$500K bench plan in Laurelhurst part of Portland budget

Civic Affairs

Bench plan part of "solutions to ongoing camping" in new budget

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A half-million dollars of the just-passed City of Portland budget will go toward “solutions to ongoing camping.” Commissioners Carmen Rubio and Jo Ann Hardesty have proposed putting benches in certain spots, like the Laurelhurst area near Nathan Thomas Field.

But they made it clear they are committed to not using “hostile architecture.”

Rubio and Hardesty’s offices told KOIN 6 News on Thursday they “heard a desire from the community to address the right-of-way that is between the two parks spaces, and to protect access to Nathan Thomas Field.”

“In balancing these goals, Commissioners Rubio and Hardesty have sought this funding to explore various possible longer-term solutions to the ongoing camping in the right-of-way along Oak Street,” Rubio and Hardesty said in a joint statement.

TJ Browning, the chair of the Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association’s safety committee, said the plan to use benches came out of the blue. Browning said they’ve been trying to work with the city on a plan to address the homeless camping.

Examples of ‘hostile architecture’ around the world

“When people don’t feel safe in their homes, when their children can’t play in the parks, when people are living in the street, when you don’t feel safe driving down the street in Portland, there aren’t any winners in this,” Browing said.

When it comes to mitigation, she said, they would like to be part of the discussion.

KOIN 6 News will have more information later.

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