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Mailbag: City pays police to punish unhoused

Mailbag: City pays police to punish unhoused

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Mayor Traber and city councilors,

I’m writing to you today urging you to use your positions to allocate our community’s tax dollars away from police sweeping our houseless neighbors’ residences, and toward accessible community resources that facilitate every community member’s maintaining safe, affordable housing.

In December 2020, amidst the holiday season, Corvallis community members and I raised $7,000 and volunteered to support the unhoused residents of Pioneer Park in response to a park sweep.

Pioneer Park once was a place where Corvallis’ houseless people could support each other, and now, because of the sweep, that support network is gone. Police did not protect and serve these residents; instead they passed out fliers about our Gofundme without our consent, otherwise evicting my neighbors without help or remorse.

Instead of allocating funding toward directly providing houseless residents with essential resources, the city pays police with my tax dollars to routinely punish and displace them for their systemic vulnerability. This is unacceptable. These sweeps aren’t disappearing the city’s institutional complicity in the houselessness epidemic; they are only disappearing our own community members from places where they can find relative safety from the cruel realities of poverty.

This is a direct result of the city’s prioritizing funding law enforcement and carceral punishment over providing essential resources such as health care, addiction treatment, rent control, food and housing security, and unarmed crisis mediation to our community, so shifting funding directly toward these resources is the only viable solution to treating this issue at its root.

Tali Ilkovitch




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