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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

GUARDING PORTLAND'S CHINATOWN


Two ferocious guard lions, traditional figures to China, were given to the city of Portland, Oregon by a businessman in Taiwan  (officially the Republic of China) in 1986. Decked out in bronze they stand guard along with an ornate high rising Chinese arch that symbolizes ones entrance into Chinatown. 

But now that the Portland Asian population has mostly moved out of Chinatown -- do these Chinese guard lions protect its new residents -- the homeless?


Everywhere I looked as I passed under the Chinese arch I saw homeless people



Very emotional for me to take a photo of these homeless men



The morning after the night before in Chinatown. 

A homeless activist told me that there are 4000 
 homeless in Portland. 
This includes families with children.

For information on homelessness click here.

For information on the International Network of
 Drug Consumption click here



18 comments:

  1. The main reason there are so many homeless people in Portland is because Portland has such good resources for them. Yes, it is extremely sad because some of the homeless are mentally ill and some are alcoholics and many are drug addicts. Homelessness, in my opinion, is but a symptom of something far greater in our society--greed. With fall and winter approaching many of the homeless will move south but those who need help the most will stay. They stay because they don't know how to move on and because there is quite simply an abundance of heroin here to stave off their pain.

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    1. Rubye -- Exactly my sympathies -- greed is overtaking our country. I am amazed by the wealth of corporations and their closely guarded use of that wealth. Not all corporations are lacking in sharing their wealth though. If we could just provide the very basics in each and every town we would not have this overwhelming problem. The basics being a place to cook, toilet facilities, sleep, and shower. And also a modernized drug treatment program that has been in Europe for quite some time. These basics, I feel, would help the homeless in their crushing way of life. I did not realize the migration flow southward. I would like to share with you some info that tells us there is a way to help the drug situation but I think we as a nation are not willing to do. Here it is: " currently it is estimated that at least one million people receive some sort of drug treatment in Europe. This estimate includes about 670,000 problem opiate users who are receiving opiate substitution treatment, most of these are in methadone maintenance treatment. Importantly, these 670,000 represent about half of all estimated problem opiate users in Europe. In other words, we are covering more or less fifty per cent of the problem opiate population in Europe with substitution treatment." I say 50 percent is better than 0 percent -- thanks so much for your informative comment. I will add the link of Europe's plan to this post. thanks again -- barbara

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  2. Yes, the homeless are in all out cities and towns. We have many homeless -- in our town they are mostly invisible but I see them in midtown. Fortunately at least some are being fed.

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    1. June -- A problem that the U.S. govt seems to look the other way on. Some non-profits try to handle the continuing human tragedy that has evolved but they seem to lack the money to really help. I say hurrah for the Europeans efforts. thanks -- barbara

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  3. Oh dear, a reality post. Yes, so sad. Did I remember to tell you I really like your portrait photo now?

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    1. Barb -- I felt sad taking my photos that day. Thanks Barb for the comment on the photo. I have been off for awhile -- will get over to check out your posts -- thanks barbara

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  4. OMG, it looks like the Chinatown I visited in 1980, except for the homeless. Stomach wrenching sad.

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    1. Joanne -- I bet it was the Chinatown you visited in 1980. As far as I know these lions are the only ones that are so huge and massive outside a Chinese arch. Read the link on the European drug plan at the bottom of my post. A plan like this should be in place in this country. They have had amazing results. thanks -- barbara

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  5. Very sad indeed. Everyone deserves to have some type of shelter. I was surprised by how many homeless there were in Colorado. Just not right when some people have much more than they could ever need. Have a good day. Tammy

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    1. Yes, what a lopsided society we live in today -- billionaires against the rest of us. I find it difficult to realize that there are folks that are so greedy while the rest of the nation is losing jobs because of outsourcing and automation and are working several jobs to make their house payments. I understand that homelessness is everywhere in our country so I am not surprised that there are many in the beautiful state of Colo! thanks -- Tammy

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  6. The lions are not doing their job. No, we as humans are not doing ours. It is heartbreaking. It is one of those things that make me sigh and causes my soul to ache.

    Birdie

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    1. Birdie -- yes, I laugh at your comment about the lions not doing their job yet we as humans are not either. May I suggest reading the European plan that has been in place for some time that would help many of our homeless problems as well as crime etc. It is on the bottom of my post. I laughed but am sad at this situation too. thanks -- barbara

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  7. Such a sad post, but am glad you photographed these men and shared your photos, as too often the homeless are invisible and forgotten. There is simply no excuse for this in a society with such abundance - people living in 6000+sf homes, people with 2nd and 3rd homes - while others have nothing, and through no fault of their own. The inequity in this country is disgusting and reaching critical mass, and I have visions of the French Revolution! The capitalist system is, in my option, too deeply flawed to persist.

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    1. Laloofah -- I walk in step with your thoughts. I was told by a friend that I should not put my homeless folk's photos on this post. I thought why not? We need to face this horrible situation of third world living in this country. Your thoughts and mine too are stirring in the air and I feel something is going to explode with the folks who are in the middle and the bottom -- who can blame them when they get all that rich consumption shoved in their face. Your thoughts are so true -- thanks -- barbara

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  8. Well, there used to be places for people to go, but it's all gentrified down there now in that area. We have lots of street people here in Hilo, and what I think of as semi-homeless: people without homes but with some kind of shelter. They may sit in the streets or wander about during the day but find places to sleep at night. One of my favorites was a man who believed he was the Mayor. He was run over a few years ago, alas, but his buddy who always walked with him is still around. Our mild climate makes this way of life less dangerous than in less forgiving places. I have seen many of these street people for years, sitting downtown or walking the streets, surviving.
    We do have quite a bit of public housing here.

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    1. Hattie -- When I had the opportunity to talk to the homeless activist the day I took my photos -- she told me horror stories of what the homeless face everyday in Portland. the homeless are the colleral damage of capitalism. No reciprocity. No one extending a hand only pieces here and there which is usually small. Folks can't even give a dollar as they feel these folks are bums or alchoholics -- never thinking that they might have lost their job and didn't have a family to turn to or they suffer from a mental disease or any other thing that we hope we never see in our family. Our nation has turned their back on these folks so they could become billionaires. No doubt about it in my mind. The colateral damages also reaches across schools, housing, jobs etc. for those that don't fit the homeless category. At least not yet! thanks -- barbara

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  9. Yes, it is sad & you do a service to remind us of this situation both with your photos & your links. It's easier to take photos of pleasant images, yes?

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    1. Rita -- Such a national disgrace in a country that is supposed to so humane. It is easier to take pleasant photos but I feel if I see something wrong and I am at that spot I will take photos. Thanks for your nice comment -- barbara

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