PDX City Council approves plan to end unsanctioned camping

Tim McCormick

On Thurs the City Council as expected approved a set of 5 resolutions addressing homelessness, all by unanimous  vote except for 4-1 vote (Hardesty voting 'no') on resolution setting plan to: 1) ban unsanctioned camping, and 2) open at least six sanctioned "camping sites", each able to host up to 250 people, with up to 150 in one 'camp'; all this 3) within 18 monthes *after securing needed funding.* 

On the one hand this is a dramatic move, from the standpoint of all the advocates who've put a large focus on opposing the restoration of a citywide camping ban. It's a big call-up to, you might say endorsement of, anyone with current or proposed models for alternative shelter. 

[💡great time to STEP FORWARD with research, proposals, local expertise, fora; and try to help circumstances towards better paths, I'd say.💡] 

On the other hand, this plan is set up with ample opportunities to fail or dither for years, since it says support from every branch and level of government is needed for funding & enactment, and only by 18 monthes after *that* would a full camping ban be imposed.

I'd say, it's a concerted show of apparent commitment to action and public demands, just before the November election, but with ample room to slide after that. Behind the feint, there's little new thinking; for example, same old conventional
Affordable Housing reified again as the Answer, at presumed cost of $500k+ per door.  Here, I think some of the Mayor's plan's Big AH opponents, such as Andy Miller of Our Just Future (formerly Human Solutions) actually are ahead in approaching new housing approaches.

I still hold out some hope, however tattered, that these warring parties and dogmas could see their way to innovations yet. Like, much cheaper, faster, *new* *housing* models, like subsidized ADUs, mobile housing, and private-developed non-subsidized development such as Jolene's First Cousin mixed-income, mixed-use project with SRO-type units. 

You can see the resolutions, Items 927-931, and video, at: 
You want the "Proposed amendments" link, under items 927-929, to see version with amendments. 

Stories below from WWeek & Portland Tribune. 

"City Council Passes Resolutions to Build Massive Sanctioned Campsites and Ban Street Camping" by Sophie Peel: 

"City Council approves plan to end unsanctioned camping."
Jim Redden, Portland Tribune, Nov 03 2022.

Below are key passages on planned official campsites, from item 928.

Some details I found notable:
    a) it doesn't really call for moving away from current congregate shelter system, even though a largr portion of the people unsheltered say they don't want to go to these. 
     b) mentioned as exemplars of "campus model" are: "Vancouver’s meal train for its Safe Stay program, Medford’s Urban Campground for up to 125 people, and Talent Gateway Transitional Housing Project for 159 people in 53 RVs."

Tim McCormick
Housing Alternatives Network
+1 503.334.1894.