Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Utopia Under a Tent or a Waterfall?

 

I had my six-month dental cleaning and check-up. I didn’t expect to see the same hygienist. At my last visit, she was planning a move, possibly to Portland but I told her she may want to re-think that. She got back yesterday and said parts of Oregon were beautiful, breathtaking, the waterfalls, cool breezes, deep emerald green forests and didn’t want to leave. They hiked every day. She grew up here in Florida and is ready for a change. What she wasn’t ready for was Portland. She said she’d never seen anything like it, and was shocked by the enormous homeless population. Tents everywhere. “They don’t bother you, she said, or panhandle”. But “you couldn’t help but feel ill at ease,” walking from the donut shop with a bag of fresh-baked donuts. She walked by a young man at 7:15 AM, shooting up in broad daylight. Drugs that come in from Mexico and China. She said another’s face was beaten to a pulp. The smell was awful. But Oregon she said, was truly breathtaking…

I asked her why has Portland turned into this refuge? Her first answer was the legalization of drugs, marijuana. This seems to lead to stronger drugs and the lack of incentive for work or a better life. We both wondered where they got money for drugs. She said even with the abundance of jobs, they are mostly high-tech and rents have become unaffordable as a result. I asked why don’t they build affordable housing? She said that’s in the works, but you still have to have a job, and the towns don’t have the “budget to build them.” No wins here. She then commented, “I get the concept,” like what they are doing in LA.”

So let them be all in one place instead of spread out: in the parks, in front of commerce, in the cemeteries? Is that less offensive? I don’t get that concept.

I then asked are you a millennial? She said she’s almost 30 and didn’t know. I asked how her boyfriend liked it, the handsome dentist. The dental office lets them stream favorite photos and music. She always hums and used to stream pictures of her and the handsome dentist boyfriend at a party, or on vacation skiing. At my last visit, no humming and no pictures. I used to think, wow – if these two ever had kids, they would be gorgeous. “Yes,” he liked it she said today but wants to move to Denver, where his family is gradually relocating. She said she wasn’t keen on being landlocked, so it will be worked out somehow… She said Denver is also starting to have a big homeless issue. Why? Why are these beautiful cities going to hell? If parts of it are so beautiful, imagine the people that would flock there if they would clean it up? More money from tourists and new industry – build more housing? Crazy idea.

She was also looking at a dual career and hinted at travel. Hmmm… she was back to humming, but no pictures of the handsome dentist. I was happy for her, wanting to see the world, not locked into one place, career, person? Two sides of the new generations, but both drifting, not sure what the future will bring. Polls out show that this generation places faith and marriage at the bottom of priorities. Communities in some major cities seem to place law and order, and care of its citizens at the bottom of its priorities. This also seems to be the same areas that attract anarchists.

I don’t understand the concept of stepping past the stench, the needles, the black and blue face beaten to a pulp, with a bag of donuts and accepting that this is the new normal. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know where this will go.

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  1. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Oregon is beautiful.

    I once drove from Eugene/Springfield to Yahatz on the coast, in just under 13 hours. This drive would normally take 4 hours or less, but it took the immense amount of time it took since I was traveling with two waterfall fanatics who wanted me to see all of their favorite waterfalls. I still remember that day as being one of absolute beauty.

    All this was in the early 1990’s. Already there were groups of young people who sat on street corners in Eugene, pan handling and smoking cigarettes. Often some of the kids were around ten or eleven. Really young. I wondered what their lives would be like when they were adults.

    You could tell the newbies from the youngsters who had been out on the street for a while. For the experienced street youth, the newbie looks of total adventure were fading, and replaced by aging faces filled with uncertainty and despair.

    I imagined that the story behind some of this was how China and other parts of the Pacific Rim had taken away Oregon’s spot as lumber master of the world. There was a harsh discrepancy between the liberal mentality of the Eugene/Springfield student and faculty academic scene and the desperate situation of the thrown away youths.

    So I don’t find the situation in current day Portland to be surprising. If you spend your adolescence begging smokes, rather than getting your HS diploma, you won’t be doing well when you’ve matured. The situation needed attention in the 1990’s, as by now, the lost adolescents have moved from cigs to much harder stuff. They probably cannot recover, even if someone somewhere were to make an effort to help them out. (And God bless those minsters and others who do try.)

    • #1
    • August 28, 2019, at 6:25 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Arahant Member

    Front Seat Cat: It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know where this will go.

    Indeed.

    • #2
    • August 28, 2019, at 6:26 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. MarciN Member

    My daughter and son-in-law are living in Manhattan. They are beginning the second year of a three-year stint. Both of them are shocked at the poverty they are seeing and the lack of municipal will to keep up with the trash. My daughter knew New York when she was in college in the late nineties, and it wasn’t like this.

    • #3
    • August 28, 2019, at 6:45 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Vectorman Thatcher

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):
    All this was in the early 1990’s. Already there were groups of young people who sat on street corners in Eugene, pan handling and smoking cigarettes. Often some of the kids were around ten or eleven. Really young.

    When I was growing up, kids 10 or 11 were called truants. You couldn’t get out of school until you were 16. Why aren’t they rounded up during the day? And what about their parents or guardians? Oh yes, this is la-la land.

    • #4
    • August 28, 2019, at 6:45 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Barfly Member

    Front Seat Cat: It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know where this will go.

    Really? I don’t think any of us know where these trends are taking us. One might hope that civic disgust would lead to election of conservative city governments, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. To more of the same, then? I doubt that too – even stupid liberals will get sick of the mess when it starts to affect them and their kids. Is there money enough that they can steal, to build and police that many gated communities? That’d lead to some ugly backlash.

    So, where is this going?

    • #5
    • August 28, 2019, at 6:52 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    And China didn’t take away all those logging jobs in Washington and Oregon. The Liberal Environmentalists did, with their “endangered species” and “save the planet/tree-hugger” religions. They are still preventing prophylactic logging of dead trees in national forests, which contributes heavily to the increase in wildfires all across the West.

    • #6
    • August 28, 2019, at 7:36 PM PDT
    • 16 likes
  7. Vectorman Thatcher

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    And China didn’t take away all those logging jobs in Washington and Oregon. The Liberal Environmentalists did, with their “endangered species” and “save the planet/tree-hugger” religions. They are still preventing prophylactic logging of dead trees in national forests, which contributes heavily to the increase in wildfires all across the West.

    • #7
    • August 28, 2019, at 7:40 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. JimGoneWild Coolidge

    My sister and her husband live across the street from a micro-brewery/B&B in N.E. Portland. Because this place has ‘public’ showers, dozens of people park on the streets all around it and car camp. The police try to run them out but it’s still a problem. My bro-in-law hates it but still votes (D). My sister is a hopeless liberal. Crazy place.

    • #8
    • August 28, 2019, at 8:09 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    JimGoneWild (View Comment):

    My sister and her husband live across the street from a micro-brewery/B&B in N.E. Portland. Because this place has ‘public’ showers, dozens of people park on the streets all around it and car camp. The police try to run them out but it’s still a problem. My bro-in-law hates it but still votes (D). My sister is a hopeless liberal. Crazy place.

    And that is why cities like Portland are doomed

    • #9
    • August 28, 2019, at 8:21 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  10. Randy Webster Member

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    And China didn’t take away all those logging jobs in Washington and Oregon. The Liberal Environmentalists did, with their “endangered species” and “save the planet/tree-hugger” religions. They are still preventing prophylactic logging of dead trees in national forests, which contributes heavily to the increase in wildfires all across the West.

    The spotted owl was deadly to the lumber industry.

    • #10
    • August 28, 2019, at 8:28 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. Al French of Damascus Moderator

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):

    Oregon is beautiful.

    I once drove from Eugene/Springfield to Yahatz 

    That’s how it is pronounced, but it is spelled Yachats. Silent “c”. From the name of a local Indian tribe.

    • #11
    • August 28, 2019, at 9:26 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. Doug Watt Moderator

    There is no doubt that Oregon is one of the most beautiful states in the US. The people in Portland are no more or less friendly than any other place I’ve visited, and I have seen a lot places in not only the US, but outside the US as well.

    There are some serious problems in Oregon, especially west of the Cascades. I avoid downtown Portland, and I don’t recommend that my friends from out of state visit downtown unless they take my advice on where to go downtown and where not to go. That’s unfortunate because the city is in a beautiful location.

    From the mentally ill to road warriors (young urban transients, with a pitbull on a rope) it’s a mess. It has been a mess since the 80’s and that mess has been ignored up to this day.

    By all means visit the coast, Mt. Hood, Bend, eastern and southern Oregon. Fly into PDX, a great airport, rent-a- car and head for wine country, and points outside the city.

    • #12
    • August 28, 2019, at 9:27 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  13. Doug Watt Moderator

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):

    Oregon is beautiful.

    I once drove from Eugene/Springfield to Yahatz

    That’s how it is pronounced, but it is spelled Yachats. Silent “c”. From the name of a local Indian tribe.

    Try Siuslaw – Sigh-oos-law.

     

    • #13
    • August 28, 2019, at 9:31 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Vectorman Thatcher

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    And China didn’t take away all those logging jobs in Washington and Oregon. The Liberal Environmentalists did, with their “endangered species” and “save the planet/tree-hugger” religions. They are still preventing prophylactic logging of dead trees in national forests, which contributes heavily to the increase in wildfires all across the West.

    The spotted owl was deadly to the lumber industry.

    In 1989 I interviewed for a radio engineering job in Salem OR, going through PDX. Being August, it was sunny and similar to the Midwest, but most of the houses had significant moss growing on them. They were building bike lanes in all the new subdivisions. Because of a trucker strike due to the spotted owl, I almost missed my flight back home. It was nuts enough back then, so I didn’t take the job.

    • #14
    • August 29, 2019, at 2:47 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor

    I think Portland can be seen as an ugly metaphor for the state of the entire country, and what socialist policies will do.

    • #15
    • August 29, 2019, at 6:01 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  16. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):
    All this was in the early 1990’s. Already there were groups of young people who sat on street corners in Eugene, pan handling and smoking cigarettes. Often some of the kids were around ten or eleven. Really young.

    When I was growing up, kids 10 or 11 were called truants. You couldn’t get out of school until you were 16. Why aren’t they rounded up during the day? And what about their parents or guardians? Oh yes, this is la-la land.

    Same here and you hoped your parents wouldn’t get a phone call….. That seems to be a big part of the dire situation – no parents, or parents with no parenting skills, or one parent household where they are stretched thin? My husband told me of an employee of theirs child (young teen or maybe 12) that was not going to school. The parents had to appear in court and fix the problem or else foster care. They have other children. The boy was placed into some sort of a private school (maybe military), regimented, where they have to help clean up, learn to follow instructions as well as attend school for one month.

    • #16
    • August 29, 2019, at 6:13 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Yeah, just ask @vicrylcontessa.

    • #17
    • August 29, 2019, at 6:14 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Songwriter Member
    Songwriter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It sounds like Portland has literally out-weirded the satirical TV show, Portlandia, that mocked the city’s weirdness.

    • #18
    • August 29, 2019, at 6:24 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  19. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat

    Songwriter (View Comment):

    It sounds like Portland has literally out-weirded the satirical TV show, Portlandia, that mocked the city’s weirdness.

    Funny (or not) how Hollywood makes shows out of problems and actors bash those with actual solutions. 

    • #19
    • August 29, 2019, at 6:27 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  20. Skyler Coolidge

    I doubt it has much to do with drug legalization. It’s merely the latest in progressive tactics to bring their postmodern nihilism to our lives. Austin is almost caught up. The city council decreed that the homeless can now camp anywhere in the city except outside city hall. Over night the situation got bad. Tents popped up all over like electric scooters.

    • #20
    • August 29, 2019, at 1:20 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  21. Petty Boozswha Inactive

    MarciN (View Comment):

    My daughter and son-in-law are living in Manhattan. The are beginning the second year of a three-year stint. Both of them are shocked at the poverty they are seeing and the lack of municipal will to keep up with the trash. My daughter knew New York when she was in college in the late nineties, and it wasn’t like this.

    It was like that and worse when I lived there in the 70’s. Giuliani did more to clean up the city in 12 days than Ed Koch and Mario Cuomo did in 12 years. All it takes is a will to employ and allow common sense. 

    • #21
    • August 29, 2019, at 1:23 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  22. Anamcara Member

    AOC screamed at border patrol agents on her trip there. Let;s arrange a tour for her: Portland. Seattle, LA. Would she scream and yell about these conditions? Feces, rats, typhus — many people in the real concentration camps died of typhus. Would she scream and yell about these conditions? I would love to see her confronting these situations. She would probably blame it on Trump. Logic is not her strong suit.

    • #22
    • August 29, 2019, at 1:36 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  23. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat

    Skyler (View Comment):

    I doubt it has much to do with drug legalization. It’s merely the latest in progressive tactics to bring their postmodern nihilism to our lives. Austin is almost caught up. The city council decreed that the homeless can now camp anywhere in the city except outside city hall. Over night the situation got bad. Tents popped up all over like electric scooters.

    In Texas? Curious if Austin’s politics have changed, i.e. more liberal leadership. That is unbelievable.

    • #23
    • August 30, 2019, at 6:19 AM PDT
    • Like
  24. Skyler Coolidge

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    I doubt it has much to do with drug legalization. It’s merely the latest in progressive tactics to bring their postmodern nihilism to our lives. Austin is almost caught up. The city council decreed that the homeless can now camp anywhere in the city except outside city hall. Over night the situation got bad. Tents popped up all over like electric scooters.

    In Texas? Curious if Austin’s politics have changed, i.e. more liberal leadership. That is unbelievable.

    Austin is about as “progressive” as you can imagine. We’ve been overrun by people from the other tech populations of California and Washington state, etc. It used to be a nice oasis safe from the monolithic republican corruption. That is, Austin liberals couldn’t do too much harm because the republicans kept them in check, but they also kept a lot of the nearby corruption from taking hold (of course, there is always corruption everywhere). But now, there are no effective checks against the lunacy of the left here anymore. We are fast approaching Portland levels of lunacy.

    • #24
    • August 30, 2019, at 6:32 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. Suspira Member

    Front Seat Cat: The smell was awful. But Oregon she said, was truly breathtaking…

    Portland sounds like Reginald Heber’s “Ceylon’s isle” where “every prospect pleases, and only man is vile.”

    • #25
    • August 30, 2019, at 7:20 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat

    I watched a Fox you tube segment on the homeless problem in Seattle – then Laura Ingraham’s show highlighted Venice Beach and South Bend, Ind. The town leadership has failed – what seems to be helping are independent faith based organizations. Neighborhood groups are also taking matters into their own hands and complain that cops are doing nothing. The legalization of drugs, ignoring open drug use on the streets, as well as decency and cleanliness is playing a part in the worsening of this issue – wow! How did we get here? These regions are rich in high tech industry – they could be part of the solution.

    • #26
    • August 31, 2019, at 8:05 AM PDT
    • 1 like

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