"Community First" proposal: citywide safe sites, but no other camping


Godfrey Merrill
 

several people have mentioned here the "Community First" strategy proposal that some Neighborhood Associations have been developing. Here's the latest version I've seen, titled "NA HOMELESSNESS STRAT DR 7 7 20": https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NTFe_WPsrW5OHrGd14Ek673UmEj5sWdmuTT8yAtwbOA/edit?usp=sharing.

I think it's interesting, and commendably aiming at a full-scale answer. 

As I comment in the doc, I wonder: 
   a) how to organize the mapping of possible sites, especially available public land. (this seems to be a recurring question/project); and 

   b) the premise of truly excluding camping outside of the authorized sites, how likely/possible is it for the city to do, and what might it achieve politically? Would it actually bring in majority support, and might it repel those people/groups with a current position opposing all 'sweeps'? 

-Godfrey. 


Emerson This
 

@Godfrey those were some of my first questions as well. I think the answer to both your questions lies in the fact that the "new" policies/rules are localized to the sites. In this way, it doesn't have to be a city-wide coordination to get off the ground. Instead, individual neighborhoods can get on board one-by-one. In this approach, a neighborhood/area "earns" the right to disallow ad hoc camping only after it designates a site where unhoused people are allowed to live (without getting "swept" or otherwise hassled). The no-camping zone is a radius around each site. So excluding ad hoc camping city-wide would only happen in a scenario when there's a designated site in every single area all over the city. That may or may not ever happen, but in the meantime it gives every neighborhood an opportunity/incentive to participate in the solution.


On Mon, Jul 13, 2020 at 5:11 PM Godfrey Merrill <godfrey.merrill@...> wrote:
several people have mentioned here the "Community First" strategy proposal that some Neighborhood Associations have been developing. Here's the latest version I've seen, titled "NA HOMELESSNESS STRAT DR 7 7 20": https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NTFe_WPsrW5OHrGd14Ek673UmEj5sWdmuTT8yAtwbOA/edit?usp=sharing.

I think it's interesting, and commendably aiming at a full-scale answer. 

As I comment in the doc, I wonder: 
   a) how to organize the mapping of possible sites, especially available public land. (this seems to be a recurring question/project); and 

   b) the premise of truly excluding camping outside of the authorized sites, how likely/possible is it for the city to do, and what might it achieve politically? Would it actually bring in majority support, and might it repel those people/groups with a current position opposing all 'sweeps'? 

-Godfrey. 


Godfrey Merrill
 

it doesn't have to be a city-wide coordination to get off the ground. Instead, individual neighborhoods can get on board one-by-one

thanks Emerson, this is a very interesting point. The Neighborhood Associations' suggested "Community First" approach could be seen as a way of solving the collective action problem of getting many parts/parties of the city to agree, which is smart.

Two thoughts: 
One, would it make more sense for the potential "no-camp" zone to be the neighborhood district, rather than a radius around an authorized site? i.e., if the neighborhood district, as defined by City neighborhood-association system, met let's say the allotted homeless accommodation goal for a certain cycle, then enforcement of camping and structures bans would be enacted in that neighborhood district? 

[The reason I wonder this is, I can imagine several problems with the radius approach. It would be easy to have areas missed by the radii of authorized sites, even with many of them. Also, it could be difficult/ambiguous to determine what areas fall in that radius, let's say for City employees trying to follow the guidance. Neighborhood districts, on the other hand, have already tackled the task of covering all areas, determining boundaries, and probably picking logical boundaries such as the middle of streets].

Second, why or how might we imagine the City agreeing to fully enforce camping & structures bans in those districts, were this tradeoff proposed? The 'bargain' requires that, but do we have reasons to think the City would take on this necessary role? Right now, they at least officially have just a single, citywide policy -- which is that "camping outside of a City-sanctioned campground is not permitted" - HUCIRP -- and a single process for responding to camps, the One Point of Contact System. (tactfully described at HUCIRP's site as, "the mechanism community members can use to report issues of illegal camping or related garbage within Portland.")

Might, perhaps, the One Point of Contact System be amended to prioritize enforcement action against reported camps within a "no-camp" district? 

-Godfrey. 


On Mon, Jul 13, 2020 at 5:51 PM Emerson This <emersonthis@...> wrote:
@Godfrey those were some of my first questions as well. I think the answer to both your questions lies in the fact that the "new" policies/rules are localized to the sites. In this way, it doesn't have to be a city-wide coordination to get off the ground. Instead, individual neighborhoods can get on board one-by-one. In this approach, a neighborhood/area "earns" the right to disallow ad hoc camping only after it designates a site where unhoused people are allowed to live (without getting "swept" or otherwise hassled). The no-camping zone is a radius around each site. So excluding ad hoc camping city-wide would only happen in a scenario when there's a designated site in every single area all over the city. That may or may not ever happen, but in the meantime it gives every neighborhood an opportunity/incentive to participate in the solution.


On Mon, Jul 13, 2020 at 5:11 PM Godfrey Merrill <godfrey.merrill@...> wrote:
several people have mentioned here the "Community First" strategy proposal that some Neighborhood Associations have been developing. Here's the latest version I've seen, titled "NA HOMELESSNESS STRAT DR 7 7 20": https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NTFe_WPsrW5OHrGd14Ek673UmEj5sWdmuTT8yAtwbOA/edit?usp=sharing.

I think it's interesting, and commendably aiming at a full-scale answer. 

As I comment in the doc, I wonder: 
   a) how to organize the mapping of possible sites, especially available public land. (this seems to be a recurring question/project); and 

   b) the premise of truly excluding camping outside of the authorized sites, how likely/possible is it for the city to do, and what might it achieve politically? Would it actually bring in majority support, and might it repel those people/groups with a current position opposing all 'sweeps'? 

-Godfrey. 


Tom Hickey <Hickeyt+BNA.PDX@...>
 

These are good points and worth examination. Implementation will require negotiation from all parties, and many details will have to adjust to the local realities - for instance, some neighborhoods have an abundance of plausible locations for organized camps and some have few or none. The idea is based on bringing the cost-benefit equation down to the local level because that is where cooperation or resistance occurs. The actual mechanisms of the many possible solutions should rely on the experience and expertise of those who have been involved in the struggle for a long time.

The idea of a "no-camp" radius actually seems more plausible at the beginning of the project, to plant the seeds of success and cooperation. As the project develops, it either succeeds because it is an attractive solution to all parties and it grows under it's own momentum, or it fails long before there are enough "no-camp" zones to blanket the city.

As the city backs off of its no-sweeps policy, I worry that the NAs incentive to engage with the problem may dwindle, so our planning will have to be attractive for its own sake.

Note that the Community First proposal is still in something of a draft form as we wrestle with some of the details (or leave for later discussion). A workgroup will be meeting soon to make sure that the proposal is in alignment with the goals of the Interfaith Alliance efforts.


On 7/14/2020 10:04 AM, Godfrey Merrill wrote:
it doesn't have to be a city-wide coordination to get off the ground. Instead, individual neighborhoods can get on board one-by-one

thanks Emerson, this is a very interesting point. The Neighborhood Associations' suggested "Community First" approach could be seen as a way of solving the collective action problem of getting many parts/parties of the city to agree, which is smart.

Two thoughts: 
One, would it make more sense for the potential "no-camp" zone to be the neighborhood district, rather than a radius around an authorized site? i.e., if the neighborhood district, as defined by City neighborhood-association system, met let's say the allotted homeless accommodation goal for a certain cycle, then enforcement of camping and structures bans would be enacted in that neighborhood district? 

[The reason I wonder this is, I can imagine several problems with the radius approach. It would be easy to have areas missed by the radii of authorized sites, even with many of them. Also, it could be difficult/ambiguous to determine what areas fall in that radius, let's say for City employees trying to follow the guidance. Neighborhood districts, on the other hand, have already tackled the task of covering all areas, determining boundaries, and probably picking logical boundaries such as the middle of streets].

Second, why or how might we imagine the City agreeing to fully enforce camping & structures bans in those districts, were this tradeoff proposed? The 'bargain' requires that, but do we have reasons to think the City would take on this necessary role? Right now, they at least officially have just a single, citywide policy -- which is that "camping outside of a City-sanctioned campground is not permitted" - HUCIRP -- and a single process for responding to camps, the One Point of Contact System. (tactfully described at HUCIRP's site as, "the mechanism community members can use to report issues of illegal camping or related garbage within Portland.")

Might, perhaps, the One Point of Contact System be amended to prioritize enforcement action against reported camps within a "no-camp" district? 

-Godfrey. 


On Mon, Jul 13, 2020 at 5:51 PM Emerson This <emersonthis@...> wrote:
@Godfrey those were some of my first questions as well. I think the answer to both your questions lies in the fact that the "new" policies/rules are localized to the sites. In this way, it doesn't have to be a city-wide coordination to get off the ground. Instead, individual neighborhoods can get on board one-by-one. In this approach, a neighborhood/area "earns" the right to disallow ad hoc camping only after it designates a site where unhoused people are allowed to live (without getting "swept" or otherwise hassled). The no-camping zone is a radius around each site. So excluding ad hoc camping city-wide would only happen in a scenario when there's a designated site in every single area all over the city. That may or may not ever happen, but in the meantime it gives every neighborhood an opportunity/incentive to participate in the solution.


On Mon, Jul 13, 2020 at 5:11 PM Godfrey Merrill <godfrey.merrill@...> wrote:
several people have mentioned here the "Community First" strategy proposal that some Neighborhood Associations have been developing. Here's the latest version I've seen, titled "NA HOMELESSNESS STRAT DR 7 7 20": https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NTFe_WPsrW5OHrGd14Ek673UmEj5sWdmuTT8yAtwbOA/edit?usp=sharing.

I think it's interesting, and commendably aiming at a full-scale answer. 

As I comment in the doc, I wonder: 
   a) how to organize the mapping of possible sites, especially available public land. (this seems to be a recurring question/project); and 

   b) the premise of truly excluding camping outside of the authorized sites, how likely/possible is it for the city to do, and what might it achieve politically? Would it actually bring in majority support, and might it repel those people/groups with a current position opposing all 'sweeps'? 

-Godfrey. 


Trena Sutton
 

I Attended neighborhood association meetings for years and find that people are very sincere about doing something about it but it never quite seems to get off the ground. The closest I saw was when a homeless woman came in and I was sitting with her and she was beaten to a pulp by one of the predators that they belong the spring water. The neighborhood was in raged to attended neighborhood association meetings for years and find that people are very sincere about doing something about it but it never quite seems to get off the ground. The closest I saw was when a homeless woman came in and I was sitting with her and she was beaten to a pulp by one of the predators that live along the Springwater. The Brentwood-Darlington Neighbor  was enraged   
but again people wait for someone else to address the issue. I hope the good people on this site can  I hope the good people on this site can come up with real solutions.


On Tue, Jul 14, 2020 at 10:54 AM Tom Hickey <Hickeyt+BNA.PDX@...> wrote:
These are good points and worth examination. Implementation will require negotiation from all parties, and many details will have to adjust to the local realities - for instance, some neighborhoods have an abundance of plausible locations for organized camps and some have few or none. The idea is based on bringing the cost-benefit equation down to the local level because that is where cooperation or resistance occurs. The actual mechanisms of the many possible solutions should rely on the experience and expertise of those who have been involved in the struggle for a long time.

The idea of a "no-camp" radius actually seems more plausible at the beginning of the project, to plant the seeds of success and cooperation. As the project develops, it either succeeds because it is an attractive solution to all parties and it grows under it's own momentum, or it fails long before there are enough "no-camp" zones to blanket the city.

As the city backs off of its no-sweeps policy, I worry that the NAs incentive to engage with the problem may dwindle, so our planning will have to be attractive for its own sake.

Note that the Community First proposal is still in something of a draft form as we wrestle with some of the details (or leave for later discussion). A workgroup will be meeting soon to make sure that the proposal is in alignment with the goals of the Interfaith Alliance efforts.


On 7/14/2020 10:04 AM, Godfrey Merrill wrote:
it doesn't have to be a city-wide coordination to get off the ground. Instead, individual neighborhoods can get on board one-by-one

thanks Emerson, this is a very interesting point. The Neighborhood Associations' suggested "Community First" approach could be seen as a way of solving the collective action problem of getting many parts/parties of the city to agree, which is smart.

Two thoughts: 
One, would it make more sense for the potential "no-camp" zone to be the neighborhood district, rather than a radius around an authorized site? i.e., if the neighborhood district, as defined by City neighborhood-association system, met let's say the allotted homeless accommodation goal for a certain cycle, then enforcement of camping and structures bans would be enacted in that neighborhood district? 

[The reason I wonder this is, I can imagine several problems with the radius approach. It would be easy to have areas missed by the radii of authorized sites, even with many of them. Also, it could be difficult/ambiguous to determine what areas fall in that radius, let's say for City employees trying to follow the guidance. Neighborhood districts, on the other hand, have already tackled the task of covering all areas, determining boundaries, and probably picking logical boundaries such as the middle of streets].

Second, why or how might we imagine the City agreeing to fully enforce camping & structures bans in those districts, were this tradeoff proposed? The 'bargain' requires that, but do we have reasons to think the City would take on this necessary role? Right now, they at least officially have just a single, citywide policy -- which is that "camping outside of a City-sanctioned campground is not permitted" - HUCIRP -- and a single process for responding to camps, the One Point of Contact System. (tactfully described at HUCIRP's site as, "the mechanism community members can use to report issues of illegal camping or related garbage within Portland.")

Might, perhaps, the One Point of Contact System be amended to prioritize enforcement action against reported camps within a "no-camp" district? 

-Godfrey. 


On Mon, Jul 13, 2020 at 5:51 PM Emerson This <emersonthis@...> wrote:
@Godfrey those were some of my first questions as well. I think the answer to both your questions lies in the fact that the "new" policies/rules are localized to the sites. In this way, it doesn't have to be a city-wide coordination to get off the ground. Instead, individual neighborhoods can get on board one-by-one. In this approach, a neighborhood/area "earns" the right to disallow ad hoc camping only after it designates a site where unhoused people are allowed to live (without getting "swept" or otherwise hassled). The no-camping zone is a radius around each site. So excluding ad hoc camping city-wide would only happen in a scenario when there's a designated site in every single area all over the city. That may or may not ever happen, but in the meantime it gives every neighborhood an opportunity/incentive to participate in the solution.


On Mon, Jul 13, 2020 at 5:11 PM Godfrey Merrill <godfrey.merrill@...> wrote:
several people have mentioned here the "Community First" strategy proposal that some Neighborhood Associations have been developing. Here's the latest version I've seen, titled "NA HOMELESSNESS STRAT DR 7 7 20": https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NTFe_WPsrW5OHrGd14Ek673UmEj5sWdmuTT8yAtwbOA/edit?usp=sharing.

I think it's interesting, and commendably aiming at a full-scale answer. 

As I comment in the doc, I wonder: 
   a) how to organize the mapping of possible sites, especially available public land. (this seems to be a recurring question/project); and 

   b) the premise of truly excluding camping outside of the authorized sites, how likely/possible is it for the city to do, and what might it achieve politically? Would it actually bring in majority support, and might it repel those people/groups with a current position opposing all 'sweeps'? 

-Godfrey.