PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler proposed allocating a $27 million “down payment” to build six designated camping sites during Thursday’s City Council Fall Budget Meeting work session, the mayor’s office announced.
During the City Council work session, Wheeler said “on November 3, council passed five resolutions that will save lives and livelihoods for all Portlanders housed and unhoused. This budget proposal allocates approximately $30 million to the commitments made within those resolutions.”
“Last week, we approved policies to create six designated camping sites and phase-in a citywide ban on unsanctioned camping; this week I am proposing an immediate $27 million City budget down payment to help build six Designated Camping Sites and related priorities,” Wheeler said in a statement. “This $27 million is a great start, and shows we are serious about quick implementation of our affordable housing and houselessness goals, but for the houselessness needs, it’s about half of the total we will need – we still need resources from our Multnomah County, Metro and State of Oregon partners.”
Wheeler added “it’s no surprise that this work requires a considerable amount of funding. I will continue to ask our federal partners, our governor elect, leaders within the Metro regional government, and the incoming Multnomah County chair to partner with us and to provide the services and resources needed to do the hard work ahead of us.”
According to the mayor’s office, $3.5 million of the $27 million will go towards a 50-person city-employee Navigation Team “to increase connection with individuals experiencing homelessness and available services.”
Additionally, Wheeler proposed $4,188,600 for three designated camping sites including site preparation and construction costs and $12,845,750 for operational costs for three camping sites for one year, which would also include staff salaries, according to the mayor’s office.
The mayor also proposed $750,000 for private security contracts “for surrounding neighborhoods and business districts of designated camping locations.” The mayor also proposed allocating $1,500,000 to expand staffing for the City Incident Command team along with $3,891,164 for the Impact Reduction Program.
No votes were cast on Thursday’s proposal, but it has received some criticism from Commissioner Hardesty who claimed her office had only been notified of the changes two days ago.
Hardesty stated “it’s unfortunate that it seems to be just on a fast track for passage. I know I won’t be here next year. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care about how we end this budget cycle.”
Officials say council members will be able to discuss the proposal ahead of the ordinances next week.