Photo by Mischa Webley

Jason Jones, Acting Sergeant, Central Precinct, Portland Police Bureau 

“Law enforcement is only one aspect of what we do. We’re the fingertips of government. We’re also social service providers, and we are public safety. We’re a tool for the community and we have to problem solve together, build relationships with diverse groups and figure out how we can partner with one another to solve complicated problems. 

The issue of houselessness is not one-dimensional. It’s very complicated and it’s very different for different people. If you go out there and ask 10 or 15 people on the street, you’ll get 10 or 15 different stories. Every solution is going to look a little different, and that’s what makes this issue so difficult. We can’t broadbush paint this thing. 

“any solution that’s crafted has to involve those who are affected.”

People who are unhoused are human beings. We as a society tend to objectify and forget they’re human beings with feelings and with rights, dignity and respect. We cannot forget that. As such, any solution that’s crafted has to involve those who are affected. 

It feels like the boat is moving further from shore. We have a lot of programs out there but a lot of them aren’t synergizing and working well together. Our resources need to collaborate better, streamline together so we’re not duplicating efforts, not competing, but cooperating. We need a vision that puts all of this together which unites all of these strategies and gets us all together in the same direction.” 

— Interview by Mischa Webley, NECN Staff Writer