Portland, Oregon, is a haven for bookshops, craft beer and coffee lovers; a hipster paradise. After years of shouting loud about its liberal approach to drugs and homelessness, it’s also, as the NYT reports, struggling with entrenched tent communities, high housing costs pushed higher by affluent transplants from other US cities and violence triggered by an undercurrent of increased fentanyl use. In 2020, after some of the worst battles between law enforcement and police in the country in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Oregonians took the radical step of decriminalising possession of small amounts of hard drugs – but the highly-addictive fentanyl has changed the game. There are over 2,000 reader comments on the NYT article and many criticise the path progressive politics has taken in the city, Democrats in Portland included. To keep in mind: last week’s Sensemaker on the potential for synthetic opioids to flood Europe.
Photograph Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA/ Alamy