PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Leaders from Portland’s six core neighborhoods got together to talk about some the impacts of homelessness and crime on the residents and businesses in those communities.

A survey of tents presented Thursday night also showed which neighborhoods are being hit the hardest as the city continues to struggle to get a handle on the homeless crisis. 

More than 800 tents were counted in just the six core downtown neighborhoods. Although there have been some success stories of people getting off the streets, many wonder when they’ll see a bigger impact.

“We advocate for unsheltered, we know who’s in our neighborhood,” Goose Hollow Public Safety Chair Tiffany Hammer said.

Hammer broke down the numbers, explaining how many tents had been counted in each of the downtown core neighborhoods as of this month.

Tents counted in each neighborhood:
Old Town- 351   
Downtown – 189  
NW District – 171 
SW Hills – 32 Tents and 1 car dweller  
Pearl District  – 51 tents
Goose Hollow – 81

In the meantime, plans for Safe Rest Villages, intended to help some of the homeless, are slowly moving forward. Some of those who live near the proposed site on Southwest Naito have been a bit frustrated that the city can’t assure them that there will be no perimeter camping in that location. 

“No perimeter camping, which has turned out to be a very difficult step for the city to take, as far as assuring that we completely do not allow perimeter camping,” Darlene Urban Garrett, the chair of the Homeless Houseless team for the Downtown Neighborhood Association said.

Garrett says that the idea of a “safe zone” around the village has been discussed but so far, nothing is set in stone there. She says her team will also be exploring whether services that are being provided actually meet their needs.

“We are going to start running focus groups with our unsheltered,” Garrett said.

In the meantime, increasing amounts of gun violence, robberies and break-ins were also discussed.

“I personally know of my own business, four times in a month,” Hammer said.

Judie Dunken of the Downtown Neighborhood Association is putting a call out to city and county leaders to recognize the impact it’s having.

“As they continue to lose businesses, that will move to Beaverton or out of the area…we will become a ghost town, and it will shrink the revenues. So, they need to think about being economically sustainable by taking care of the criminality that is happening here because people are leaving,” Dunken explained. 

Garrett said those focus groups to ask the homeless about services will probably be starting up in February.