PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland leaders are working to find places for the homeless to camp other than on city streets.
City officials told KOIN 6 News they are moving forward with plans to expand and establish organized camps on designated city properties to deter people from living on city sidewalks or along roadways.
“We haven’t made a clear decision yet on the size and focus but they will be throughout the city — this is a citywide challenge,” said Portland City Commissioner Dan Ryan.
The city plans to open six outdoor camping villages by the end of 2021 to house hundreds of people. The undertaking will include designated areas where people can park and sleep in their vehicles, as well as security, showers and other services. Ryan has asked city bureaus to provide a list of available properties to review by the end of June.
“What I’ve noticed from neighbors I’ve had communication with and other stakeholders is that they are ready to welcome and be included in the building and operations of these villages, they’d rather see a safe rest village than the unregulated camps in their neighborhoods at this time,” said Ryan.
Officials are also ramping up efforts to physically block people from camping on sidewalks by using architecture like steel planters. Private property owners can place them in the space between the curb and the part of the sidewalk where you can pass by without having to obtain a permit.
These developments come on the heels of the Ladies Professional Golf Association moving its annual tournament from its typical location at the Columbia Edgewater Country Club on Marine Drive in Northeast Portland. Event organizers cited safety concerns with the area due to homeless camps in the area. The tournament will instead be held at the Oregon Golf Club in West Linn.