recently, after much debate and financial and political wrangling, the city demolished some of the old houses at the far end of main street in an attempt to create ‘a blight-free zone, a welcoming gateway to our city.’
this project and the demo crew doing the work were met with mixed reactions:
- a rotary club member stopped to applaud them and told them it was gratifying to see them going down. it was becoming ‘his kind of neighborhood.’
- 3 homeless people shared their memories of squatting in the houses with the crew.
“I used to sleep in the one on the end. It was called the Dirty Squat,” said a man who identified himself only as Pig Pen, a self-described train hopper and hitchhiker. He said they sleep out in the woods now, but at different points each of them stayed in the houses being demolished.
“That was the one I stayed in last year,” said a man who goes by the name Pooh, pointing to another of the houses. “I met my fiancee and we stayed in that one for two weeks.”
Karma, a local who was with Pig Pen and Pooh, said she had a bad incident occur in one of the houses and she’s not sad to see that one go, but she lamented the loss of the rest.
“My personal opinion is they should really keep these,” she said. “If they’re condemned and about to collapse like the one on the end is, yeah, probably tear them down. But if they’re perfectly good and could be fixed up to live in, they should donate it to the city.”
Karma said it seems like the options for homeless people who prefer not to stay at the homeless shelters are becoming fewer.
“I don’t know what they’re doing right now, but it seems like they’re trying to clean up the whole town and they’re clearing people out from underneath the bridges, all the parks, and they’re getting rid of every place for the people who have no place to go,” she said. “It’s a problem.”
the mayor and police chief could not immediately be reached for comment. luckily pigpen, pooh and karma, were available for comment.
Where thou art, that is home.