PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Local businesses fed up with break-ins, vandalism and safety issues in the Central Eastside are bringing their concerns to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

Now, Wheeler is promising to take action, announcing the start of a 90-day reset plan for the area. The goal is an Eastside that feels cleaner and most importantly safe.

Getting there will take time and, according to the mayor, collaboration between businesses and the city.

Some work has already been underway increasing street lighting under overpasses. Swaths of graffiti has been removed, trash cleaned up as well as unsanctioned campsites and abandoned vehicles cleaned.

This is in response to a November meeting with businesses and the city and a survey of those business owners on what they thought would help this problem. After 90 days they’ll respond to another survey to see if anything feels different.

The city and businesses will gauge the progress based on the number of break-in reports, how many people are being referred to shelters or mental health and substance abuse centers and the amount of debris and trash on streets and sidewalks.

Another goal is cleaning up unsanctioned campsites, but the city’s new map of campsite reports and cleanups in the city shows that in many areas, including this neighborhood, campsites return, so KOIN 6 asked the mayor what will break the cycle and when will changes come.

“I wish there was a quick and easy answer to that,” Wheeler said. “The reality is that will decrease as we move people off the streets and were not moving people off the streets quickly enough.”

Wheeler pointed to a waitlist that can be as long as ten years for some people to access affordable housing. He pointed to the trio of initiatives passed by City Council late last year, including banning unsanctioned camping, creating sanctioned campsites with services on site, and creating 20,000 affordable housing units over the next 11 years.

Wheeler referred to the yet-to-be-formed sanctioned campsites as “service hubs” during the announcement Thursday. When it comes to clean-ups of camps, Wheeler emphasized they are cited several days beforehand, as is required, and people are offered shelter spots.

“Those contacted by outreach teams are offered an immediate, available shelter bed, a ride to that shelter bed with any belongings, and complimentary storage for additional belongings,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler says, a city survey found two out of ten people who are homeless refused indoor shelter, thus the need for sanctioned outdoor sites. He says that is in part to Portland being “awash in synthetic drugs” which cause severe psychosis and cause “antisocial” behavior in people suffering from it.

“Importantly, [it can cause] an inability to be in enclosed spaces. Enclosed spaces like congregate shelters or motel rooms or housing or other types of structures. There is a degree of urgency to this issue. The longer people are on the streets, the more likely they are to be exposed to substance use disorders or behavioral health issues.”

Claire Briglio, the executive director of the Central Eastside Industrial Committee organized the reset plan after a November meeting with the City and 140 businesses.

“I am hoping that through district enhancement initiatives and economic development initiatives that we have planned that people will be able to enter the east side and feel peace and not feel any conflict,” Briglio said.

The mayor did point to an average waitlist of five to ten years for people who need affordable housing.

What’s happening in the Central Eastside is a microcosm of the rest of Portland businesses dealing with break-ins and the mental health and substance abuse crisis playing out on streets across the city.

“I wish we could do this for the entirety of the city,” said Wheeler. “It should be all of this, across the city and we will eventually get to that point when we have the resources and capacity to do it. But ultimately, we have to connect people with services to help them get off the streets.”

On the timeline of the sanctioned sites, Wheeler said there is a contract in place for the site of the first camp, but they’re still working to finalize a service operator for that and he hopes to announce that in the “near future.”

Wheeler also urged that, in order to address graffiti, businesses need to work with the city. He says there is a waiver business owners need to sign allowing the city to remove tagged private buildings.