Some Portland residents say recording artist John Mellencamp captured the essence of the city with his new song, “The Eyes of Portland.”
The 71-year-old singer-songwriter made the song to comment on the current homelessness and drug crisis raging in the city.
“As I saw through the eyes of Portland one day/ There were so many homeless, they’d all gone astray/ They slept on the corners during the day/ As not to be harmed when the sun went away,” the opening lines say.
The chorus is equally bleak: “All of thesе homeless, wherе do they come from?/ In this land of plenty where nothing gets done/ To help those who are empty and unable to run/ Your tears and prayers won’t help the homeless.”
Though mainstream outlets have been critical of the song, at least one Portland resident says Mellencamp’s song is spot on.
“It is pretty bad, isn’t it? The city of Portland and the state of Oregon are really in crisis at this time. And John Mellencamp has nailed it with a couple of these lines in the song. I think my favorite is one of the ones you just said, ‘The land of the plenty where nothing gets done,” Bridget Barton, a local, said on “Fox & Friends First” Tuesday, the outlet noted.
“In Oregon, we only have 4 million plus people. In the last six or seven years, we’ve committed $4 billion to this crisis. And yet Portland’s mayor freely admits that the problem is 50% worse, not better. It’s 50% worse. That’s a sad commentary on his leadership and on the state’s leadership,” she continued.
“We do have serious problems with the houseless and especially with the drugs in Portland,” Tom Karwaki, another resident, said during the segment.
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“One of the problems we have here is the government wants to administer to the homeless and they’ve created a homeless industrial society, in my opinion, that doesn’t really get to helping or to alleviating what the real issues are,” resident Stue Peterson said.
The publication noted that there are around 700 homeless encampments currently in the city. Democratic Mayor Tom Wheeler is working on creating a city-run camp which would cut down on street camping, but it will only accommodate 150 of the estimated 3,000 individuals currently living on the streets.
Meanwhile, Portland introduced the Democrat-backed House Bill 3501, also known as “Right to Rest Act,” which would allow “persons experiencing homelessness” to “use public spaces in the same manner as any other person without discrimination based on their housing status” with an “expectation of privacy.”