July 11 - Doorbell Tales

Last night while doorbelling I spoke with a woman who lives on the edge of Carkeek Park. She told me about one or two homeless men who have been living in the park very close to her yard over the last two years. She came to know one of them pretty well. She worried for his safety when she saw big branches atop one of the tents after a windstorm. She called 911, and was relieved when police said they found no one inside. She is annoyed by the trash at the site and repelled by the stench of human waste. Yet she doesn't want to report the encampment. As long as they keep to themselves, and maintain clean spaces, she would be totally fine with them living there.

I think that this is an ambivalence that many of us who are fortunate to be housed feel towards people who are homeless. And the ambivalence may be harder to tolerate by people who experience more direct impacts. I think about the woman at the other night's meet and greet who told of living near the electrical substation at NW 47th and 8th NW. She has found needles and a jar of urine in her yard. She said that if her children, now grown, were a lot younger, she would be out of that neighborhood.

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