Portland, Oregon, residents are sounding the alarm on drugs, crime and homelessness in the city and say liberal policies are to blame for the dangerous decline in public safety.
U.S. military veteran Damian Bunting took to social media to highlight an alleged drug encampment being ignored outside his own front door. In a video posted on Jan. 28, Bunting demands action while standing next to a parked RV with propane tanks and open electrical wires running down the road. Across the street sits a car with “drug paraphernalia” in the front seat.
“Our government here in Portland doesn’t seem to think that that matters,” Bunting said in the video. “They’ll respond when it blows up and catches on fire.”
On “Fox & Friends First” Tuesday, Bunting said he believes the basis of the problem is a lack of accountability.
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“There seems to be an effort to absolve people of being accountable for their own success, for their own happiness, for their own well-being,” he told host Todd Piro. “And that’s having horrible results here.”
Bunting said he sees people in the community who are willing and able to make changes, but there isn’t enough momentum or widespread agreement to make it happen. As a result, he said people either put their heads down and try to get through each day or they leave.
“The people that truly would bring the most to this city and have a great option and opportunity to make this place a little bit better, unfortunately, they’re being pushed out,” he said. “They’re leaving to go to nearby cities, or they’re leaving to go to other states altogether.”
Angela Todd, a Portland resident who runs the @pdx.real Instagram account that featured Bunting’s story, said the government is only feeding the problems, and the community is suffering as a result.
Todd claimed Portland has become a “drug destination.”
“If you want to be fed, get free needles, be able to camp wherever you want and be able to use drugs with immunity – and frankly, if you commit a crime in the process, you probably are not going to be prosecuted,” she said.
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Todd has been an outspoken critic of the fentanyl crisis in Portland. She claimed that people are using food stamps to buy plastic bottles, then recycling those bottles and collecting the cash to buy drugs.
“People are not using their food debit cards to help for survival skills or diapers or to make ends meet,” Todd said on Feb. 14. “They’re cashing them in for drugs. It’s really, it’s very sad… The taxpayer dollars are being wasted, and you understand that we’re in a situation where we have record overdoses and the state is turning a blind eye to this. This is really awful to allow this to go on.”
Todd said the issues within the government are so widespread that they can’t be fixed by voting alone. The community will need to collectively and consistently push back against the policies, she said.
Bunting echoed Todd’s concerns and said the city’s current approach to the drug crisis – decriminalization – does not work. He said people who don’t do drugs end up suffering from the policies as well.
“Just take a look at what’s happened here. It’s absolutely atrocious,” Bunting said.
“And it’s reprehensible that not only the government, but the people would vote for this, because it has caused so much more destruction and damage in the periphery.”
Fox News’ Bailee Hill contributed to this report.