A woman who says she moved to Portland, Oregon for her progressive values, has accused the mayor of making fun of her after she confronted him about the city’s homeless crisis.
At a virtual city council meeting Wednesday, Gillian Rose criticized Portland’s handling of its homeless population, saying the squalid encampments that dominate the city make life miserable for residents.
“You have to stop enabling this,” said a visibly emotional Rose. “I’m angry and sad and fed up, and I’m so fed up with politicians pandering to a waking agenda that has been nothing short of an epic fail.”
Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, laughed loudly as he responded, saying, ‘Thank you, you’ve made your point emphatically. Thank you for being here and sharing his perspective, we appreciate it.’
Portland resident Gillian Rose accused Mayor Ted Wheeler of mocking her after she criticized the city’s handling of the homeless population.
A homeless encampment is seen on a residential street in Portland earlier this year.
After the meeting, Rose said that Wheeler had mocked her concerns, telling her KOIN-TV: ‘when he laughed, he just proved my point.’
He added that “it was really insulting and painful to listen to.”
A spokesman for Wheeler did not immediately respond to a DailyMail.com request for comment on Saturday.
In her remarks at Wednesday’s council meeting, Rose spoke passionately about the stark impact Portland’s prolific homeless population has on quality of life.
She said she moved to the city from the East Coast four years ago because she embraced her leftist values.
“I moved here hoping to become part of a progressive city where its leaders seemed to care about social issues – what’s going on here is not progressive,” he said.
“Many people who live on the streets litter the streets with garbage and their own feces while openly using drugs – it’s not progressive, it’s crazy and it’s unacceptable,” Rose added.
“Portland has become the laughingstock of the country, it really has,” he told city leaders.
“Portland has become the laughing stock of the country, it really has,” Rose told city leaders during public comments at a council meeting Wednesday.
Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, laughed loudly as he responded, saying, “thank you, you’ve made your point emphatically clear.”
Rose recounted how Powell Boulevard had become clogged with tents and garbage, describing the area as an “open drug market.”
She said a homeless man had savagely beaten his partner on the Spring Water Trail while they were out riding their bikes.
“When you consider carrying a gun or a bear mace while riding a bike, I think something is very, very wrong,” he said.
Rose recounted how her friend, a real estate agent, lost a deal because a homeless encampment emerged in front of a house his clients were about to buy, ruining the deal.
She said one neighbor, an occupational therapist at Legacy Emmanuel Medical Center, treated mostly homeless people who had infections from drug use or burns from accidentally setting themselves on fire.
‘Please stop wasting our money and destroying our beautiful city and start being leaders,’ concluded the frustrated resident.
One photo shows encampments blocking sidewalks adjacent to the Pacific Northwest College of Arts at SW Broadway and Hoyt Street.
Tents clutter the trash-strewn sidewalk of homeless camping communities in areas stretching from downtown Portland to the suburbs.
Rose told KOIN that she believes the crux of the homeless problem is obviously untreated drug addiction, and that until city leaders recognize and address the root of the problem, it will continue.
“They blame it on unaffordable housing,” Rose said. “That’s part of it, but it’s also enabling, and they don’t want to give up that narrative.”
Portland has experienced an explosion in its unsheltered population in recent years, beginning with the economic downturn during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In January, a survey found that 5,228 people in Multnomah County were homeless, including 3,057 who were sleeping rough.
Wheeler has faced a growing backlash over the issue and has tried to crack down on areas where street camping is allowed.
Under an emergency order, Wheeler banned encampments near dangerous roads or the small villages of city-sanctioned houses that have been erected in a bid to solve the problem.
Tents are lined up along a residential street in Portland, with belongings strewn everywhere.
In August, the order was expanded to ban sidewalk tents on major pedestrian routes to city schools.
But many Portlanders say they’ve seen little change and after each sweep to clear the encampments, they quickly rise again.
Portland residents are also fed up with rising violent crime in the city, which has posted a record 90 homicides, surpassing the previous record of 66 set three decades ago.
So far this year, Portland is more or less on track to match last year’s murder record.
As of this week, the city has recorded 68 murders in 2022, almost matching the 69 homicides recorded at the same point last year, according to police data.