When you look around Portland, there are signs of abandonment everywhere affected by poverty, disease and homelessness. It’s not a new topic, and it’s not strictly limited to that particular Oregon subway area, but it does seem to get a lot of talk and little movement. Rising crime, addiction, graffiti and tents lining every inch of concrete are not signs of a thriving city. It is not a problem that we should ignore as a society; it requires sympathy and legislation. Housing, infrastructure, jobs and rehabilitation need innovative improvements to help people living in poverty and homelessness. Just spend the money on it. It may be an over-simplification of what is required, but money is the greatest contributor to policy and problem-solving. So just do it as Oregon’s most famous native son might say.
The current poverty we see in our city should inspire not only our domestic but also our foreign agenda. In Oregon we have a Senator, Jeff Merkley, who sits on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit developing countries hard: children forced out of school, people are losing their jobs, and hunger is rising. These problems can be resolved and will help America stabilize nations and open up new economic markets. Less than 1% of our budget is spent on development aid. We should all email our senators to increase the budget for international affairs. Spend the money back.
Ryan Ratzlaff, Portland