Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Welcome to Portland, Albania!

Just who in fuck ARE these new people settling into the cracks and cockroach nests of my once fair city? I pretty much know who the higher-caste immigrants are: mostly Californians, either Bay Area techies or Orange County real estate rock stars. As much as I despise California — it epitomizes all that is vapid and voracious about American corporate consumer culture — I'm realizing in increasing horror that those guys are just PRICING me out of here. Whatever's falling out of the boxcars onto my streets is woefully Balkan in its savage barbarism; these wretched new young thugs may well end up PUSHING me out of here.

I was walking from downtown to my Northwest Portland neighborhood of canning and respite from the neighborhood Bedlam on Sunday when yet another window was opened up to me on the emerging street landscape of violence and crime. I ran into a guy — a sixty-three year-old guy, mind you! — who had just gotten out of the hospital for having had his nose punched in by a girlfriend-beating douchebag in a fit of jealousy. If that weren't outrageous enough, this occurred shortly after having been released from the hospital for head trauma from another class act ... who smashed a wine bottle on his head for NOT GIVING HIM A SMOKE! And, again, the victim is sixty-three, and also limited in mobility (requiring the assistance of canes or walkers). Two violent assaults resulting in two visits to an urgent care center within twenty-four hours of each other!

While I've only lived in the welfare hotels and on the streets here since 2000, I know from suburbanite young-adult “slumming it” excursions and from accounts from elders I deem of (mostly) sound minds, that this kind of shit didn't afflict the lumpen-proletariat outside of crack houses and gone-sour dope deals (and domestic squabbles) twenty years ago. Indeed, it wasn't until about ten years ago that I started to notice a trickling in of loose-cannon aggro into Portland's more bilious of social humors. And, WHERE IN FUCK ARE THE COPS? Furthermore, WHY AREN'T THESE ASSHOLES IN THE SLAMMER? Sixteen years ago I had to worry about losing the backpack I lived out of when staggering shitfaced; now people have to worry about their similarly unfortunate peers yanking it out from beneath their heads as they're sleeping, with a few kicks to the head and ribs to discourage dissent.

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