Portland firms report trouble hiring recruits because of the city’s reputation for riots, boarded up businesses and pods of homeless encampments ringed with garbage.

We think these signs of struggle are temporary and close to the surface. In Portland, common sense and compassion run deep. But that does not mean Portlanders of good will should sit still now. Here are three proposals.

First, instead of complaining about the racial justice movement and its unauthorized riotous offshoots, we should help seek real solutions. Deep in our Catholic tradition is the notion of human dignity. We urge Catholics to study and then act to support fair policy for all in housing, employment, health care and education. We urge dialogue between white Catholics and Catholics of color. Pope Paul VI said it best in 1972: “If you want peace, work for justice.”

Second, we must support agencies like Catholic Charities of Oregon, Blanchet House and St. Vincent de Paul in their effort to house people who are homeless. There is Portland innovation afoot with tiny houses and life-sustaining services that keep people housed long term.

Third, we urge city, county and religious leaders to arrange for safe cleanup of refuse at homeless camps. This will be tricky, of course, as one person’s garbage is another person’s possessions. Also, there may be some hazardous trash. But who better than churches, rooted deep in their neighborhoods, to provide muscle for picking up garbage and cheerfully meeting homeless people at the same time? Weekend sessions, modeled on famous Oregon beach cleanups, could be overseen by government officials with knowhow. Church and state would again cooperate for the common good. That’s the Portland we know and love.