Late this afternoon, Mayor Snyder announced that she is holding a listening session tomorrow, Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at Lincoln Park on the City Hall Plaza protest. It begins at 9:00 am and the press release from the city to the press gave no other details. The press release on the listening session was issued this afternoon just after 4:00 pm!!
This short notice, lacking in an even 24 hour public notification, is an additional indication of the city’s lack of interest in the issue and like Trumpy’s attitude toward the COVID-19 – maybe if we ignore the homeless, they will disappear – like the COVID-19.
Clearly, the listening session is a response to the embarrassing criticism by the public about the city’s failure to listen to the homeless and their demands to the city. Last night following a discussion on the Charter Commission formation, countless speakers expressed their frustration with the city council for its failure to take public comment on this crisis and the lack of accessibility to the city council.
Ginger asked – “When will folks have an opportunity to talk about homelessness? She asked the council to make a commitment to meet these people and talk to them. (She forget to ask the Mayor to give adequate public notice, probably assuming that went without saying). Charmin asked: “Why are the homeless being silenced? Katherine stated that accessibility through Zoom meetings is not possible for many homeless people. Sarah of Hammond Street accused the council of coming close to violating numerous official meeting rules ; a charge that corporate counsel Danielle West-Chuta refuted. Olivia charged that it is “disgusting” that the Council would not hold a workshop on homelessness without listening to those affected. Ramon asked what can we speak about if not homelessness? Reilly said that it is ridiculous to have a workshop on homelessness and not let the homeless speak on the subject.
One speaker asked the council to suspend its rules on public comment to permit this discussion. Councilor Spencer Thibadau, a local real estate attorney, tried unsuccessfully to shut-down public comment on homeless issues during the public comment period. “We can suspend the rules, but we don’t want to,” responded Mayor Kate to a speaker. Several District 1 residents called out councilor Belinda Ray for her “smirking” at their issues. At 8:30 pm., when mhn.com stopped listening to the testimony from the outdoor broadcast at city hall plaza. speakers were going strong expressing their concern over the silencing of the homeless and their issues.
This last minute transparent response to a serious crisis in Portland is but another disingenuous response by a council in over their heads in problem solving. The Council is short on solutions and long on delay tactics – intended to sweep matters under the rug they don’t know how to resolve.. Like Trumpy, if they ignore a crisis, maybe it will go away!
What a transparent sham by the city council.