens.
Either way, this isn't going to to end well.
I haven't been on the Springwater since my May Sunday Parkways shift, and I don't intend to go back for quite awhile. Things are just too tense and I admit that I'd prefer not to find myself in the middle of something potentially dangerous.
I admit that even when I was younger, confrontation always scared me. I am, in my heart of hearts, a rather timid soul when it comes to challenging authority; I prefer to do it with words rather than with laying my body (or housing, or job) on the line. Sorry. Call me a chickensh!t if you must, but there's something to be said for common sense.
So don't look for me out on the Springwater anytime soon.
If you choose to venture out there between now and Labor Day, leave the kids home. It's just not a good place for them to be right now. Ride with [adult] friends, carry your cell phone and go home before dinnertime.
Wherever you go in our fair city, ride safely!