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Letter to the Editor: Send them on

— To the editor:

When will everyone else in The Dalles get as fed up as I am with the homeless, transients and pan handlers that seem to continually multiply in our small town.

Going downtown is almost as bad as going to Portland anymore. If you go to the post office you are sure to see at least one passed out person charging their cell phone for free on one of the many outdoor outlets.

Yesterday, I was yelled at by three people on the bench out front of the post office whom I am positive are constructive members of our community. The guy with the huge cart plugs up the roundabout about once a day. He is a danger to motorists and himself, I would assume.

We have the punk kid with a guitar at the liquor store drinking Starbucks and begging all day. The intersection by Fred Meyers is always occupied by someone stranded, out of work, hungry, has kids to feed, etc. Another good place to dump off your change is by the skate park.

I have noticed that the parking lot by the new Verizon, yogurt, and hair salon is also a good spot to camp. Why can’t we seem to move these people along. They came from somewhere else so why can’t we send them somewhere else.

I can’t imagine it’s hard to pass a law against vagrancy or pan handling. They do in other places.

If we truly want to renew our downtown, we should start with getting rid of the people yelling to themselves or passersby, and the multiple people that you always see downtown doing some form of meth ballet or crazy yoga.

Ryan Bond

The Dalles


MBGUser 4 years, 9 months ago

My first week in The Dalles, over a decade ago, I was standing downtown puzzling over an address when the "guy with the huge cart" asked me if I needed help, the first stranger in town to ever do so. What a great man... he uses his cart to clean up all the trash consumers pitch out their car windows.

I haven't met the young guitar player yet, but those who graduated from high school during the "great recession" will be suffering financially for the rest of their lives, according to experts, simply because of the year they were born. At least he's playing music instead of stealing brass plaques off tombstones.

One wonders where we should "move them on" to? Homeless reservations, perhaps? Someplace inhospitable and of little value to the upper classes, well out of sight and mind? Or should we bus them to internment camps, perhaps, with wire fencing and rocks to break with short-handled hammers?

Homelessness is not a crime, and Mr. Bond is wrong in thinking we need to exclude these people from our community. We have laws against aggressive panhandling, and our police force is well able to deal with those who create disturbances.

Mark Gibson, The Dalles


gorgedon 4 years, 9 months ago

I doubt any amount of time will cause everyone to get as fed up as you, Mr. Bond, as it appears you have quite a head start of some of us.

For the record, several years ago, the guy with the big cart discovered a wrecked car that had gone off the road in a remote area a fair distance out of town. He went down to check on the occupants, made sure they were alive & told them he would get help. He then went to the nearest house & called 911. If he hadn't come by there's a good chance the result would have been a fatality but his caring & actions saved a life.

It's easy to look at someone & decide they're bums, but it's also easy to be very wrong in doing so. Perhaps you should talk with one of them sometime to see why they're doing what they're doing instead of jumping to your own conclusions.


amie_d 4 years, 9 months ago

I've read this letter 3 times. The first time totally made my lip curl with disgust. The second time, I tried to look a little deeper for understanding. Third time I said, forget (personally edited to avoid being deleted from the comments) this, I'm responding AND I'm using this letter to teach my child the invaluable lesson of ignorance vs compassion. Classism vs community. Judgement vs tolerance. What kind of society packs up the hurt, the down, the struggling, the lost, and ships them away? And who's to say we should all live the same lifestyle? Criminal activity is one thing, homelessness is quite another. And finally, I can assure you, Ryan Bond, if everyone was practicing "crazy yoga", the world would be a much better place to LIVE.


FMNW 4 years, 9 months ago

I too have read the letter and comments a few times before I chose to respond. I too have seen a group of people pan handling right off the freeway. At first it was a lady in a wheelchair asking for money with the cardboard sign that said, disabled and hungry. I felt a little compassion for the lady who looked down on her luck. Then the VERY next day I drove by the same spot to see a man in the wheelchair and the lady walking next to him, and this time he was holding the sign. I thought, that can't be a coincidence. Then a few days later I see the SAME two people enjoying a meal at a local restaurant, not looking down on their luck at all, only to return to their freeway spot the very next day. I now feel very little compassion for people who come into our community and choose to live this lifestyle, and get paid for it.

Amie_d, you said you are using this letter to teach your child the lesson of ignorance vs. compassion. Are you also teaching your child that some people choose to live this lifestyle and are not hurt, down, struggling or lost? That they simply live off the spare change that many community members work hard for and give out of compassion, only to be taken advantage of. I'm not saying this is the case for pan handler out there, but don't be so naive to think that if we support the people coming into our town that aren't contributing members of society, they aren't going to multiply and live of the resources our town has to offer because they will.


LynnOBrien 4 years, 9 months ago

I have lived in this town for over 30 years, and I have seen a lot. Some of those people who sit out there day in and day out are doing so just because they can. Some are doing it because they're unemployed and potentially unhirable because of age, medical issues, etc. The system is so overrun with people who are milking it, those who truly need assistance aren't able to get any. And the gentleman with the cart, he does more work in one day than many people do in a week. He helps keep this city clean of garbage and debris, often because our many residents don't give a care and he does. He actually gets paid a little bit for the enormous amount that he does. So instead of complaining about something you don't like, do something about it! Talk to these people and find out a little more information. If they're a nuisance, say in front of a business, report them. Business owners have a right to request them to move on, no loitering or bothering customers. Same goes for street corners and such, especially if they're a hazard. But I daresay, we are NO WHERE near as bad as Portland. I have yet to see one of them approach anyone before they've been approached themselves. We don't know their stories, whether they're running from domestic violence to a war veteran to a runaway teen. Instead of throwing stones, be productive about it.


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