Are you looking to report an illegal campsite? The City of Portland’s One Point of Contact Campsite Reporting System is the mechanism community members can use to report issues of illegal camping or related garbage within Portland. There are two ways to report a campsite using the One Point of Contact Campsite Reporting System. Please use just ONE of the following methods:
PDX Reporter: https://pdxreporter.org.
You can find the weekly Street Services reports here: Reports | Street Services Coordination Center
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‘The Humanitarian Crisis of Our Lifetime’
The complexity of the homelessness issue is apparent in its numbers. According to the 2023 Point in Time Count, thousands of people are living unsheltered on our streets. Overall homelessness in Portland increased by 65% from 2015 to 2023 (from 1,887 to 6,297 individuals).
During that same time period, the City of Portland spent $1.7B on affordable housing development and other services, including the opening of 4,608 affordable housing units. These funds supported prevention measures (e.g. housing subsidies) for 35,550 Portlanders in 2022. Additionally, 13,190 Portlanders received permanent housing assistance in 2022. Despite these efforts, many who seek affordable housing still face years-long waiting lists.
Short-term shelter has increased but not kept up with the need. Between 2015 and 2022, the number of available shelter beds in Multnomah County grew from 800 to 2,000 beds. About 6,000 individuals use shelter beds each year in Portland.
Personal challenges for those living on the streets also complicate our efforts, in particular untreated mental illness and substance abuse. Estimates put the range of substance use among individuals living on the streets between 58 and 88 percent. The low cost and prevalence of fentanyl has made it an increasingly popular drug of choice, and its deadliness is evidenced in record overdoses and the sad reality that fentanyl is now the number one killer of people under the age of 50.
The sad truth is that despite years of attention and funding to address the issue of homelessness in our community, it still poses a crisis that calls for more solutions.
Currently there are hundreds of unsanctioned camps spread out across virtually every neighborhood of our city, over a massive 146 square mile area. The City of Portland evaluated an average of 115 locations per day for violations of safety and sanitary conditions. An average of 16 locations per day were cleared and cleaned due to safety and environmental concerns.
Due to the dispersed nature of the homeless population, there’s no way to provide the kind of consistent case management or follow-up required to successfully connect people to the services or shelter they need.
Temporary Alternative Shelter Sites
The status quo is not a compassionate response. The need for Temporary Alternative Shelter Sites is clear. Currently, more than 800 individual campsites exist across the City of Portland alone.
We need places for unsheltered Portlanders to stay where they are provided safe shelter, sanitary services, mental health, substance abuse recovery services, and access to other services while they wait for long-term housing.
Read more about TASS here.
Street Services Coordination Center
The Street Services Coordination Center, activated in March 2022, is centralized incident command structure to connect local agencies and service providers to a singular point of contact.
Time, Place, Manner Ordinance
On June 7, 2023, the Portland City Council passed amendments to update existing public camping restriction policies. This ordinance puts the City of Portland in compliance with House Bill 3115 which was adopted by the Oregon Legislative Assembly in 2021. The updated code aims to provide reasonable time, place, and manner camping restrictions for those experiencing homelessness. Enforcement of the amended city code has also been updated and will be implemented through a phased-in approach beginning in late-July at the earliest.
Learn more about the ordinance here.
In Spring 2022, Mayor Wheeler signed a series of Emergency Declarations to speed the City’s recovery on a number of important issues.
On February 4, 2022 Mayor Wheeler issued an Emergency Declaration to Address Campsites in Dangerous Sites Located High Crash Transportation Corridors within the City of Portland.
The emergency order does three things:
1. Prohibits camping along high-speed corridors.
2. Prioritizes the work of the Impact Reduction Team to post and remove camps in these areas.
3. It enables them to keep these sites free of camping with no right of return.
On February 24, 2022 Mayor Wheeler granted emergency powers to Commissioner Dan Ryan as his delegate to “consolidate and coordinate the implementation of Safe Rest Villages and alternative shelters.” This declaration will accelerate the process of establishing Safe Rest Villages (SRVs) throughout Portland.
Safe Rest Villages will be managed, temporary, outdoor shelters with onsite case management, peer support, behavioral and mental health services, as well as amenities such as showers, flush toilets, laundry, trash/recycling, and community gathering spaces.
On March 2, 2022 Mayor Wheeler issued an Emergency Declaration to activate a Street Services Coordination Center.
This new centralized incident command structure will connect local agencies and service providers to a singular point of contact. The goal of this Emergency Declaration is to get more houseless Portlanders compassionately placed into safe shelter.
The Street Services Coordination Center will be funded with by a $5.5 million-dollar investment that was already allocated during the 2021 Fall Budget Monitoring Process.
Behavioral Health Treatment
The City of Portland works very closely with Multnomah County and state leadership on homelessness, mental/behavioral health, and addiction. Mayor Wheeler’s office serves on the Behavioral Health Emergency Coordination Network (BHECN) executive committee, which is working to open and expand resources focused on sobering, detox and mental/behavioral health services. The City of Portland is committing $1.9 million in ongoing funding to the BHECN project and invests millions of dollars with Central City Concern (CCC) on programming including behavioral health outreach. Most recently, City Council provided a $335,000 grant to Unity Center’s Psychiatric Hospital to open 9 new sobering beds in partnership with Multnomah County, Care Oregon and Legacy.
Counties play a lead role in providing behavioral health services in Oregon with support and ongoing partnership from the cites. As additional local resources are needed for behavioral health services, cites across Oregon have been stepping in to create new and complementary services alongside the work of the counties. The City of Portland funds and administers the following behavioral health related programming within city boundaries in Multnomah County.
CITY OF PORTLAND BEHAVIORAL HEALTH RELATED PROGRAMS
This work is interconnected and multi-faceted, as each individual has unique challenges and needs. We are also looking to our regional partners, with ample funding and underspent resources, to get more services online as quickly as possible and will do all we can to support and expand those efforts.