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Sunday, May 18, 2008

News Waiting For Obama: A Tragedy in Several Scenes…

Posted by Matt Davis on Sun, May 18 at 1:04 PM

SCENE 1. Mercury News Room, Friday, 3:30pm.

AMY: Are you going to Obama on Sunday?
MATT: Oh, yeah, definitely. I didn’t get press clearance, though…I thought I’d just stand in the crowd and ask people why they’re there…
AMY: Sounds great.
MATT: There is nothing whatsoever that could go wrong with this plan.
AMY: …

SCENE 2. Matt’s chi-chi apartment on the Park Blocks, Sunday, 12:30pm.

MATT’s internal dialog: I’ll just walk on down to the Waterfront now, and see who’s around. Here I am, walking out the front door, ready to mosey on down there…doop de doop, Sundays are really relaxing days…just check my reflection there…nice…WHAT. THE…
MATT: Hey, lady, get out of my way.
LADY: If you want to get in line, it’s that way. (points up the road, towards the art museum)
MATT: What?
LADY: The line. For Barack Obama. It starts back there…
MATT’s internal dialog: I am an idiot.

Tune in for the next act, shortly. I doubt very much whether I’m going to get in to see Mr.Obama, but I have considered going to Safeway, buying a load of water and selling it to the people in line for $3 a pop. Since the majority of people are probably going to be lining up for most of the afternoon, I’ll go down there and ask them how it feels. Then I will craft the whole thing into a Beckettian scene for your enjoyment. No no, don’t thank me…shall we go? Let’s go…[waits]parkblocks.jpg
LINE FOR OBAMA: Stretches past my house from the Waterfront…


shall we go? Letís goÖ

"They do not move."

get down there and give out some water man!
people are bound to be hot

luckily i dislike both obama and the decemberists

The Mercury USED to be such an interesting read - these days it's just an Obama circle jerk. Ran out of topics hmm?

"chi chi apartment"? You know damn well your condo was the home of 58 low income or HUD assisted elderly people who were forced to move when the Roosevelt Plaza Apartments gentrified in 2004. Your hypocrisy is despicable; You two are as guilty of gentrification as the people you point your finger at in the stories you write each week. Have you ever researched what happened to the people who lived in the Roosevelt before you? They were evicted with just 30 days notice after some had spent years, even whole decades there. Most ended up in Central City Concern housing, including the horrid Civic Apartments and the Estate Hotel buildings. The average age of the tenants were 62 and many suffered from mental or health issues. I only know all of this because I was a Portland social worker while these people were being evicted, and I helped find them housing in time to make way for the new tenants: cashmere wearing, Flexicar driving, golf club swinging downtown condo buyers like yourself. Before your granite countertops, new fixtures, polished hardwoods, and a $20 per plate restaurant on the ground floor there were homeless people living in each Salmon Street doorway every single night. The lot behind your building was a regular home to several more who we often brought meals to in the evenings. There were always several shopping carts with tarps pulled across them in that parking lot and the previous building owner didn't mind. That all ended when the tenants were kicked out, the liquor store became a film school, and all 58 people lost a centrally located home with a nice view of the park so that the area could "improve"; so some tax paying, educated, young white hipsters could move in and make the place "chi chi" instead. Just like what's happening in Old Town, under the Burnside Bridge, and in Northeast right now. Enjoy that view.

Oh snap!

Sara, it is laughable--no, it's extremely sad that you think having disabled homeless residents of our city sleeping in a doorway next to the liquor store was ever a positive situation for anyone--or that you would prefer it to having those people find help at Central City Concern.

Thanks for commenting, Sara. But I will be making no apologies here for my lifestyle.

I wouldn't expect you to, Matt. Keep writing about the plight of the homeless, though; fighting every day in front of City Hall for the right to sleep outside at night without being harassed. Rant and rave about how unfair the sit-lie law is to them. Mention Sisters of the Road, Patrick Nolan, and Street Roots every chance you can to show your solidarity with their movement. Help make a film about what it's like to be homeless. Mention how "broken" Portland is due to the gentrification that's occurring one block at a time, pushing the low and no income people further and further out of downtown. Then go back to that condo of yours, the one that overlooks the park people used to sleep in each night. Slept there until local condo owners and museum patrons met with Potter to set up a 9 PM park curfew that's still in effect today, anyway. All so hard working, well-paid people like yourself wouldn't have to be bothered by them anymore. Like I said: your hypocrisy is despicable.

And "Sara's brain" - re-read the comment. I doubt anyone who lived in Matt's doorway found housing at CCC, only those that used to live within the building itself. Living outside is not a "positive" thing at all, but like every single activist in front of City Hall will tell you: It's what they prefer and they want the right to do it. Matt agrees with them, but makes no apologies for his "chi chi" lifestyle" being part of the cause of their plight. I just don't know how anyone could take him seriously, that's all.

You're right, Sara. Anyone who writes about homelessness should be required to become homeless himself. Living in a condo--or in any kind of housing--is total hypocrisy.

Does the same rule apply to social workers?

You argue like a 12 year old, SCG. That's not what she said at all and what you wrote doesn't even make any sense. She's saying that Matt buying a home that displaced the same people whose causes he's trying to champion leaves him sounding like a complete idiot. I think he knows it and feels a little guilty about it too, which is why he used the word "apartment" in his post instead of "condo".

Matt, I won't make any apologies for not respecting you for what you write anymore.

I don't feel guilty about living where I do. And I don't think it's inconsistent with my positions on important issues like housing and homelessness. Also: I like to eat foie gras. And I'm not sorry about that, either.

Holy shit I cant believe you live at the Roosevelt. Jim Chasse and Tim Kelly used to sit out front there playing guitar and singing. I slept back in the parking lot sara talked about for a long time and we had everything right there. the library was down the street and outside was just up the hill. i didnt know you were such an arrogant Prick Matt!

Way to change the subject. You sound like a Republican, for chrissake. I doubt I'll ever read another one of your stories about the homeless without thinking you're just using them to pay for that fancy lifestyle you're so proud of. You truly are a complete asshole.

I don't think I've ever denied that, catwoman. But my conviction on these issues is as strong as anyone else's, and I refuse to live like a depressed pauper just because I happen to believe in such people's rights.

obviously the only solution is for matt to stop writing about homelessness and start writing about granite countertops and cashmir.

Even more proof that Matt Davis sucks. Matt has sucked since day one. England wants their idiot back. Perhaps you could champion some issues back home.

You know what sucks even more? A writer running away from this conversation and whining about it on his personal blog, http://mattdavisopenshismouth.com/
But wait, he might delete it like he sometimes does when he disparages anyone who might have an opinion different than his own, so I'll copy some of his drivel for you.
"In fact, Iíll go further than that. I fucking love our apartment and living where we do, and I donít give a flying fuck about who lived there first. Iím not going to be held responsible for gentrification, nor am I willing to be vilified for taking advantage of it. Fuck you, social worker lady. Fuck you. Fuck you. And fuck you. Furthermore, fuck you. As for cleaning up the parking lot with the tarps draped over it, and getting those poor gentrified people into housing, Iím really, truly at a loss to see why thatís a problem. But yeah, fuck you. Youíve made me so angry. I hate you. Youíre an idiot. Etcetera."
Nice job there Matt. Now perhaps your pathetic little click will all chime in purporting how witty and wonderful you are.

WOW! What a douche bag move that was Mr. Davis.

Sounds like someone had a little internet temper tantrum.

Seriously you people need to back the fuck up.

I'm so sick of people assuaging their liberal guilt by attacking other people. Guess what? Gentrification happens.

I challenge any one of you (social worker bitch bag included) to provide any sort of credible evidence that you have done any where near as much good for the cause of homelessness as Matt.

What? You can't?


There there angry little Dane, run to Matt's side little squire, run to his side.

I hate cowards.

At least have the courage to stand behind your opinions by using your name.

Hey Dane - she's not arguing that Matt isn't doing good things for the homeless. She's saying he's a hypocrite. I don't think it has anything to do with "liberal guilt", though; she's just pointing out the obvious. Matt writes about the gentrification of Old Town being a bad thing, that it displaces the poor, and that the homeless have less and less places to go because of it. What he doesn't mention is that gentrification really isn't a bad thing after all, but only if it makes his own life better. That's hypocrisy.

He's twisted the argument around, saying things like "You can't live nice and write about poor people" and "I refuse to live like a depressed pauper just because I happen to believe in such peopleís rights" even though that's not what people are accusing him of at all. No one ever said that the people who write about the poor can't live a life of decadence, even if that's what Matt thinks they're saying about him. The problem is with the particular condo he bought; of all the little one bedroom condos in the downtown Portland area that are available in the $200-$230K range, he has to buy one that displaced the very same people he's always writing sympathy-gathering pieces about. The fact that he has no guilt over it whatsoever is troubling, especially considering how vehemently he argues that people SHOULD feel guilty for this exact kind of behavior. Do as I say, not as I do.

The fact is "dane" that my name could be James, Tom, Mark, Mike, Larry, Tyrell or any number of things that could be true or untrue and you would never know.

Oh no! He knows my first name that's shared by shit-tons of people in Portland. I've proven my manhood now! Yay!

Eric--So this would all be okay in your mind if Matt would admit that he feels guilty about it? What is the point of that? That building was converted in 2001 and it's a real stretch to say that a person who lives in it almost 8 years later is a direct cause of displacement, or had anything to do with displacement, or supports displacement. If you believe in that line of reasoning, then you and everyone you know should move back to Europe.

You're still not making any sense, SCG. The building converted in mid-2004, not 2001. Matt had to be aware of all the controversy surrounding the eviction of it's tenants - it was covered in both the WW and the Oregonian at the time. He would have been one of the original tenants after the units first went on sale. So yes: Matt is in fact a direct cause of those people's displacement and would probably feel guilty about it if he had a conscience. Also, he needs some smarter cheerleaders.

Eric - What exactly constitutes a "life of decadence" to you? You guys have no idea how Matt lives, and therefore and are in no position to pass judgment on him.

Why don't all of you write in and tell us where you live, instead of hiding out and throwing rocks.

It seems that there is a whole contingent of you out there who seek to vilify Matt for displaying the same sort of unwavering individualism you would cite as the source of inspiration for the hand-knitted-vegan-bicycle-messger-bag-cozies that you sell at your Etsy store... or whatever it is that you do that gives you this perceived moral high-ground from which you can set the world right, one blog comment at a time.

Is what Matt is doing any different than you enjoying the immeasurable luxury of being able to sit down with your laptop and latte and participate in a somewhat trivial debate from the comfort of your local neighborhood Stumptown (which may have been a place where homeless people lived 50 years ago)?

Yes, Matt dislikes gentrification. Yes, Matt lives in apartment that was renovated almost a decade ago. Does that somehow make him responsible for these actions, of course not. Your logic is tragically flawed my friend.

George - It has nothing to do with knowing your name or making some attempt at identifying you. It just tells me that you are ashamed of what you believe, which makes you a coward.


Smarter cheerleader is an oxymoron.


Ashamed of what I believe? Wow. Your reading comprehension skills are in the toilet.

What I did "dane" was make a second grade comment about you running to Matt's side that set you off. No opinions about it, no beliefs about it. It was aimed to piss you off, and apparently it worked.

wow. how quickly blogtown devolves into craigslist rants and raves! i love how rabid matt's supporters sound.

I'm not rabid, I just hate self-righteous douchebags.

It's funny to how no one here can actually argue against the fact that Matt HELPS the homeless on a daily basis. Not one of you actually want to argue a REAL issue here, you'd just rather take cheap shots at those of us who are actually making an argument.

And Matt's detractors sound, what?

Level headed?

I don't think so.

They sound like they ride very, very tall horses.

Tall horses, indeed. I sure hope they don't hold their homeless clients to the same nonsensical standards and attack them for eating non-organic food or wearing used clothes from the Gap.

Jeff, I think we're all happy to let you feel guilty on Matt's behalf. You can add it to all the things you feel guilty about but don't actually try to change. But if I ever find out where you live and it's more than a cardboard box...

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