“It’s single-party control. Things are going downhill: inflation, crime, homelessness, addiction, overdoses. Here in Oregon, look outside—you see the homelessness, people dying in the streets from overdoses, people having psychotic breaks. It’s in shambles right now. It wasn’t always like this.”
Oregon has been a mess for years. Democrats have controlled the governor’s mansion for over 40 years and the legislature for 15 years.
2022 might be the year everything changes, thanks to some lifelong Democrats who are ready to vote Republican.
Yes, the Democrats will vote for pro-life, 2nd Amendment advocate Christine Drazan. We have been covering her rise in the race, and the hippie state wants to vote for Drazan instead of Democrat Tina Kotek and Independent Betsy Johnson.
Johnson is taking more Democrat votes than Republican votes, 17% to 9%.
Documentarian Leighton Woodhouse spoke to some of those Democrats who live in floating houses on the Columbia River for Bari Weiss’s Substack Common Sense.
The homes aren’t floating down the river. But they are literally over the river. It actually looks pretty cool.
Linda Donewald moved to Oregon from Phoenix because her husband wanted to live on the river. Plus, Portland offered a vibrant atmosphere. Donewald now describes Portland as a “war zone.”
Oregon voters have homelessness as their top issue, especially in Portland.
The homeless encampments started years before the riots after George Floyd’s death in 2020. One homeboat community saw the city’s largest homeless encampment right across from them:
Until recently, the city’s biggest homeless encampment stood just across the street from the floating-homes community, in what’s called the Big Four Corners Natural Area. The camp was founded in 2018 by homeless activists on a protected wetlands site. They used to call it the Village of Hope.
By 2020, hundreds of people were living in the Village of Hope, and crime was rampant. Houseboat community residents started finding their car windows smashed in. Thieves stole their catalytic converters, and then their cars. On one occasion, a resident returned to his floating home to find someone in his bathroom taking a shower.
“We considered hiring a nightly foot patrol, but it was too expensive,” said Denise Olson, another floating home resident. “We felt terrorized.”
The community needed to do its own foot patrol because the authorities found it too dangerous for them to do anything.
Residents told Woodhouse they regularly hear gunfire. They “could smell the paint thinner-like odor of meth labs in the encampment, which burst into flames on several occasions.”
The homeless stole neighborhood dogs for ransom. A person admitted the camps have deceased residents “buried in the site’s marshy ground.”
Government agencies ignore the residents or suggest ludicrous ideas:
Residents said they got bounced from one unresponsive government agency to the next, until they finally got a meeting with an aide to their state representative, Democrat Zach Hudson, Olson told me.
The aide told the houseboat owners that their homeless neighbors “just need a hand-up.” She suggested they organize a barbecue for the homeless. A barbecue?! The houseboat owners were stunned.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this,” said Donewald, who, with Olson, created a neighborhood security committee. “There’s been a failure of leadership.”
Portland leaders started planning a ban on homeless campouts last month. But it’s probably too late. Mayor Ted Wheeler describes the issue as “public camping.” He wants to establish them in “large city-sanctioned camps.”
The voters also care about drugs and crime, which have connections to the homeless encampments:
The murder rate is surging in Portland, especially among those living on the street. In a recent survey of Portland residents, 84% of those polled said they felt unsafe downtown at night, and 61% felt the same way during the day. Eighty-two percent want more police in the city.
Drug addiction is as bad as ever. “There is no evidence that Measure 110 has reduced drug use, drug-related crime, or overdose in the state,” Keith Humphreys, a psychologist who specializes in addiction and served as a senior advisor in the Obama administration, told me, referring to a progressive 2020 initiative that decriminalized drug possession. Meanwhile, Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel is active in “every corner of the state”, as The Oregonian puts it. (Police in Eugene recently seized 18 pounds of fentanyl in a single traffic stop, enough to kill most of the state of Oregon.)
The floating home community is at its wit’s end, but you can also see the effects in population stats.
Portland’s population is shrinking “for the first time in over a decade.” Young people are fleeing the city:
And, for the first time in over a decade, Portland is shrinking, with young adults leaving in particularly large numbers: between 2020 and 2021, the county that includes Portland had a net loss of more than 4,000 residents between the ages of 25 and 29. Oregon as a whole has experienced one of the biggest slowdowns in population growth in the country.
Angela Renteria has lived in Portland for a long time and used to work downtown. She told Woodhouse she “watched Portland ‘completely turn to shit.'” Literally:
“The biggest thing to me, though—the most off-putting thing, is open defecation,” she said. “I’m walking down the street with my kids going to a bookstore, and someone is squatted on the sidewalk taking a sh*t.”
Renteria said, “she’s accosted” every time she goes outside to smoke a cigarette. When she tells a homeless person she won’t give them a cigarette, “they call her a ‘F*cking bitch.'”
Renteria also saw the Black Lives Matter riots in 2020, which caused her bosses to close her bank’s branch. They told the employees “to lock yourselves in the vault” if the riots got out of control.
The whole time Renteria saw “maybe two police cars the whole time. I saw ambulances, fire trucks, but no cops. They just let them do their thing.”
A poll by The Oregonian/OregonLive showed that 81% of Portland-area voters believe the protest “did more harm than good to Portland’s image.”
A “union guy” who wants to stay anonymous will vote for Drazan after “nearly every vote he’s ever cast has been for Democrats.'” He brought up the “stunning amount of violence from Antifa.”
Diana Sapera doesn’t “feel comfortable” taking her kids downtown. The chaos makes them scared, and they witness “grown adults yelling, hitting things, throwing things.” They ask Sapera about the needles on the ground.
“It feels like night and day even just this year,” explained Sapera.
The longtime Democrat voted for Drazan.
George Carillo, Sapera’s husband, feels the same way and supports Drazan:
“It’s single-party control,” he told me. “Things are going downhill: inflation, crime, homelessness, addiction, overdoses. Here in Oregon, look outside—you see the homelessness, people dying in the streets from overdoses, people having psychotic breaks. It’s in shambles right now. It wasn’t always like this.”
Carillo became so frustrated with the status quo in Oregon that he ran for office for the first time in his life in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. After dropping out, instead of going with his party’s nominee, he threw his support behind Christine Drazan.
The Democrats better change if they want the people to come back after 2022:
“The Republican Party has almost nothing to offer me,” the unnamed “union guy” told me. He described himself as a “1960s Civil Rights type,” the kind of person who believes that “the best way to end discrimination is to end discrimination.” In 2016, he voted for Bernie Sanders. Now, he said, the Democrats are all about dividing the world into victims and oppressors. “It seems to be their goal,” he said. “They want more division.”
The Cook Political Report moved the race to toss up in September.
RealClearPolitics rates the Oregon gubernatorial race as a toss-up but projects a GOP pick-up. The data is insane and favors Drazan:DONATE
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