In response to “Let’s stand with the homeless”: How do I say this without hurting anyone’s feelings? Do you want Pendleton to look and smell like Portland? This is just crazy talk (oops, I failed already).
When you give people free stuff, all you do is create more and more people wanting ever more free stuff. These folks care nothing for our town or its citizens. They care nothing about Pendleton, other than to use us for a free ride (oops, let me try again). Most of these folks are not “homeless” due to circumstance. They are “transients,” a lifestyle choice.
You will notice as you walk the river levee between Main Street and Eighth Street the so-called “homeless” have phones, bicycles, cigarettes and an abundant supply of marijuana and other drugs. The path is littered with soda cups, used clothing, furniture, plastic bags, and all types of trash. Trash that could be placed in a city-provided refuse container.
Most receive EBT cards and free health care, yet they have no desire to use the help they receive to better their situation. They are perfectly happy to continue their lifestyle — and make no mistake, it is a lifestyle — and grab more and more from the public trough.
When the warming station opened I am sure many thought this shelter would provide the help these transient folks needed. But did it? Just giving the transient population a place to get out of the cold only attracted more person(s) wanting to get out of the cold.
Walk the well-worn path (not alone) below the Arts Center just under the Main Street bridge. You will find sewage and trash, along with hypodermic needles, as well as an ever-growing transient camp. Ask yourself a few simple questions. Where do these people go to relieve themselves? What will be the cost (to us) for the cleanup when this camp is abandoned? Who will clean this camp when either fire or cold move the campers to our local warming station? Check with the county sheriff if you want to know the cost of cleaning a transient camp last year. I think you may be shocked.
I believe the solution calls for a three-pronged approach if we want to assist our city and these folks. First, we must use legal deterrents to put an end to the selfish lifestyle of the majority of these transients. The stealing, offensive littering, and panhandling must be stopped. Second, If you want a program that is designed to help, it needs to be based on getting them off drugs and helping them get jobs to better themselves, not giving them free stuff. If you think free stuff is the answer, then by all means let some of them camp in your back yard. Thirdly, mental assistance for those truly in need. If they do not wish to partake in these type of life-changing programs, they should be moved, one way or the other, by strict enforcement of current state law and/or city ordinance.
Action needs to be taken before it is too late and we go the way of bigger cities like Portland, San Francisco or Seattle and her citizens.
J.L. Humphrey Sr.