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Opinion: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wilson Bright has a plan to end homelessness in Oregon, and it is ludicrous in a hilariously concerning way.

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One of the largest issues every person running for Oregon governor this election season should and is addressing is the level of homelessness in the state. Nearly 30% of Oregonians believe this is the most important problem in Oregon today, according to an OPB survey.

 

Candidates have issued their vague promises to mend the issue, though one particular candidate has outlined a solution so duplicitous, ridiculous and erroneous that I felt it only necessary I identify the problems in this plan so fellow voters may consider the deeper roots of the homeless problem in Oregon.

Democratic candidate Wilson Bright has led his campaign by championing his plan to “End Homelessness in Oregon,” according to his website. I will be pulling all of my information about his plan directly from his own campaign website, written assumedly in his voice.

Bright plans to build three pseudo-cities on open land in Eastern Oregon. Those without housing from all over the state would be taken to these cities on scheduled shuttle buses and would only be able to leave on said buses, as well. They would be given a base meal of beans, rice and water. Those taken there would be put to work on various labor projects and incentivized by work vouchers that can only be redeemed at the stores located in town for more appetizing food options or “better accommodations.”

To preface his faulty plan, he begins with fallacy. “First, I want to say is that I believe it is morally and civically wrong for any society to knowingly subsidize and enable a person’s drug habit when they know it destroys the brain and increases the likelihood of death,” he wrote.  “Those are actually the actions that define a crime against humanity in the Oxford dictionary.”

I looked up this claim on the Oxford Reference website; I have no idea where he came up with that definition. Although, the site lists deportation or forcible transfer and slavery as examples of a crime against humanity, so let’s discuss how they play into Bright’s plan.

None of the labor the people in these cities would hypothetically do would be worth any real currency. Their work would only better the city and do nothing to give them any economic capital to pull them out of their financial hole. In essence, it traps them in a cycle of labor for mere comfortable living in a city they can’t immediately leave — a concept familiar to indentured servitude.

Bright claims the city will offer job training, but what good does that do when you allow them to leave the city to find those jobs, and they are still without housing or any means to acquire any? What is the point of ending homelessness then?

The voucher system is stated for uses of better food or “better accommodations,” like more comfortable living arrangements within the city. I will say, it is impressive how the plan would create class conflict in the already most economically disparaged group.

The site claims “it needs to be in the country because you have to get away from the drug dealers.” Some may ask why we need this elaborate plan instead of further addressing the drug dealing problem in Oregon cities, but it makes sense to me. The drug dealers in the city are ours and only ours, and no one else can have them. Everyone else should go out to the countryside and get their own drug dealers. No, this is not forced removal. The drugs made us do it.

Speaking of, the site claims they “will create and implement one of the most sophisticated and comprehensive drug treatment centers anywhere.” No, I don’t think the website needed to cite any further explanation into how that’ll happen literally anywhere else on the page. I trust it.

Bright also expects people will not be completely willing to be taken to these cities and plans to put those still camped in public areas in a 30-day isolated stay at The Homeless Jail. “The Homeless Jail” is written on the site as though it is a proper noun. Go ahead and say it aloud; it’s fun. If that isn’t absurdly hilarious enough, there is no further description of what goes on in The Homeless Jail (trademark presumably pending) except for a remark from Bright that reads, “Trust me, they won’t like it.”

To lift the veil, this is a mass-scale homeless sweep: a relocation to possibly precarious camps for almost free labor in order to stay out of the sight and mind of average citizens, all wrapped in a pretty bow of job training, solar panels and many typos. It might also be the plot to “Batman: Arkham City”, or it’s Wilson Bright wanting to play a really expensive Sims DLC. Regardless, this plan is dangerous, half-baked and misguided. Voters should more closely examine the means and motives of their chosen candidates' plans to mend the homeless issue in Oregon.

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Braydon is a columnist for the Daily Emerald opinion desk. A third-year journalism student and lifelong Duck fan, he feels a strong connection to the Eugene community and a responsibility to represent it justly through writing.