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Readers Respond to Street Debate Over People Living in RVs

“Did anyone actually speak with the campers to see if there was a solution they could use?”

A post appeared Oct. 15 on the social media app Nextdoor announcing a block party intended to irritate people living in RVs and other vehicles on a North Portland street. Instead, at noon the next day, roughly 15 black-clad counterprotesters showed up. The woman who posted the event flyer said the call to “be loud and obnoxious” was intended as humor. As first reported on wweek.com, the conflict was the latest example of the political debate over visible homelessness playing out face to face along neighborhood sidewalks. Here’s what our readers had to say:

Travis, via wweek.com: “‘Abandoned by City Hall’ is no joke. It’s absolutely true. The people who live in the neighborhood are frustrated with the trash and crime. It’s telling that counterprotesters came over to confront people frustrated with trash and crime then went home without focusing their energy on having the city fix this problem (that they have largely ignored for several years).”

@bijou531, via Twitter: “The nerve of taxpaying residents who prefer not to have visible chop chops and unpredictable thieves and drug addicts post up in their neighborhood. So rude.”

Hilary Jepsen, via Facebook: “OK. So if the argument was that ‘solutions’ needed to be found, did anyone actually speak with the campers to see if there was a solution they could use? I don’t know, I feel like this used to be called having a conversation and getting to know your neighbors? What’s worked well for me so far has been exactly this. When there is a new person in the neighborhood, I simply say, ‘Hi. I notice you’re new here. We all know each other on this block and I don’t recognize you. Are you doing OK? Do you need food or anything?’ And so far I’ve been met with hostility at first, but after a few minutes, when they realize it’s a genuine question, we’ve been able to find services and support. It’s seriously not difficult to talk to people. If that’s where they are stuck, maybe getting some solution as simple as having them both park on the same side of the road so traffic isn’t impeded would be a positive start.”

thedeadtext, via wweek.com: “Both sides are frustrated. Heck, everyone is. And while perhaps accidental or incidental, that ‘let’s make noise and bother people’ idea isn’t exactly adding a positive contribution and will obviously evoke a similarly negative response.”

Corey, via wweek.com: “I feel for the woman who just wanted to make a joke about harassing her houseless neighbors. I mean, what have we come to as a society when we’re not automatically assuming that a flyer’s text is a joke, actually, and it’s all harmless and fun and stop getting offended!?”

Miguel Martinez, via Facebook: “Snake Plissken would be intimidated walking through there. Only a matter of time till something really bad happens.”

Kurts, via wweek.com: “Nextdoor Karens are lame. Über-left window smashers are far worse.”

@TobikoRice, via Twitter: “Number of RV dwellers interviewed: zero.”

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR must include the author’s street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words. Submit to: PO Box 10770, Portland, OR 97296. Email: mzusman@wweek.com.