PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A woman who took her concerns over Portland’s homeless crisis to city leaders says the mayor scoffed when she testified about the ongoing issues.
Gillian Rose told KOIN 6 News she moved to Portland from the East Coast five years ago because she wanted to live in a more progressive city. She spoke before city commissioners at Wednesday’s council meeting — talking about her fears and concerns surrounding drugs and homeless encampments across the city. When she was finished speaking, she said Mayor Wheeler scoffed.
“Please stop wasting our money and destroying our beautiful city and please start being leaders. Thank you for your time,” Rose said during the meeting.
Wheeler responded “alright thank you, you’ve made your point emphatically clear. Thank you for being here and sharing your perspective, we do appreciate it.”
Rose told KOIN 6 News “when he laughed, it kind of just proved my point.” She added “it was really insulting actually and painful to hear.”
Rose says she is angry, sad and fed up with Portland’s homeless crisis. When KOIN 6 News sat down with her on Thursday, she shared stories about how the crisis has impacted herself, her friends and neighbors.
“My friend is a realtor who just recently lost a deal because a homeless camp popped up in front of a house the clients were going to buy. What if that’s how you made a living? Are you going to subsidize that loss for him?” Rose explained.
Rose said on her drive to work she has seen people in tent cities injecting drugs and noted one time her partner was attacked by a homeless man on Springwater Creek Trail.
“It’s hard to watch, it’s hard to be around, it’s hard to be worried and stressed out all the time,” Rose said.
Rose believes she speaks for many Portlanders when she says the crux of the homeless issue is drug addiction and until leaders start seeing it that way nothing will change.
“They blame it on unaffordable housing,” Rose said. “That’s part of it, but it’s also enabling, and they don’t want to give up that narrative,” Rose said.
Dan Ryan’s office reached out to Rose and met with her over Zoom on Thursday. Rose said Commissioner Ryan is a kind person, but she does not believe that meeting will effect any change.
KOIN 6 News reached out to Mayor Wheeler’s office and Commissioner Ryan’s office but has not heard back.