WTF Portland?

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

That’s the name of a Twitter feed I discovered while roaming the feeds. Its sole purpose is to show you what has happened to Portland since its implosion over the past few years.


It’s impossible to convey how bizarre this is. Portland for decades was portrayed as a liberal paradise. It literally was the place that all the advocates of urban planning and “diversity is our strength” zealots pointed to as the place where liberalism proved that it truly was better at running things.

When we had our light rail battles here in the Twin Cities Portland always came up as the city that proved that rail made things better. But as in Portland, light rail has become a crime magnet and the roving home of drug-addled homeless bums. Overdoses are a daily occurrence.

I visited Portland to see what worked and what didn’t, about 25 years ago. It seemed nice enough. My brother-in-law lived in Portland for decades and thought it was paradise until he was forced out by the decline. He moved across the river to Washington about 45 minutes away from the city and rarely visits anymore. He had resources, so he left the city behind.

Conservatives now point to Portland as a warning, and we are right to do so. But I don’t think most of us grasp just how awful the place has become. It’s one thing to read about store closings–the REI that my nephew worked at for a few years is closing, despite being in a tony part of town–and it’s another to actually see what has happened to the city.

That’s where WTF Portland opened my eyes.

The scenes truly are harrowing, and put anything you might hear about New York City to shame. The sheer degradation of a once beautiful city actually makes me very sad. It’s one thing to be able to say “I told you so,” but it’s another to be confronted with the sheer human misery that pervades the city.


The jolt of pleasure one gets from being proven right pales in comparison to the sadness that the reality of having been proven right means that people are living–and dying–like this. No amount of schadenfreude compensates for having to witness so much human depravity and degradation.

The city has become lawless, literally. Police are busy administering Narcan to drug addicts and handing out $100 tickets for smoking fentanyl in public. In the video above you see a cop actually feeling sad that an addict has moved on from meth to fentanyl.

Imagine living in a world where your life is better when you only do meth.

The sheer scale of the disaster is difficult to comprehend. I grew up with Detroit being a hollowed-out mess, so I can’t get upset when everybody tells me to stay away from even the border of the city. I actually drove to 8 Mile Road once, where the suburbs are on one side of the street and the city on the other, and you could see how civilization turns to savagery in 100 feet.

Oh well, I guess they were right. Avoid Detroit.

But Portland is different. Even though it was never my Mecca, I understood why liberals loved it. The vibe was nice enough, if not my thing. The people were quirky and happy, and the coffee was nice. It was easy to make fun of, but you did so with a twinge of envy about the nicer parts of the city.

That city is gone, never to return. Portland is a slum. It is a crime-ridden, trash-strewn, drug-infested slum. Honestly, it looks like they should take off and nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.


Keep walking sand oon you can hop on Portland’s famous light rail line and get a view of the destruction elsewhere in the city.

The city looks like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie set, only it is real.

Most third-world cities aren’t this bad, at least not in downtown, and there isn’t much to Portland besides the heart of the city. It’s not Detroit, San Francisco, L.A., or New York. It is of a middling size and simply shouldn’t look like this in any rational world. There’s not enough room for a bad part of town.

This is not exactly the paradise that we had been promised after the Summer of Love broke out in 2020. During the Antifa riots the mayor, who had gone soft on the rioters, finally got fed up and started criticizing them. They responded exactly as you would expect, as did he.

They attacked his condo building and he fled like a coward, leaving his neighbors to suffer the wrath of the rioters.


Rather than dealing with the protesters in a rational way, the Portland government gave in, apparently believing they had a point about how the predominately White city was oppressing everybody:


It was a chaotic and electric time, one that offered identity to those engaged in the fight, a fight that came to be identified with the city itself, and not without cause. Mayor Ted Wheeler had instructed police not to arrest people in the act of protesting. Newly elected DA Mike Schmidt declined to prosecute 92% of those who were arrested. The Gun Reduction Task Force was disbanded, amid claims it targeted communities of color. And activists demanded the police be defunded by $50 million, nearly a quarter of the annual budget. (The city council responded by cutting $15 million.)

The once idyllic city has descended into chaos, and all the happy talk from 2020 has led to this. Rather than affirming the rule of law and the norms of civilization, the leaders of Oregon and Portland decided to cede the city to the savages, and the savages accepted the invitation and moved in to build their version of society.

It’s gotten to the point where getting a decent cup of coffee is becoming difficult, which is something of a religious rite in the Pacific Northwest. When a once-popular coffee shop can’t survive in downtown Portland the apocalypse has truly arrived.


Portland has had problems with protesters for a long time, but the 2020 George Floyd riots are what broke the city. Currently, Portland has about half the number of police officers they need to be fully staffed, and it will take years to get there if at all. In an interview last month Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell discussed crime in the city and said this:

Let’s take a look at staffing. How many officers do you have now, and how many would you like to have?

Right now, today, we have 801 sworn members, so that’s police officers all the way up to the chief. Police officers in the rank of officer, we have about 544. Ideally — if you said I could have any number — I would say around 1,100 would be a really good number. 

That would allow us to have things like a burglary task force, an auto theft task force, rebuild our traffic division, our narcotics unit, and things that I think really address some of the needs that Portlanders are facing today.

I read a Substack article by journalist Nancy Rommelmann called  “Coffee with a Cop.” It was saddening to me. I will excerpt a bit, but read it all at your leisure.

Two days after George Floyd was killed, the peaceful protests in Portland, Oregon turned violent. First target: Justice Center, the police station and holding facility downtown. Several hundred demonstrators broke in, trashed the place, set a fire. I wrote about a police employee trapped in the basement while checking in prisoners, and later asked a young couple dressed in black bloc whether they thought imperiling people in a burning building was the right thing to do.

“Do you believe that property is worth more than human lives?” asked the boy.

“Do you believe the police should be allowed to murder people?” asked the girl. “The entire police force is built on systemic racism. On keeping black people down.”

Okay, I told them, but many people inside the building were black…

“We’ve tried for 20 years to do it another way,” said the boy, who was maybe 22. “Nothing changes except with violence.”

After the federal forces that Trump sent to the city on July 4, 2020 vamoosed, the police reassumed the status of public enemy #1. “All Cops Are Bastards!” was chanted an uncountable number of times. The city’s bridges were tagged with SHOOT ‘EM LIKE PIGS, FRY ‘EM LIKE BACON. I filmed protesters squeezing little rubber pigs in cops’ faces while shouting, “Quit your job!” and “Kill yourself!”


There was a time when even liberals could joke about how precious and moralistic the Portland lefties were. They competed with San Francisco for looniness, but in a way that was alright. The city worked, mostly, and while they annoyingly reveled in their virtue signaling, they had a point about the nicer aspects of Portland. It was a bit grungy but had character.

It still has character, but of a different sort, and not one that any sane person could make fun of. It’s easy enough to gloat about how far things went off the rails, just as we predicted they would. But that ignores the human cost, and in a fundamental way is no different than shrugging one’s shoulders at people who have learned to regret that the promises of the transgender ideology were lies.

Some things go beyond FAFO.

There are real victims of the insane policies implemented by the Leftists who run this city. While it is true that many people voted for this, it’s also true that most people had no idea where this would all lead. After all, the very people who created the mess were also in charge when Portland seemed like a Mecca, at least as a class. During their leadership, the fraying of the culture had already begun, but nobody expected the people in charge to actually do what they promised and give in to the anarchists.

Children still grow up in Portland. And not everybody can easily pack up and leave. The wealthier people whose leftism allowed the powers that be to experiment on the middle class can make the move and destroy some other city, but they leave behind the hundreds of thousands who aren’t as mobile.

This is where Leftism leads. It promises the Mecca that Portland once was, but it inevitably leads to the misery and despair that Portland now breeds.


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