Monday, August 03, 2020


“I have nine children with nine different women,” said Richard Cox, 56, who also said he is a former Army Ranger and has been homeless for a year. He, along with Aaron Porter, 24, were assigned to me as trained press liaisons for the homeless encampment at Portland City Hall on Congress Street. Aaron told me he has been homeless for eight years but both men preferred to call themselves “unhoused.”

Press liasons Richard Cox and Aaron Porter

They were attached to me last Friday after I took some pictures near the medical tent and asked questions of the volunteers there. One got on a walkie-talkie and pretty soon Richard and Aaron showed up. We went around the corner on a side street so my digital audio device didn’t pick up traffic noise or screaming obscenities from “residents” like the two women near us were delivering with incredibly-loud voices. 

Gray stains on pavement are dried urine

The “unhoused” encampment has grown on the steps of Portland City Hall and on the sidewalks in front of and beside the impressive stone edifice for almost two weeks. It would be more accurate to describe the building as a formerly-impressive edifice as it’s now covered with stains of dried urine, tents, trash,  sleeping bags, canopies, and people sleeping or walking around. How much more the encampment grows may be determined by a Portland City Council meeting scheduled for Monday, August 3rd.

Aaron and Richard told me no one is working in the building since Covid and are instead working from home. However, the Portland Press Herald reported that City Hall closed for business the previous Monday because staff felt unsafe. Walking around the encampment, I was reminded of what's happening at the other Portland on the west coast and in Seattle where leftists took over whole city blocks.

A large, prominent, professionally-printed sign on the sidewalk declared: “Our Demands,” which included: “DEFUND THE POLICE” and “EXTEND EVICTION FREEZE.” Another sign said: “HOMELESS LIVES MATTER.” That called to mind the Black Lives Matters protests there few weeks ago accompanied by violence and looting. Protesters included organizers like African refugees Hamdia Ahmed and Abdul Ali. Later, someone named Abdikareem Hasan was arrested for firing several shots into the nearby Portland Police Station parking garage.

Abdikareem Hassan

Leaving Richard and Aaron and walking carefully up the steps of City Hall, I squeezed between tents and sleeping bags, some with crashed-out people in them. There was dried urine all the way to the top and I couldn’t avoid stepping in it. I pitied people in tents on the lower steps and on the sidewalk as the urine would, of course, flow down to them, especially when it rained. I was glad not to see, or step in, any excrement, however.

Urine stains on City Hall steps

In one kiosk, I saw a list of people to whom donated tents, sleeping bags, soap, XL women’s diapers, kids’ clothes, and many other donated items had been given. There were written directions conspicuously posted explaining when to administer Narcan for those who overdose. 

“Housed” people were arriving regularly to drop off items that were requested on still another list. Everything visible, except for the people, was donated from the outside. This was clearly kept going by others who wanted political visibility.

Press liaisons Richard and Aaron wore walkie-talkies on their belts and were periodically called to quell disturbances. A Paddy Wagon with blue lights flashing on the next block took people to the police station or to the Cumberland County Jail where I had been volunteering for four years until the pandemic closed it to employees and inmates only.

Preble Street Resource Center

Also closed down by government overreaction to the virus was the nearby Preble Street Resource Center. It had provided all the services to the homeless now being delivered at the City Hall encampment and more. That seems a foolish decision considering that those camping at City Hall and in Deering Oaks Park aren’t socially distancing and few wear masks. There were also toilets at Preble Street. Paradoxically, it seems the “unhoused” at the encampment don’t have to live in donated tents because city officials have said homeless shelters at Oxford Street and at the Portland Expo are operating at only half capacity.

Portland Police Chief Frank Clark reported that shots were fired at the encampment on Saturday. The whole thing seems a political stunt to this writer and US News said it's organized by something called the “Maine People’s Housing Coalition,” I did several searches for it and only came up with a Facebook page. Links from there led me to national, leftist sites with LGBT, socialist, and communist links. The Portland Press Herald, however, has not dug into the “Maine People’s Housing Coalition” or its affiliates.

Is Portland, Maine being plagued by the same leftist forces now ruining the other Portland on the west coast? It would seem so.


Kafir said...

Portland, ME is my hometown. I am appalled and disgusted by the lack of leadership from the Mayor and the 8 city councilors who are all Democrats. The city and state were proudly able to absorb 450 illegal refugees the Congo and Angola last year, but can’t deal with this homeless issue?

I encourage people to go see this mess for themselves. My 95 year old mother and I did so a few days ago. All we can do is shake our heads in disbelief. The people of Portland deserve better, but they’re the same useful idiots who voted for these Leftist losers.

Anonymous said...


Tom McLaughlin said...

I don't allow Anonymous posts here. Please your name, or choose a pseudonym and use it consistently, or I'll delete your comments.


This is so so sad and I'm in agreement with one of the other posters. The city and state were proudly able to absorb 450 illegal refugees the Congo and Angola last year, but can’t deal with this homeless issue? When it happened I was like but what about the homeless that you already have, take care of them first.

CaptDMO said...

Trained Press liaison, with "organizational" walkie talkies.
Nicely printed "Our Demands".
Got it.

Kafir said...

The mayor met with a spokesman for the tent city folks. No progress. With this situation as well as the destruction committed by BLM and Antifa, I’m reminded of the “Crying Indian” (Iron Eyes Cody) PSA back in the early 70’s. Keeping America Beautiful apparently does not apply for the area around city hall.

gaffer said...

9 children by 9 different women. That indicates that we are doing the providing,not him. Our nation is being destroyed by people who act like him. No responsibility or commonsense at all. The Portland city officials are showing no responsibility to their tax paying constituents. Such lack of responsibility ought to see all voted out, but not in Portland. I will take my business elsewhere.

Unknown said...

Sadly there is no way to help these kinds of people.

jb said...

Can't think of a more deserving city. Zero sympathy from me!

Unknown said...

There is a very simply solution. Tell them to A)Pack up and go to a homeless shelter or B) Pack up and go. The party is over. They have a choice. As stated in the article above they have shelters that they can go to and for whatever reason they have chosen to take a stand at City Hall, make demands and camp out. From my point of view, they are not in a very comfortable position to be make demands of any kinds. The city is offering shelter, I am sure the vast majority get food stamps (If not Portland, isn't going to let them starve), am sure they also (not everyone) get checks SSI or disability, there are plenty of mental, medical , therapy and counseling available all offered free or at a minimal amount. And if they think they are going to continue to camp out at City Hall I'm sorry for them. This is another case of the minority dictating to the majority and I for one have had enough. I'm also sick of the Mayor and the rest of the yellow bellied councilors that haven't got the gumption to tell these homeless people that we are demanding they pack up. The powers to be best be remembering who put them in power. We voted them in and we sure as hell can VOTE THEM OUT. Oh, and by the way we pay taxes... See now wasn't that easy.

Unknown said...

I wrote the above comment: Marjorie B.

Greg Vander Veer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
neal said...

The set up with folks not yet discarded by the new order is to demonize the homeless.
That is why when all of a sudden another 40 million or so are cast off then that is because they must be sinners and have it coming.
By the time it comes for you there will be no one left to advocate.
Y`all will take that Mark and not even know what that really means.
Underground feral Churches and such. We stink on ice.