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Portland Hopes To Curb The Growth In The Number Of Panhandlers By Paying Them To Clean City Parks

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Getty Images

A new proposal in the city of Portland would pay panhandlers and the homeless competitive wages to perform odd jobs, including cleaning city parks. 

In just the last 5 years, the city of Portland has seen a shocking growth in the number of panhandlers throughout its city streets. For many locals, panhandlers used to simply live at specific busy intersections, or scattered throughout the Old Port on busy weekend nights. But a lot has changed and now the city of Portland has an answer: Pay the panhandlers.

According to the Portland Press Herald, a new proposal is being put together that would pay homeless people to work, specifically doing odd jobs and cleaning city parks. The city would offer a wage of $10.68 per hour to perform these tasks, and would offer transportation to and from the work sites on a daily basis. The idea would be to curb a growth in panhandling, specifically in the summer when tourism is at its peak, but also to help some of the panhandlers earn tangible money to get back on their feet.

Portland believes that this may finally be the answer to the frustration that many businesses and residents have expressed over the increase in panhandling. Portland tried to enact an ordinance in 2013 that prohibited panhandling in medians, but that was challenged in court and eventually overturned. Portland now will try a new approach.

So what do you think? Is this new program a benefit to the city, panhandlers as well as residents/businesses?

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