Homelessness in Portland, one of America’s most “livable” cities, is an emergency, according to Portland officials. What’s not clear is why the situation is only now being officially considered a crisis, when the number of people sleeping on Portland streets is reportedly about the same number as were homeless in 2007.

According to in-depth reporting by The Oregonian/OregonLive senior writer and editor Anna Griffin, homelessness nationwide has declined 11 percent following a partnership between federal and local leaders who launched a national movement to get people off the streets nearly a decade ago. For some reason, or perhaps for many reasons, the plans, programs and public meetings have had less success here. Nearly 2,000 people – including elderly, women and children – are living outdoors in Portland.

Friday, October 16, a panel of top experts on homelessness joined hosts Rebecca Webb and Mark Grimes on Biz503 to discuss the state of street-level poverty in Portland, its impact on individuals and local businesses, and potential solutions being offered by a growing coalition of concerned citizens and agencies.

Guests included:

Ed Blackburn, Executive Director, Central City Concern

Israel Bayer, Executive Director, Street Roots

Jes Larson, Director, Welcome Home Coalition

Michelle Cardinal, local business owner, R2C Group

Biz503 is broadcast each Friday at 1:00 p.m. on Portland Radio Project, at 99.1 fm in the heart of Portland, and streaming to a worldwide audience at prp.fm. Listeners everywhere can use our interactive Talk Board to offer questions and comments. Below, you can listen to the Friday, October 16 show on Homelessness in Portland.


Rebecca Webb
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