Portland boasts that it is the most friendly, environmentally conscious City on the West Coast. Filled with great places to eat, great places to live and friendly people. What doesn’t seem to be acceptable is our government officials and how they look at the city budget and how to best use the money.
Today Portland’s Mayor Sam Adams announced that the city would be putting in more sidewalk restrooms for the homeless in downtown. The cost of this endeavor runs in the hundreds of thousands at $240,000 plus per toilet. Called the Portland Loo these toilets are very sophisticated. The Portland Loo was contracted specifically for the downtown areas homeless areas. The Portland Loo is built with the doors up off the floor so that crime cannot take place within the Loo itself. Portable is great but means that the Portland Loo needs cleaned daily at the least and someone who can put in the supplies. The cost of cleaning and upkeep is not in that $240,000. The problem here is that Oregon doesn’t have the money in the general fund to finance the school districts.
Just last week many of the schools throughout Portland notified the students and parents that due to restricted funds they would be taking away the Outdoor School for 6th graders. Music and Sports will suffer and teachers will not be working if the school districts don’t get enough funding to pay wages there may be layoffs.
Mayor Sam Adams has also decided to put in a safety line, being called a buffer lane, along the bike lane on 3 city blocks. This small area will be a buffer between the bike lane and the cars passing by for safety. Although a good idea the cost is in the area of $36,000 is the price tag for just three blocks of painting of the buffer lane.
Next we had the sit-lie ordinance, which allowed the police to ticket the homeless if they were sitting or lying down in certain sidewalk areas. Thanks to a judge this has been suspended. However useful for downtown business because of the issues with the homeless this put a strain on the funds for the shelters and missions that feed the homeless. They were required to pay the fines before a homeless could seek shelter for the night. No one likes to see homeless lying around or sitting around but to fine a person whom you know will not be financial able to pay that fine seems a little silly in my opinion.
Portland could put that $240,000 and $36,000 into the school funds and give our children a better education. The left behind testing shows that even though Portland schools are gaining in their work they are still at 63-65 percent average that pass the tests.