The balance between safe sleep options, public health, public access, and livability deserves nuance, and in evaluating the Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program’s scope of work we centered the inherent dignity of all Portlanders, whether housed or unhoused.
The Commissioners, Mayor, and their staffs reflected on existing unhoused camps around Portland, solicited feedback from housed and unhoused Portlanders, and worked to develop responsive protocols that balance these competing elements. These new protocols reprioritize public health and safety among houseless Portlanders and aim to improve sanitary conditions until we have additional shelter beds and housing available. Bureaus are currently inventorying City-owned properties for viable shelter or camping sites (part of the Shelter to Housing Continuum). Once complete, that inventory and these protocols will enable us to act more quickly and safely as future camps establish and grow.
We recognize the challenging work done by the Impact Reduction Program to respect individuals experiencing houselessness while also maintaining safe and hygienic conditions, and are extremely grateful for the thoughtfulness and compassion they bring to their work. We also wish to thank the housed and unhoused Portlanders whose thoughtful feedback helped us think through these issues.