Lib Rocker Mellencamp Protests Portland’s Homeless Crisis

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John Mellencamp has had enough.

The “Small Town” crooner roasts Portland’s homelessness crisis in a new song called “The Eyes of Portland.”

Mellencamp, 71, is a rock-ribbed liberal who routinely assails the GOP. He steadfastly refuses to let Republicans use his song catalogue for their events, including war hero Sen. John McCain in 2008.

He raged against President George W. Bush during the leader’s two terms in office and has publicly called himself a “socialist.”

The rocker still had to speak up about what everyone with functioning senses sees in Portland.

Poverty. Drugs. Shattered lives. Fear. Crime. And it all spills into the city’s self-inflicted homelessness woes.

“As I saw through the eyes of Portland one day/ There were so many homeless, they’d all gone astray/ They slept on the corners during the day/ As not to be harmed when the sun went away.”

John Mellencamp, “The Eyes of Portland”

Mellencamp is letting his song speak for him, at least at the moment. Will he connect Portland’s woes to the city’s far-Left management?

Can he admit that what’s happening in the progressive utopia is seen in other Democrat-run cities like New York, Denver and, gasp, San Francisco where they need fecal maps to navigate the once-beautiful city?

The song certainly struck a nerve over at The news hub blasted Mellencamp and his song, suggesting that for all its woes Portland may be the best big city in the country.

Who says comedy is dead in 2023?

Sure, there may be a few homeless people in Portland, but that’s happening in other cities, too. Why single out the Mecca of Weird, the article defensively cries.

And it’s not alone.

Portland Monthly dismissed the song as “terrible” and mocked it for being shot in New York and L.A. (Maybe it was too dangerous to shoot in Portland?)

Mellencamp doesn’t wield enough cultural heft to brand Portland, but we don’t appreciate him furthering the faux messaging that Portland is a wasteland. The ignorance is not accidental: he’s been here, and in fact performed the song at Keller Auditorium in March. So he knows that the place he’s reducing to anguished despondency is in fact a colorful city of music and festivals and greenery.

Portland Monthly

Except critics says local officials are directly making the problem worse for the remaining citizens – locals are fleeing the city.

Kevin Dahlgren, a drug counselor with 27 years of experience in social services, argued the city is taking a “Band-Aid” approach to a spiraling crisis by incentivizing homeless people to sleep on the streets. 

“When you’re not actually helping the permanent solutions, the old homeless stay there and the new homeless come in and everything just grows,” he said. 

Fox News

The Daily Mail said even the city’s far-Left leaders are starting to panic.

Local authorities in Oregon are also considering calling in the National Guard to help with Portland’s homeless issue – while residents reveal they now no longer walk in certain areas because of the drug and encampment problem.

Daily Mail

The only question remaining? Why aren’t more singers protesting this travesty with their art? Mellencamp, regardless of his political leanings, deserves credit for doing just that even though he’ll get shamed by Portland-based defenders and, likely, his fellow liberals who would rather he pipe down than expose their leaders’ handiwork.

If more artists do, will the Biden era become a golden age for protest songs? There’s no lack of material, from the cratering economy, soaring inflation, censorship run amok and more.

If so, they can follow folks like Mellencamp and Five Times August. The latter, the stage name of Brad Skistimas, broke through in a big way via protest songs skewering the pandemic lockdowns and their unofficial leader.

Written by Christian Toto

Christian Toto is an award-winning film critic, journalist and founder of, the Right Take on Entertainment. He’s the author of “Virtue Bombs: How Hollywood Got Woke and Lost Its Soul” and a lifelong Yankees fan. Toto lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, two sons and too many chickens.

Follow Christian on Twitter at


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