PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — New polling from the nonprofit People for Portland paints a grim picture of the city’s homeless crisis.
More than 70% of the 500 likely Portland voters said they support the daytime camping ban proposal, and 83% think the rights of disabled residents should come before the rights of the homeless to camp on sidewalks.
When asked how those surveyed would describe homelessness in the Portland area, 75% said it was “a disaster.” Only 6% said the issue has turned a corner.
Political consultant David Looper, a co-founder of People for Portland, says the polling shows more needs to be done.
“We have a small cadre of folks pursuing a narrow agenda that is not the will of the people who want to see the trash cleaned up tomorrow, who want to see the streets safer tonight,” he said.
Advocates for the city’s homeless say they believe none of the proposed changes should move forward.
“I think the city policy is bad policy. I don’t think they should be putting it forward. We’re gonna have it tied up in courts,” said Kaia Sand, the executive director for Street Roots. “Police already arrest people experiencing homelessness at such a high rate. It’s 50% of all arrests, so I can’t even imagine how they’re tying being homeless and camping during the day to jail time.”
Street Roots is encouraging homeless campers who signed up to testify Wednesday to do it from their offices, instead of city hall, since the metal detectors make it difficult for campers to bring their belongings inside.
People for Portland hired GS Strategy Group to conduct a poll among 500 likely Metro Regional District voters on May 19-23, 2023. The survey has a 4.38% margin of error.
GS Strategy Group is based in Boise, Idaho. Their website lists 13 different services provided, including “Public Policy & Political Positioning Studies” and “Voter Segmentation Programs”