Cities and towns across the U.S. have been trying everything they can think of to combat homelessness lately, from building shelters to trying to outlaw it. The latter approach is like thinking you can wage a war on poverty by outlawing the poor. The jails fill and you are poorer still.
So we look to other cities in the U.S. which have much greater homeless populations than Durango’s to see what they have discovered. There are, after all, so many other politicians involved, spending oodles of tax dollars. We turn to places such as Portland, Oregon, which has been a left-liberal beacon in some of its policies.
We were reading one of its papers online recently, Willamette Week, when we were stopped in our tracks by a photo under the heading “City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty Condemns Use of Boulders to Expel Portland Homeless Camps.”
The photo shows a massive pile of rocks dumped in what seems to have been a nice residential neighborhood. Compounding this lunacy, the Oregon Department of Transportation placed the boulders across the street from a nonprofit that tries to help the homeless. And then there is the labor and other costs expended by Oregon DOT – to achieve what, exactly?
Sometimes, you have to wonder how much we are willing to hurt ourselves collectively to ensure no one else gets something for nothing, like letting schoolchildren go hungry because their parents have not promptly paid niggling fees.
“It’s all about safety,” an Oregon DOT spokesman told the paper.
Sometimes, you also have to wonder how much we are willing to lie to ourselves.