News Jan 27, 2016 at 6:00 pm

Will Portland Neighborhoods Invite Homeless Camps?


There are many kinds of homeless and ultimately they each are individuals.

Most people are not that critical of "nice" homeless, veterans, families, people on a path to homes and jobs.

Most people are not hostile to visibly mentally ill homeless individuals if they are not harming anyone.

The unsolved problem is the "not nice" homeless, bicycle and package thieves, visible campers, refuse, needles, the crusties. That requires a legal negotiation too, under Oregon's free speech constitutional rights and right to sleep court cases. Whoever solves that wins the Nobel Prize.

The City of Portland theory is smaller self policing encampments. That would be Dignity Village and R2D2. The problem is that the city is unwilling to measure, report and correct failures in self policing.

So far Multnomah County, which is supposed to be responsible for social services, has preferred to stick to health services and passive administration of traditional programs. They prefer the city lead. The county has so far refused to consider the Wapato jail for housing.

The Salt Lake City model is that many homeless have a cash flow of government benefits and that can pay for them to live inside.

I like this model too:…. High school students built tiny houses for an organized encampment.

The other model is for a church to take in 1, 2, 3 homeless or living in car individuals and families and essentially be their social workers.

What the neighborhood associations have to ask is where is the social worker for each camper in their neighborhood? Where is the social support group, like Sisters of the Road for those individuals? How is the city going to measure, report and act on changes in the neighborhood as a result of new residents?
Personally, I am not in favor of coddling what most often are just lazy folks trying to live without getting a job and paying rent or taxes.
It should be noted that getting a list of people residing at a homeless camp I think should not be viewed much different than anyone else living there already (speaking of the neighborhood)- we all are subject to this already, so why not them too?
If we make being homeless easy on people, then more and more will become homeless, and that is a fact that many don't like to acknowledge.
Authorize camping in not too inconvenient of locations, provided that the tents be taken down during the day, and provide vouchers for storage space from several different companies with multiple locations. Open public restrooms 24 hours per day, staffed with attendant, and add an adequate number of showers, along with large sinks for doing laundry by hand.
Jesus, why is it up to the citizens to do background checks or check for warrants? Anybody can find out where I live and how much I owe in back Art Taxes. But they let thieves and rapists live in peace.
I have a solution to the problem. The city needs to buy some acreage out in the gorge, build 40x80 foot shelter warehouses and start busing these people to the shelters. By placing the shelter away from the city you eliminate issues with sex offenders being near schools. They could build 3 shelters, one for sober folks, one for drunks and one for heroin addicts, well probably at least two for heroin addicts. If after being given placement at the shelter the offender was found illegally camping in the city again then they should be placed in the wapato jail which should be opened solely to deal with illegal campers.
Just because everybody hates the homeless doesn't mean that the homeless are going to move out to the gorge for the privilege of being crammed like sardines; they intend to stay in the City, where the action is. However, citizens might hate the homeless enough to support building shelters in the gorge, while unwittingly set a precedent to supersede the restrictions of the Urban Growth Boundary.
The very idea that it is OK for the Mayor & Mandy Fritz to instruct neighborhood s to find space for homeless is complete lunacy! We want them gone, not spread out into our areas!?! Just gone. Given them buss passes to Alaska, I don't care, but not next to my house, there are consequences for things like that,......
If Portland only had a problem of homegrown homeless folks--people displaced by high rents and a weak job market or mentally ill that ended up on the streets--it might be a solvable problem even if there's always going to be some chronically homeless. But it's hard to ever manage the problem when there's never-ending revolving door of down-and-out types that end up here because of some sad idea that it's easier to be homeless in Portland. And I wish there was an easy solution that I could speak to, but what we're doing right now doesn't seem to be working.
I don't get the objection to recording a person's full legal name. How can you claim to be seeking a solution if you won't embrace this really quite basic request?

There are *forums* on the *internet* that require you to use your real name as a means of ensuring civility (it largely works). I don't see what's onerous about asking for the same level of accountability of your real life neighbors as you would commenters on an online forum.
Maybe we should reopen the debtor prisons and farms.
Another request in the Overlook letter is that there be a limit specified on the number of people at each site. Having names is the easiest way to limit the number of people camped at a site. Makes perfect sense to me to request a full legal name of each resident. Providing a legal name seems a basic requirement for receiving services or moving into any living situation. I think having names also increases the potential for people being seen as individuals. If neighborhoods are being asked to take in campers, it's important to listen to concerns that will make everyone more comfortable.
not odious. the most practical way of keeping individuals accountable for behavior and protecting individuals possessions and space.
We as a City have agreed to live under a set of laws and regulations to guarantee a free and safe environment. These include zoning regulations, permits for construction, professional licensing requirements, and laws governing behavior in public places. Obeying these laws is onerous for everyone, but this is the cost of participating in the City.
Hazelnut Grove represents a suspension of this civility. In effect, the City is saying that these people represent a new class of people in our society to whom the same laws do not apply. Overlooking the need for people to follow our City’s regulations creates a new class of people not deserving of protection from poor construction, unsafe practices or illegal behavior. Instead of following the civil laws and penalties, they define their own space, create their own rules, and mete out their own justice.
The City did not set out to create this class, but they cannot be excused for doing so. Hundreds of decisions and inactions have brought us here including tax breaks for big corporations, lack of protection for renters, unwillingness to meet low-income housing mandates, and lack of enforcement of existing laws. We clearly have a housing emergency and drastic action is needed. Creating a shanty town on a piece of land no one cares about is not a solution and will only create further problems.
Hazelnut Grove is far from social and health services. It is far from commercial areas and transit. The area has no utilities. Because it is isolated and lies adjacent to a high-speed arterial, it is difficult for the police observe and dangerous for medical and fire response. Because it is isolated, there is no social policing, and vulnerable members of our society face a greater danger here. The summer wildfire threat is very high due to the combination steep, dry grassy hillside and open cooking fires. The threat of landslide in winter is high due to increased erosion from paths and construction on the hillside. Hazelnut Grove has clay soils and tall grass not suitable for high use in wet weather; this has led to extremely muddy conditions, highly compacted soils, loss of vegetation and erosion. This isolated site has undefined boundaries leading to more and more campers spilling along Greeley and up the slope.
There was no site analysis or feasibility study done prior to creating this camp. Any cursory look would have shown this site to be incompatible for human habitation. Although this site is largely out of sight, it is unacceptable for the City to ignore its citizens in this way. All people deserve to live under common expectations, and it creates a very dangerous precedent to separate the expectations for any group of people. The City can do better than this.
Regarding your implied threat of consequences, "Senator of Irvington", I suppose you've got a gun and imagine yourself man enough to use it. Yeah, I'm sure shooting homeless people is a long and dearly held wet dream of yours. Congratulations on painting such a vivid and unsympathetic "poor, beleaguered rich man" portrait. You may as well be wearing a top hat and monocle.
The hospitals should be required to make some space. They caused the opiate addiction.

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