Portland Officials Restrict Homeless Camping: The idea to prohibit homeless people from sleeping outside and to build big shelters funded by the government has been approved by the city officials of Portland. Leonard Parker November 3, 2022.
Coverage of Portland’s New Restrictions on Homeless Camping
Portland lawmakers passed a contentious plan Thursday to outlaw unsanctioned camping amid a homeless crisis.
The idea would construct six big city-approved camping areas, develop 20,000 affordable housing units, and ban unsanctioned street camping. After Commissioner Carmen Rubio’s amendment, the council agreed to set the camp size at 250 instead of 500.
The contentious idea would compel all street dwellers to transfer to shelters. Critics, including homeless service providers and advocates, say the resolutions criminalize homelessness. Supporters hail the idea as an essential move to clean up the city, assuming the city can build enough shelters to rid the streets of tents.
Ted Wheeler and Dan Ryan created the proposal. Ryan manages Portland’s housing office. Rubio and Mapps voted yes on all five resolutions. Jo Ann Hardesty voted against various resolutions.
Hardesty, who faces reelection next week against a candidate who wants a stricter approach to camping, voted no on the motion to outlaw it, the most controversial aspect of the package. “Cruel and inhumane,” she said.
“Many people told me voting yes on this resolution would be politically savvy. “I could do it easily,” she remarked. “But suggesting we’ll miraculously end street camping in 18 months isn’t realistic.” These resolutions contain no code modifications, or financial, land, or jurisdictional agreements.
Both refuge and housing will be costly. The municipal budget office claimed city-sanctioned camping sites might cost $3 million to $6.8 million annually if only three camps servicing 150 people were created. Affordable housing might cost $9.8 billion, according to city budget writers.
Today, my colleagues on City Council and I passed five resolutions aimed at fast-tracking construction of affordable housing and moving homeless Portlanders closer to services.
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) November 4, 2022
The concept requires cooperation with Metro, state authorities, and the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners. It’s uncertain if the council will acquire the money and assistance it needs from other organizations to realize its objectives. Multnomah County and Metro leaders say they support the mayor’s aims of ending the homeless epidemic but haven’t committed any funds.
Wheeler said Thursday he believed the package would compel regional leaders to work together.
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We need a strong mental health safety net, he added. “I hope this dialogue brings it to the forefront, where it should have been years ago.”
A Greater Number of Tiny Camps
Thursday’s session allowed council members to amend the proposal after 200 individuals spoke last week. Portlanders were divided after seven hours of public testimony. Hardesty and Rubio made Thursday’s biggest alterations. The council voted to make Rubio’s camps smaller. Instead of three 500-person camps, Rubio proposed six 250-person camps. Homeless assistance providers fear that 500-person shelters might become hazardous.
“I aim to make it very apparent that we appreciate and hear size concerns,” Rubio added. Wheeler voted against the adjustment because he wanted to “keep the original proposal’s flexibility.”
Hardesty made 10 changes. Some of her requests, such as requiring camps larger than 150 to acquire council approval and building new shelters within six months of getting funds, were not supported. Other adjustments, including her desire that the camps be scattered equitably across Portland and have disabled-accessible amenities, were included.
Her modifications included a swipe at Ryan, who opposes constructing huge homeless camps. As she suggested an adjustment to camp size, she read an email Ryan made to Wheeler on Oct. 7, 2021, expressing “severe concerns” about high-population outdoor camping zones.
Ryan’s email was a response to a document from former Mayor Sam Adams, who proposed building three 1,000-person homeless shelters. “How could you change so much in a year, commissioner?” She questioned her council colleague Ryan. “This was a thoughtful debate with a meaningful strategy that encompassed many stakeholders and services. So we’re in a different place now,” he said.
Fears of Missing Important Details Because of Rush
Oregon ACLU and the homeless advocacy group wanted to delay voting. Thursday, the ACLU informed the municipal council the concept may be unconstitutional.
Unless they have adequate shelter beds, municipalities can’t limit unauthorized camping. By constructing enough shelter beds, city officials hope to escape the rule.
The ACLU warned the council Thursday that they may violate Martin v. Boise, Idaho. The group accused local officials of preferring business and real estate voices over Oregonians and the homeless, breaching the First Amendment.
Last week’s testimony order is challenged. At the start of the seven-hour council session, Ryan asked Realtors and brokers to support the legislation, but he didn’t make it clear they were welcome. It’s typically clear when commissioners bring someone to the council to debate pending resolutions.
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Street Roots’ Kaia Sand said the practice was risky for homeless people. Money buys entry. Sand requested the council to delay the vote so homeless Portlanders could comment. Others, like Jason Bolt of Portland’s Revant Optics, pushed for speed. The settlement was meant to promote corporate safety.
Chop shops, RVs, and tents block his employees’ paths. He said city lawmakers ignore his complaints and officers don’t help him. If the camp wasn’t settled in a month, he’d depart Portland. Safety is an issue. …. Clarify. “We’re not against them” Is Maslow’s hierarchy important? Safety prevents creativity.
Hardesty informed him 30 days won’t address his problems. Bolt concurred. “I enjoyed our conversation.”