Homeless campout sparks discussion

Your Tuesday editorial, “End the slumber party,” makes me ashamed to be a Portlander, in a city where the mention of Dignity Village or any organized homeless gathering incurs such public disapproval.

Imagine homeless people having the temerity to expose their lives so publicly!

In response to any outrage that Portland could allow an encampment such as Dignity Village or the “slumber party” around City Hall to exist, I have one question: With no available housing or shelter, where should they go? A piece of cardboard in some fetid alley? A trash-strewn patch of dirt hidden by overgrowth? A condemned, abandoned rat-infested building without water or toilets? And how would their conditions be so much better?

An inspiring model, Dignity Village has peace, order and safety. Closing it would put 60 people back onto the ruthless streets to fend for themselves. Yet, The Oregonian recommends sweeping organized homeless people out of the public view as a far better option. My question is, in which universe?

The “decent” response shouldn’t always be a knee-jerk one.

KEITH VANN Southwest Portland

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