PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced Friday a sweeping ban on homeless camping in most areas in the city as well as a plan to build three homeless “campuses” which will house homeless individuals.
Wheeler, along with City Commissioners Hardesty, Mapps, Rubio and Ryan, spoke at a press event Friday where they spoke in support of and shared some details about the plan.
Watch the full press conference in the video player near the bottom of this article
Following in the steps taken by Wheeler’s ban on camping around schools, the new ban, which will be proposed at an upcoming council meeting, will completely ban self-sited, unsanctioned camps.
Wheeler said that currently, there are 700 camps moving around the city, many of which are removed from where services are available.
According to Wheeler, the camps would hold 100-125 people in the beginning but would grow larger over time. He says the camps will have access to food, bathrooms and social services.
Not much information could be provided about the locations or costs of these camps, but Wheeler made it clear that help would be needed at the state level.
“I need the governor-elect to ask the outgoing governor to immediately declare a statewide emergency declaration,” Wheeler said. “No government agency in Oregon has more experience putting together temporary outdoor emergency shelter camps than the State. With the state’s help, we can get Portland’s designated sanctioned camping areas up before winter.”
All of the city commissioners agreed with Wheeler on the fact that action needs to be taken. However, in a statement released after the event, Commissioner Hardesty said she is unwilling to endorse nor oppose the mayor’s full plan at this point in time.
“I support providing everyone currently suffering on the streets a safe, dry, healing space to lay their head at night,” Hardesty said. “I am not ready to endorse or oppose any of these proposals today, but appreciate there are elements of the plan that are intriguing, yet lacking substance and detail.”
Full press conference below:
Wheeler said the goals — although lofty — can be achieved, but it will take an agreement from those around the city and the state. Wheeler however is confident that an agreement will be met between the city and the county.