Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Commentary By Samuel Strait – January 4, 2022

As most that read the Crescent City Times regularly know that I spent much of
November and on into December traveling about the northern portion of
the three western states, Washington, Oregon and California. Part of
that time was spent in what was once the very beautiful city, Portland,
Oregon.  Not so, any more.  I have a number of friends and relatives who
call Portland home, grudgingly, as they are no longer proud to be living
there.  It doesn’t really have much to do with politics, it is more
about the rise in crime, homelessness, pandemic insanity, and a host of
other issues that have turned Portland into a dirty, trash laden city
over run with crime and lawlessness. 

It is not something that has just
afflicted Portland, Oregon, as California and Washington have
experienced the same decline in their urban settings.  Los Angeles, San
Diego, Sacramento, and San Francisco in California and Seattle, Tacoma,
and Olympia in Washington all have shared the same fate as with Portland.

Most of this decline can be assigned to the recent leadership’s policies
in these urban settings, not even restricted to the West Coast of the
United States.  Defund the police, no serious prosecutorial presence,
weak leadership, with no serious effort to change course.  The question
becomes, will this condition urban centers find themselves in become a
pattern for first mid sized cities and then finally find its way to
rural areas?   On the West Coast at least, this appears to be the
direction that many mid sized cities in California, Washington, and
Oregon have tended to go.  Are we in danger of becoming a third world

When I first came to Crescent City nearly fifty years ago, I would have
said never.  Now I am not so certain. 

Weak leadership – Check 

Homelessness – Check

Rise in Crime – Check 

Government economy – Check 

Pot holes in the street – Check

All signs that we are moving along a path that
the Urban centers have tread.  At a point in time when I first arrived
in the County, government pay checks did not dominate the local
economy.  Logging, Lumber, Fishing, and Mining were a viable economy
that filled the pockets of many families with sustenance, and a roof
over their heads.  All of those economies have since vanished.  It is
not as though there are no more trees to make into lumber, or fish in
the ocean to provide food, or even minerals in the ground to mine, no
California has regulated all that away in return for more local
government which spends money it doesn’t have for things local people
have no need.  Millions of dollars from grants and loans further the
spending spree local leadership has to waste on more non essential
decorations, palaces, and public castles.

If anyone thinks that Portland, Oregon is a grand place to live now that
the “summer of love” has taken place, riots, businesses burned to the
ground, utter carnage on the streets after dark, a glimpse of a recent
night in Portland, Oregon, where two gunman in a running battle fired
over 100 rounds of live ammunition, peppering homes and a restaurant
before disappearing into the night.   Perhaps rather than sending
Portland’s recently disbanded gun and gang team, the “Focused
Intervention Team”, I kid you not, will be able to sort this one out.  
The recently activated FIT is expected “to deescalate and lower tensions
in the community that are feeding on the contagious gun violence
crisis.”  I guess the thinking is that if you wish it wouldn’t happen
then magically it won’t.

While this County of Del Norte has many of the signs that have created the problems
that dominate urban centers like Portland, Oregon, one can only hope the
local population will wake up in time.  The schools are a disgrace. 
County and City governments equally so. The time for change can be as
soon as the next election.  Sources for excess government spending to be
curtailed, new representatives in District three and four to consider,
and a message to the remainder of leadership in the County that a sharp
course correction is necessary.  Sign the petition to eliminate both the
City and County’s one percent sales tax is a good place to start…

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