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Portland woman slams mayor for scoffing at her concerns about homeless crisis

A woman who says she moved to Portland, Oregon for its progressive values has accused the mayor of scoffing at her after she confronted him over the city’s homelessness crisis.

At a virtual city council meeting on Wednesday, Gillian Rose slammed Portland’s handling of its homeless population, saying the squalid encampments that are pervasive around the city make life miserable for residents.

‘You have to stop enabling this,’ said a visibly emotional Rose. ‘I’m angry and I’m sad and I’m fed up, and I’m so sick of having politicians pander to a woke agenda that’s been nothing short of an epic failure.’

Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, chuckled audibly as he responded, saying, ‘thank you, you’ve made your point emphatically clear. Thank you for being here and sharing your perspective, we do appreciate it.’ 

Portland resident Gillian Rose accused Mayor Ted Wheeler of scoffing at her after she slammed the city’s handling of its homeless population

A homeless encampment is seen on a residential street in Portland earlier this year

A homeless encampment is seen on a residential street in Portland earlier this year

After the meeting, Rose said that Wheeler had scoffed at her concerns, telling KOIN-TV: ‘when he laughed, it kind of just proved my point.’ 

She added ‘it was really insulting actually and painful to hear.’ 

A spokesperson for Wheeler did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com on Saturday. 

In her remarks at Wednesday’s council meeting, Rose spoke passionately about the stark impact that Portland’s prolific homeless population has on quality of life.

She said that she had moved to the city from the East Coast four years ago because she embraced its left-leaning values. 

‘I moved here in hopes of becoming part of a progressive city where it seemed like its leaders cared about social issues — what’s transpired here is not progressivism,’ she said.

‘A lot of people who live on the streets fill them with trash and their own feces while openly using drugs — it’s not progressive, it’s insane and unacceptable,’ added Rose.

‘Portland has become the laughing stock of the country, it really has,’ she told the city’s leaders.

'Portland has become the laughing stock of the country, it really has,' Rose told the city's leaders during public comments at a council meeting on Wednesday

‘Portland has become the laughing stock of the country, it really has,’ Rose told the city’s leaders during public comments at a council meeting on Wednesday

Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, chuckled audibly as he responded, saying, 'thank you, you've made your point emphatically clear'

Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, chuckled audibly as he responded, saying, ‘thank you, you’ve made your point emphatically clear’

Rose told how Powell Boulevard had become clogged with tents and trash, describing the area as an ‘open drug market’.

She said that a homeless man had swung wildly at her partner on Spring Water Trail while they were out on a bike ride. 

‘When you consider carrying a gun or bear mace while riding your bike, I think something is severely, severely wrong,’ she said.

Rose told how her friend, a realtor, lost a deal because a homeless encampment sprung up in front of a house that his clients were about to buy, scuttling the deal.

She said that a neighbor, an occupational therapist at Legacy Emmanuel Medical Center, primarily treated homeless people who had infections from drug use, or burn injuries from accidently setting themselves on fire.

‘Please stop wasting our money and destroying our beautiful city and please start being leaders,’ the frustrated resident concluded.

A photo shows encampments blocking sidewalks adjacent to the Pacific Northwest College of Arts on SW Broadway and Hoyt Street

A photo shows encampments blocking sidewalks adjacent to the Pacific Northwest College of Arts on SW Broadway and Hoyt Street

Tents crowd the sidewalk that is littered with trash from homeless communities setting up camp in areas spread from downtown Portland now out through the suburbs

Tents crowd the sidewalk that is littered with trash from homeless communities setting up camp in areas spread from downtown Portland now out through the suburbs 

Rose told KOIN that she believes the crux of the homeless issue is obviously untreated drug addiction, and that until city leaders acknowledge and tackle the root of the problem, it will continue.

‘They blame it on unaffordable housing,’ Rose said. ‘That’s part of it, but it’s also enabling, and they don’t want to give up that narrative.’ 

Portland has experienced an explosion in its unsheltered population in recent years, beginning with the economic downturn during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In January, a survey found that 5,228 people in Multnomah County were homeless, including 3,057 who were sleeping on the street.

Wheeler has faced growing backlash over the issue, and has attempted to crack down on areas where street camping is allowed.

Under an emergency order, Wheeler banned encampments near dangerous roadways or the city-sanctioned tiny home villages that have been erected in a bid to solve the issue.

Tents are lined up along a residential street in Portland, with belongings strewn about

Tents are lined up along a residential street in Portland, with belongings strewn about

In August, the order expanded to ban sidewalk tents on key walking routes to the city’s schools.

But many Portland residents say they have seen little change, and that after every sweep to clear encampments, they quickly spring back up. 

Portland residents have also grown fed up with the increase of violent crime in the city, which recorded a record 90 homicides, shattering the previous record of 66 set three decades ago.

So far this year, Portland is roughly on pace to match last year’s murder record.

As of this week, the city has recorded 68 murders in 2022, nearly matching the 69 homicides recorded at the same point last year, according to police data. 

 

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