Editor, The News:
In the early and late 1970s, I lived in Portland, Oregon.
During that time there was a huge influx of transients that migrated into the downtown core, which became a problem as we have seen here with Cliff Avenue. There were many complaints to the city to rectify the problem from business owners and residents.
Myself and a few friends who were at one time considered transients rented a huge house and offered a warm place to stay and something to eat. These places were called crash pads. After a few months, it became so overwhelming we approached the city council for help and with a plan.
We noticed that there were many vacant warehouses in the industrial part of northwest Portland, so we asked the city council if it would consider subsidizing such a warehouse to house the homeless.
For a minimal expense to upgrade one of these warehouses, we were able house up to 80 to 100 people at one time.
We asked for help from the community and received many donations, not just monetary, but volunteers on there own time from medical, dental, legal, and social services.
There was a committee that was set up and elected by the people staying there.
They had implemented house rules and also acquired a couple of shuttle buses, by donation, so that these homeless individuals were able to be transported everyday to various locations within the city to do community tasks as thanks for their place to live.
Not only did it resolve most of the issues with businesses and or homeowners having to deal with the ongoing problem, it gave these people a sense of self worth and a way to just to get up and be able to be productive everyday.
It was a win-win.
Many of these people left and went on to be self-sufficient. For many, it was just what they needed to feel worthy and get use to getting into a productive routine everyday.
It was not a fix-all situation. There will always be individual circumstances, but it was a good start.
As far as I know, there are a few of these places still running.