Wednesday, January 26, 2022
HomenewsPortland begins removal of illegal campsites as homelessness rises

Portland begins removal of illegal campsites as homelessness rises

The Portland City Council recently announced a newcriterion in which it will speed up the removal of campsites each week.

Due to the concerning growth of trash and encampments, the commissioners at Portland City Hall took the decision and unanimously approved rules that will bolster the removal of these illegal campsites and makeshift shelters.

A spokesperson for the Office of Management and Finance estimates that the campsites removal process will have the frequency of removal of t10 to 15 campsites per week as soon as the new rules take effect. Although this is a huge downfall from the pre-pandemic average of 50 sweeps per week, there is still an increase over the current average of five to seven removals per week.

Officials have also reported that the responsibilities of the city’s Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction will continue to revolve around “the inherent dignity of all Portlanders, whether houses or unhoused.”

As per a joint declaration by Mayor Ted Wheeler and commissioners Jo Ann Hardesty, Carmen Rubio, Mingus Maps and Dan Ryan, the new protocols will reprioritize public health and safety among homeless Portlanders and aim to better the sanitary conditions until adequate shelter and housing is made available.

Last month, the city discarded 818,560 pounds of garbage from highly unsafe cams, a 60 percent jump from the half-million pounds collected monthly in 2019. With the advent of 2021, the monthly average also rose to 650,000 pounds, causing an alarming situation and bagging the city the new moniker- dumptown.

Lucas Hillier, HUCIRP manager said that the agency had been receiving multiple reports of trees being cut down for building materials in the areas of Big Four Corners, Cross Levee, Columbia Slough Trail and Beggars Trick.

Along Peninsula Crossing, campers have been behaving in an unruly manner despite warnings. There have been reports of campers driving their cars to the campsites and setting fire, which is strictly prohibited.

Hillier also said that a camp at Northeast 60th and Prescott Street routinely blocked sidewalks for weeks, preventing those with mobility issues from reaching a nearby grocery store and pharmacy.

The newly proposed rules state that beginning Monday, May 24, campsites will be eligible for removal 48 hours after an eviction notice is posted if:

  • They are a source of untreated sewage, which increases the risk of a Shigella or Hepatitis A outbreak;
  • They present a public health risk due to biohazards;
  • They are deemed by firefighters as posing an “extreme” fire risk;

They are linked to verified reports of violence or crime;

  • They are blocking mobility access after repeated warnings; or
  • They are disrupting schools.

There has been a start of creating an inventory by the City bureaus of government-owned property that may be eligible for shelter camping sites under the recently approved Shelter to Housing Continuum ordinance that passed the City Council earlier this year in April.


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