“You can’t stay here any more.”
After months of telling park rangers and police to avoid issuing that order to people living in tents along the major Portland biking path, Willamette Week and The Oregonian are reporting that Mayor Charlie Hales plans to order a sweep of the length of the corridor within city of Portland boundaries (the eastern border is SE Jenne Rd/174th).
Here’s more from Hales in a video created by The Oregonian:
Hales tells The Oregonian that, “The Springwater is going to have to be off limits. We’re going to try to accommodate homeless people in the short term here and there.” Pressure to remove people from the lands around the Springwater has built in the past year as business owners, other residents, and environmental advocates have raised concerns about the impacts of the camps.
“Unfortunately, for people on the streets, our public parks are one of the only places left to go,” Street Roots editor Israel Bayer tells Willamette Week. “Until we have massive investments in affordable housing stock I don’t see the situation changing.”
Yesterday we excerpted a recent article on the local poverty news site Poor for a Minute. A modified version of that article also ran yesterday in Willamette Week, observing that the camp may have become the largest in the United States. Those articles also observed that camps of more than six people are forbidden under the urban camping policy brokered over the last year by Hales and his staff.
This major announcement comes as the camp on the Springwater has swelled significantly in recent months. This is due in part to an increase in police resources that have been spent to drive the camps outside of the downtown core.
Asked what will happen if people try to camp on the Springwater area to camp after the sweeps are completed (around August 1st), Hales told The Oregonian, “That’s the last resort. Criminalizing homelessness and sending people to jail because they’re camping in the wrong place is not our first, second or third choice.”
Read more in The Oregonian.
— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – email@example.com
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