Oregon mayor to ban homeless camps on Portland streets

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon mayor plans to ban tenting on Portland streets and transfer unhoused folks to campsites designated by the town, because the rising homelessness inhabitants has develop into the highest concern for the overwhelming majority of residents.

“The magnitude and the depth of the homeless disaster in our metropolis is nothing in need of a humanitarian disaster,” Mayor Ted Wheeler stated Friday. “We have to transfer our scattered, weak homeless inhabitants nearer to the providers that they want.”

The decision would set up no less than three giant, designated out of doors tenting websites, with the primary opening inside 18 months of securing funding. Wheeler did not specify when the funding can be confirmed or how a lot the measure would price.

The designated tenting websites would initially have the ability to serve as much as 125 folks and would offer entry to providers akin to meals, hygiene, litter assortment and therapy for psychological well being and substance abuse, Wheeler stated. The websites might ultimately be scaled as much as serve 500 folks.

Oregon’s homelessness disaster has been fueled by a housing scarcity, the coronavirus pandemic and excessive drug habit charges.

Greater than 3,000 individuals are residing with out shelter in Portland, a 50% bounce from 2019, and there are greater than 700 encampments throughout the town, Wheeler stated.

The decision is one in all a number of that Wheeler plans to introduce in Metropolis Council subsequent week, aiming to deal with the town’s homelessness and reasonably priced housing crises.

Beneath the measures, social employees would direct folks tenting on the road to the town’s designated tenting websites. Police might concern citations in the event that they refuse to depart, however the citations could possibly be waived as a part of a “providers diversion program” that may enable folks cited for low-level offenses, akin to violating the tenting ban, to obtain psychological well being or substance abuse therapy as an alternative of jail time.

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“We need to steer folks in the direction of the assistance they should get off and keep off the streets. That is the purpose,” Wheeler stated.


Rush is a corps member for the Related Press/Report for America Statehouse Information Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points. Follow Rush on Twitter.