Old Town: As homeless camping increases, business owners and unhoused cry for more help
Under the wail of passing trains, Portland’s Old Town residents and business owners swap stories of the latest neighborhood goings on. Their conversations repeat themselves week after week. They fear crime is increasing. They’re bothered by tents lining sidewalks and trash piling up. They’re frustrated that first responders don’t arrive quickly when homeless neighbors experience a mental health crisis. And they worry about the immense task of reopening their businesses after a year of closures.
At first blush, the conversations seem to pit business owners against individuals experiencing homelessness. But in reality, both sides are asking for largely the same help from the city and Multnomah County.