Tragedy In Portland
--by dotmatrix, posted Feb 28, 2022
"Do you live anywhere near Portland?" I asked an old friend I haven't seen in years. All I knew was that they lived in Oregon.
I explained that we've been helping a young man in Portland who lost his job two years ago. Then, when the pandemic hit, he lost his apartment. He has been living on the street ever since. I met him through my blog outreach for homeless creatives (under1000skies.org). This is our 8th year. I found him on Twitter @myhomelessmeals
He's articulate and intelligent and has been recording what it's like to live on the street during a pandemic. When I found out his name was Oscar, I thought at first he might be Ben. That was one of Ben's game names. Even though it isn't Ben, by helping Oscar, I feel like maybe someone will be helping Ben somewhere too, if he needs it.
So the last two weeks have been very cold as you probably noticed. Portland did not open emergency shelters for days. Finally, they announced shelters open on one night, but only hours before they opened. It takes a long time to mobilize and get to places when you are on the street. Oscar said when he got to the shelter, no one else was there. And that night one of his friends burned to death in a tent fire trying to keep warm. He did not know about the shelter.
So, if you know anyone in Portland who makes decisions about emergency shelter and getting the word out to folks on the street, maybe you could mention what Oscar went through.
Thanks so much for reading.