Re: Portland to resume homeless camp sweeps/cleanups


Candee Wilson
 

Don't know if this is how to respond, but I don't know another way.

Sweeps are a double-edged sword. On one hand, they are disruptive to someone whose only home is a tent. On the other hand, tent camping on sidewalks is a violation of a city ordinance. Until the city/county/state begin providing a place where tent campers can safely place a tent, sweeps will continue because the campers won't move unless they are forced to. I do not object to sidewalk camps being swept. They are not supposed to be there in the first place. I think it's wrong to sweep those that have set up a tent in out-of-the-way, inconspicuous places where they aren't bothering anyone for lack of having an alternative place to go that wouldn't be swept. There should be legal camping spots throughout the city/county/state. The homeless have a way of creating communities and policing themselves if left to their own devices. Of course, those with mental health and addiction issues present an entirely different set of problems. They tend to be outcasts in both the homeless community and the general community at large. Thank the ACLU for giving them so many rights that even when people want to help them, they can't.

Until the city/county/state come to terms with the fact that they cannot build their way out of the homeless crisis anytime soon, either through affordable housing, supportive housing or shelters, we will continue to have this discussion.
Candee Wilson
411 NW Flanders St. #406
Portland, OR  97209
503-789-0332
On 7/9/2020 12:06 AM, Tim McCormick wrote:

The City of Portland is officially resuming 'sweeps', or 'cleanups,' of homeless camps, focusing on those with 8 or more structures, blocking sidewalks or entrances, or with reports of criminal behavior or conspicuous drug use.
WW article: https://www.wweek.com/news/2020/07/07/portland-to-resume-homeless-camp-sweeps/.

Notice from Office of Management and Finance, Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program (HUCIRP), posted late last month:
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/toolkit/article/756745.

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Note, the term 'sweeps' is generally used by opponents of these practices, while officials in Portland say 'cleanups.' 'Cleanups' is fairly well-defined, as the city's current practices; 'sweeps' is less so -- for example, does it imply that campers are not offered alternative acceptable shelter, or assistance in moving belongings? or that they would risk arrest for not complying? Could there be some form of, say, 'relocation' of campers that is not a sweep?

We realize this is a very polarizing, conflicted, and complex situation. Please give us, especially, considered thoughts on this situation. If you are opposed to 'sweeps' or 'cleanups,' tell us what you might propose as alternative, or how else to address concerns of officials and people who support them.

If you support them, tell us why you think others don't, and how their concerns might be addressed. 

Note, we had staffers from HUCIRP, representatives from Downtown and N. Portland neighborhood associations who've particularly raised concerns on this, and organizers from Stop the Sweeps PDX coalition, at the PDX Shelter Forum the other week. We particularly invite comments from them, and thank them for coming together in this discussion.  
Tim

--
Tim McCormick
Editor at HousingWiki, Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 

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