The issue of the little houses or “sleeping pods” replacing a “COVID-19 camp” – a tent city – in Portland has come up again. As I considered doing an update on this camp, which included one, if not more, antifa rioters last spring, I noticed two things. The first was a “KGW Verifies” post about how this inner eastside encampment was most certainly not an “antifa camp” – (their scare quotes) and certainly not a city sponsored affair as noted in their encoded url. “KGW Verifies” story solicited comment from Multnomah County but not the City of Portland, which spearheaded it.
And there were subsequently a couple of stories ratifying that conclusion, including The Post Millennial.
It seemed odd to me. I’d done the story for PJ Media and noted it was a city-supported encampment that houses one if not more antifa rioters. I even went over how the city supports these encampments.
[T]he tent villages will offer a few essentials: “drinking water, a phone charging station, and cooking area and regular trash service.” Local officials promise a shower truck that will rotate between the three villages
The city provides tents, sleeping bags, and privacy fencing around the 20-plus-unit tent city, which sits on open parking lots.
The cost for housing antifa and others is staggering. OPB reports that the start-up costs were nearly a million dollars with an ongoing $250,000 per month to support Harbor of Hope and another shelter.
A pilot program that will provide three mobile bathrooms and three mobile showers deployed across the city will also be funded, for one year, with $877,870, with much of the funding dedicated to hiring station attendants.
The budget also includes $250,000 in ongoing funding for a new shelter in southeast Portland and for the Navigation Center developed by Homer Williams and Tim Boyle at the edge of the Pearl District. That shelter will be referral only, and focused on serving chronically homeless adults.
The plan to house the homeless was promoted by Mayor Ted Wheeler and longtime politico Jo Ann Hardesty, a city commissioner who wants Wheeler’s job of police commissioner
Among the notables living in the taxpayer paid facility is “Trumpet Man,” aka Camillo Massagi, a multiple-time arrestee at the riots.
I’d quoted the unknown person, who mispronounced Willamette by the way, saying “This is where they house the rioters!” but it was obviously a very hasty generalization. The YouTuber was identified only as “Never Alone in Christ.” See his video below.
I wrote KGW a letter on Sunday asking them for a correction to their story, which included hasty generalizations and impugns the veracity of other, more circumspect, stories done about it, including mine.
See why below.
I just came across a “KGW Verifies” story from September that ethics demand be corrected.
The story pertains to an “antifa camp” – your scare quotes – on the inner east side of Portland near the Willamette.
Your “verification” attempts to confirm or deny an unknown individual’s video (posted under a nom de plume) about the encampment, in which he states it was an antifa encampment.
Your verification of an unknown person’s video was an interesting, though dubious, choice, but by so doing, you undermined the very real news stories written about the FACT that one or two, if not more, of the people occupying the tents were regular rioters. You failed to report this germane and exculpatory information in your “verification.”
This should be corrected and a public apology issued to the unknown person. If you can “verify” ‘just some guy,’ you can apologize to ‘just some guy.’
This unknown person made a hasty generalization about the encampment, but stories such as mine about one or two of the inhabitants being connected with the antifa rioters were correct. When you’re issuing your corrected “verification,” please note this.
By making your sweeping generalization in your “verification” you impugned the very true stories, such as mine, that stated just one or two were.
If your aim was to shoot down true stories about this incident, then mission accomplished, but an organization that claims to “verify” stories has a higher obligation to the truth.
Indeed, your “verification” has, in my opinion, prevented other stories about the new spending for “sleeping pods.” That’s a disservice to journalism and to the truth, which as we know sometimes are two separate things.
Trumpetman has been routinely arrested at riots. You could certainly argue the other man was in league with him as well since he possessed a popular riot weapon, a slingshot, and showed no compunction about using it against the YouTuber.
But we don’t know his name and therefore have no arrest record.
Then let’s get to the person the KGW Verifies team went to for verification.
“No, this is not an Antifa camp. This is a COVID-19 camp,” said Denis Theriault of the Portland, Multnomah County Joint Office of Homeless Services.
A statement like that brings up questions in this reporter’s mind.
Since this is a “COVID-19 camp,” then please tell us how many of the “camp” inhabitants suffer from it and/or why they weren’t masked and isolating when the video was taken.
If this is a “COVID-19 camp’ why was Trumpetman allowed to leave and infect others at the riots?
Are violent people allowed at the camp?
Can residents be high and/or drunk?
How is a homeless camp uniquely qualified for CARES Act and other COVID-19 bail out money?
How were these people displaced or hurt by COVID-19 and where is that verification in Multnomah County records?
How is the safety of other campers secured at this camp?
Are children allowed at this camp?
Are weapons allowed at this camp and, if not, why a slingshot was allowed?
Are you housing “new” homeless brought on by COVID-19 or re-shuffling the people who were already homeless and already receiving services to a new camp?
How long will the county “host” the “COVID-19 camp”?
These seem like worthy subjects of a KGW News story especially now that additional money has been spent from COVID-19 funds to replace the tents with a tiny house at the cost of thousands of dollars per “pod.” You’d think that the new money would be able to help additional people, not the same ones.
Furthermore, the county’s spokesman for this encampment, Dennis Theriault, has in his past reportage with The Mercury shown an ardent alignment with leftist causes. Should this be noted in your “verification”? I feel sure that my record of right leaning political writing and talk shows would rise to the level of a mention in a “KGW Verifies” story. You certainly mentioned “right wing news sites” in your “verification.”
There’s a difference between helping the COVID-10 induced homeless and rounding up the street people and giving them free housing to allow them to continue to indulge in anti-social behavior. Which is this?
Sounds like a worthy topic of a news story.
The homeless programs I’ve dealt with as a volunteer have been of two kinds, a residential program that allowed no violence, street drugs or alcohol and a street ministry that delivered food, showers, foot care (very important) etc., to the chronically homeless.
Please issue your correction and apology. I will be posting this at my website and will post your response.
Please leave your comments below.
I pray earnestly for all those wandering in the dark to discover the enrapturing love of the infinite Lord, and the Eternal gift of his Son!Yes I’m very well…