Emergency Warming Shelters

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Temporary Alternative Shelter Sites

File image of Portland

On October 21, Mayor Wheeler and Commissioner Dan Ryan announced a multipronged approach to alleviate the current problems plaguing the streets of Portland. Less than two weeks later, on November 3, the Portland City Council approved all 5 resolutions that constitute this innovative plan. On November 30, City Council approved funding, providing $27 million in unused funds from the city budget to begin a quick implementation of our proposals.

Key to the plan is the resolution titled, “Connect mental health and substance abuse recovery services to unhoused individuals.” This plan will change the city’s outdoor camping protocols to better connect homeless individuals with available sanitary, mental health, and substance abuse recovery services and ban self-sited encampments with temporary alternative shelter locations.

To learn more, watch a recording of a community meeting on the adopted resolutions here.

Site Features


  • Build 6 professionally managed camping sites
  • City directly manages camp service provider contracts
  • Initially, each site will have 100 tents (for up to 150 people)
  • City Council must approve an additional 100 people (for up to 250 people), after this first phase, at each site

Site Services

  • Meals: Two per day, plus snack
  • Restrooms and showers
  • Laundry access
  • Community space
  • Pet area
  • Storage
  • Transit/Transportation
  • Electricity (i.e., for phone charging)
  • Wi-fi
  • Perimeter fencing
  • Regular trash collection and hazardous waste removal

Ideal Service Provider 

  • Service provider will manage 24/7 with approximately 15/1 staff/client ratio.
  • Using a Built For Zero client-centered public health approach to guide clients through the continuum of care.
  • Referral-based system through Streets Services Coordination Center, no walk-ins allowed.
  • To start, there will be no strict time limit regarding length of stay.
  • Service provider will coordinate (with designated City staff) physical, behavioral, and mental health visits from Multnomah County staff and other partners.
  • 3-year lifetime for each designated campsite.

Key site rules:

  • Alcohol and drugs cannot be consumed in common areas/public spaces.
  • No cooking or fires are allowed.


  • Weapons must be checked at the entrance (zero tolerance policy) .
  • If an individual needs to be excluded from a site because a person is a clear / present danger to themselves or others, removal options will include the PPB Behavioral Health Unit and Portland Street Response.

Perimeter Area:

  • 24/7 hotline staffed by service provider for complaints or questions about the site or perimeter issues.
  • On-site service provider will patrol a 1,000 ft. perimeter surrounding the site 16 hours a day, every day - no drugs or camping.
  • Trash cleanup in the 1,000 ft. perimeter (at least weekly; hazardous material removed immediately).
  • Service provider will engage regularly with surrounding clients, businesses, and Enhanced Service Districts.


  • Parking for large camps will be limited. The ideal sites are serviced by transit. Parking by clients will not be allowed within 1,000 feet perimeter of camp.
  • One of the sites may include RV / car options.

Next Steps

The City of Portland will release an RFP for qualified Community-Based Organizations to operate and manage temporary alternative shelters for community members experiencing homelessness.


  • Dec 20: Release RFP
  • Dec 20-Jan 13: Open for proposal
  • Jan 13-Jan 27: Evaluation Period
  • Jan 27: Announce Award
Good Neighbor Agreement
  • Once a Letter of Intent (LOI) for a site is signed between City and landowner, City staff will meet with surrounding neighborhood, businesses associations and other stakeholders to finalize a Good Neighbor Agreement.
  • Service provider will contribute to and abide by this agreement, putting in place aforementioned policies to maintain a good relationship with surrounding areas.
  • City will sponsor $250,000 for each neighborhood and business districts to acquire private security for the natural gathering around the site (main streets, transit stops, etc.).