Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Old Town homeless - Cindy's campground - whither the neighborhood?

I guess if one had only two choices - the old Cindy's with its prostitution and drug use or a homeless camp - the latter would be preferable. But Old Town does have more than its share - an unfair share - of concentration of social services that draw the homeless to Old Town for needed services. But until the Resource Access Center - there was little housing of the homeless on anything other than a temporary basis.

Whither the neighborhood? For a start one might read these two posts Urban Development - Neighborhood and Old Town: Overwhelmed by crack defining the Old Town neighborhood. The neighborhood has been on a long downward slope for quite some time. It apparently hasn't reached the bottom yet.

That slope has been well greased by the city and aided by neighborhood apathy. Some city grease - the Resource Access Center, public loos as well as a lack luster drug enforcement. And the apathetic neighborhood associations - one allegedly made up of residents and the other allegedly represents businesses - act much like Curling sweepers clearing the downward path from obstacles.

In none of the media reports on the new homeless camp do we read about either the neighborhood or business associations having anything to say. Mostly this is because both organizations are controlled by the social service industry that dominates Old Town.

This comment was found (brought to my attention) in the Mercury article on the camp.
As a Old Town business owner, I gotta say that with the concentrated social services in OTCT, and abandonment of city redevelopment assistance in the neighborhood (because PSU district is really hurting, PDC TO THE RESCUE!) it feels like we're kind of reaching capacity as far as what OTCT can sustain as far as shelters/outreach/social services are concerned, and still remain a place to do business.
I'm fully for the city doing everything it can to help the homeless/disadvantaged, but how about we spread it around a bit? I'm guessing there aren't too many businesses on NW 9th and Everett, or 39th and Hawthorne that have to clean urine out of their shop doorways every single morning. 
What is interesting is that this comment is the same as those I used to hear from commercial business owners when I lived in Old Town from 2004 to 2010. But the truth of the matter is that, then as apparently now, the "leaders," with one exception, in Old Town didn't, and still don't, give a rats' ass about commercial business.

The neighborhood association continues its lack of leadership and the business association is pure bunk. Old Town will continue its decline into the past unless some active leadership is formed that is devoid of social service influence. The problem in Old Town is not the 'table,' but who is at the table.

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