PBA petition asks city to deal with homeless

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Business Alliance has started a petition on Change.org regarding the homeless population within the city. The organization has also taken out full page ads in newspapers.

The petition says, in part, that the Portland City Council lacks a consistent focus on homeless issues. It encourages the city council to enforce existing laws that will keep parks, public spaces and sidewalks safe for everyone. It also encourages the city to provide more emergency and temporary shelters.

“It’s time for us to approach this as a community and time for the city council and the mayor to take some action. It’s their job to do so.” said Valerie Cunningham with the PBA. “As a community we just think we can do a lot better than this.”

In the city’s latest budget, the mayor has put $106 million of city funds into housing. According to the last count, 3,800 people were homeless in Multnomah County, including 1,887 without shelter.

Jerry Chandler is homeless and thinks those numbers are rising.

“I think it’s getting worse, I see new faces out here every day.” Chandler told KOIN 6 News.

He and his wife have been on the streets for seven months. He likes the PBA’s very public appeal to the mayor.

“I think it’s a very good idea. The streets aren’t exactly a safe place to be with kids or, as a matter of fact, a safe place to be at all at night and if they have the ability or the contacts to push for that to help get more shelters open or keep shelters open, I believe it is a really good idea.”

As of Friday afternoon, nearly 1,400 people had signed the petition.

The Portland Business Alliance represents more than 1,800 businesses. The organization recently started its ‘Real Change not Spare Change’ program, which encourages people to give to nonprofit organizations instead of panhandlers.

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