Interactive Camping Map: Click here.
Homeless and Behavioral Health Resources: Click here.
Printable Informational Tri-fold Handout:
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.
Time restrictions that prohibit day camping: The ordinance amends code to allow an involuntarily homeless person to camp in non-restricted areas between the hours of 8 pm and 8 am. After 8 am, the person must dismantle the campsite until 8 pm.
Place restrictions: The code changes specify several places where camping is always prohibited. Restrictions include, but are not limited to, the pedestrian use zone, 250 feet from a school or childcare center, in the public right-of-way along the High Crash Corridor, and City Parks.
Manner restrictions: Prohibitions include use of gas heaters in or around a campsite, obstructing access to a private property or business adjacent to the public right-of-way, alterations to the ground or infrastructure, environmental damage, and the accumulation or leaving behind garbage, debris, unsanitary hazardous materials, sewage, or drug paraphernalia.
Enforcement: The ordinance will be phased in using written warnings before someone is subject to criminal enforcement. If a person has been offered alternative access to shelter or housing, and they decline to use those alternatives, then they are prohibited from camping anywhere in the City because they have an alternative place to go. If a person does not have alternative access to shelter or housing because it is not available, then the person may camp if they follow the time, place, manner regulations implemented by the City. Those who do not adhere to the restrictions will receive two initial warnings (and education of the updated rules). The third violation will be subject to criminal enforcement with fines or jail time, though the District Attorney's office will be focused on seeking alternative sentences, which the City fully supports. Enforcement of this ordinance is intended to be a tool to connect people with appropriate resources, while also addressing behavior that is damaging to our community.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- When does the ordinance go into effect?
The Time/Place/Manner ordinance went into effect on Friday, July 7, 2023. The Mayor's Office is currently focused on a summer of education using a phased-in approach that emphasizes outreach and connection to services over criminal penalties. Through the summer, the City will work with the Street Services Coordination Center, non-profit providers, the Joint Office of Homeless Services, and other partners to educate people about the change with focused enforcement starting in the coming months.
- Does this ordinance criminalize homelessness?
No, the ordinance amends existing City Code that prohibits camping along the public rights of way. The goal is to connect people with services not to impose punishment. Portlanders who are “involuntarily homeless” will not be cited if they adhere to the objectively reasonable ordinance restrictions.
For additional context, existing code prohibits camping on public property at all hours of the day and can fine those not in compliance with up to $100 in fines, and enforce with up to 30 days in jail (though this is not currently enforced). Because that code could potentially violate HB 3115, the City is updating its code to specify that camping on public property is only barred from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.—an “objectively reasonable” standard as allowed under HB 3115.
- Where can people experiencing homelessness go during the day?
The ordinance clarifies the time, place and manner in which Portlanders experiencing homelessness can set up campsites and does not restrict their ability to sit, rest, or move freely around the city throughout the day with their belongings.
Portlanders can keep their belongings with them and/or utilize complimentary day storage containers. These facilities are staffed and open—and often underutilized. Additionally, we are looking at opening more day storage facilities and working with those running already operational day centers to increase capacity and services.
Our teams are working to develop materials that will help provide clarity on where people cannot set up unsanctioned campsites during 8pm-8am. There will be an outreach and education period so those experiencing homelessness are aware of the changes imposed by the ordinance.
- How will you determine who is “involuntarily homeless?”
The concept that someone may be “involuntarily homeless” comes directly from the Martin v. Boise decision and therefore it is the same concept for all 9th Circuit Court jurisdictions.
The ordinance will be phased in using a series of warnings before someone is subject to criminal enforcement. If a person has been offered alternative access to shelter or housing, and they decline to use those alternatives, then they are prohibited from camping anywhere in the City because they have an alternative place to go.
The City and County have an assortment of shelter options available with vacancies on a regular basis. The Mayor’s Temporary Alternative Shelter Sites, set to launch in the coming weeks, will house up to 200 homeless Portlanders at each location with the goal of connecting them to services. Similar models are also implemented in County shelter programs and Safe Rest Village models.
If a person does not have access to alternative shelter or housing because it is not available, then they meet the definition of “involuntarily homeless,” and the person may camp if they follow the time, place, manner regulations implemented by the City.
- What is a pedestrian use zone?
A pedestrian use zone (or through zone) is an area specifically designated for pedestrians to safely navigate the City. Keeping these areas clear helps ensure Portlanders can get to and from places, particularly those with limited mobility, strollers, etc.
- How will you inform Portlanders of these changes and who will perform outreach?
Changes will be implemented through a phased-in approach with a substantial education period preceding enforcement.
The Street Services Coordination Center (SSCC) and Impact Reduction Program (IRP) currently work with 25 outreach workers (and are actively hiring for additional staff), though this team only accounts for one component of the overall outreach process. The City of Portland works with hundreds of outreach workers available to help with outreach efforts. The expectation is for our partners at the City and County to work together with our public safety partners to educate and inform Portlanders of these changes. We may deploy additional city workers to help with education efforts.
- What role will law enforcement play?
If our outreach teams come into contact with someone who is not in compliance with the ordinance, after the educational, phased-in period, we would coordinate with our public safety partners on next steps.
Mayor Wheeler’s team is working closely with the City Attorney’s office, the Portland Police Bureau (including the new Police Training Dean and Training Division staff), outreach teams, and the Street Services Coordination Center to review the ordinance, discuss operations, and conduct training before enforcement begins.
- Are you concerned about staffing restraints with the Portland Police Bureau?
The goal is to connect people with services not to impose punishment. When coordination with our public safety partners to ensure compliance of the ordinance is needed, we will work to use existing resources as best we can to respond. We are continuing to restaff, having great results in our recruiting efforts, and now need the legislature to approve funding to expand State Academy training capacity.
- Does this ordinance apply to vehicles (cars and/or RVs?)
The definition of “campsite” incudes “any vehicle or part thereof,” so car/RV camping would be considered a campsite subject to the ordinance.
- How did you determine the details of this ordinance? Did you consult with community-based partners, especially providers who manage day shelters?
Mayor Wheeler and his staff regularly meet with stakeholders, community-based organizations and providers. We have held numerous meetings on this ordinance. Their input was taken into consideration as these amendments were drafted.
- Are you concerned about the legality of this ordinance?
We believe this approach is legally sound and that these measures are necessary at this time.
- Where can Portlanders store additional items during the day?
Portlanders can keep their belongings with them and/or utilize complimentary day storage containers. These facilities are staffed and open—and often underutilized. Additionally, we are looking at opening more day storage facilities and working with those running already operational day centers to increase capacity and services. We will be extending the day storage hours until 8pm.
- What about Portlanders with disabilities or elderly populations who may have a more difficult time complying with these changes?
We expect these groups to be one of the primary focuses for outreach and services through the City and County. This is also one of the reasons the phased approach will focus first on education and outreach.
Temporary Alternative Shelter Sites and Safe Rest Villages specifically accommodate partners, pets, and are ADA accessible for these specific concerns. They have been/are being designed with accessibility in mind.
- How does this ordinance relate to the recently approved American with Disabilities Act (ADA) settlement with the City of Portland?
The time/place/manner ordinance incorporates language from the ADA settlement, and they are not in conflict. Some components of the ADA settlement agreement are already being implemented.
The time/place/manner City Code change will be implemented starting 30 days after passage (with time for phasing in based on education, outreach, etc.). They will work in conjunction, but do not require each other to be implemented.
- How does this ordinance impact Mayor Wheeler’s overall homeless priorities?
Mayor Wheeler’s goal is to eliminate the need for unsanctioned camping in the City of Portland. Vulnerable populations need to be connected to services via City and County shelter sites that will ultimately guide them into permanent housing. The Mayor and his team are steadfastly focused on developing these opportunities through Temporary Alternative Shelter Sites, Safe Rest Villages, County-led programs, and supporting our community-based partners.
Can I camp where it is not shaded (red)?
Not necessarily. The map shows only the restrictions on camping on public property and public right-of-way in Portland pursuant to Portland City Code 14A.50.020.C.2. The map does not show other limitations such as camping in the pedestrian use zone or the time and manner restrictions set forth in Portland City Code 14A.50.020.C. It also does not show other camping limitations imposed by state law or laws or rules of other jurisdictions (like trespassing).
- Do outreach workers have a real-time understanding of where shelter beds are available and how many? Is the city and/or county looking at ways of improving that kind of information?
Yes, we do. There are various ways in which real-time shelter availability information is collected and efforts are also underway to improve this data source. A few examples include:
- 211 – Anyone can call 211 and ask to be connected to available shelter and services in real time. Those staffing phone lines are trained to make efficient and helpful connections to appropriate and desired services, with a clear understanding of the many services available. This is a tremendous and underutilized resource.
- Street Services Coordination Center – This City of Portland team that was established by Mayor Wheeler in 2022, receives real time information on up to 100 congregate beds in various shelters across the County and all City alternative shelter sites . The team works throughout the day to offer shelter to people currently in unsanctioned camps and records if individuals want one of the available beds. Transportation to the shelter is then provided from the site. This team also coordinates with the Joint Office of Homeless Services and service providers to connect homeless Portlanders with additional shelter beds and services.
- The Multi-Agency Coordination group that recently launched under the state’s Oregon All In program, worked with the Joint Office of Homeless Services to launch an app that will allow outreach workers to connect homeless Portlanders with shelter, services, and housing. Once successfully implemented in this pilot stage, it can be made available city-wide to outreach workers around the city.
- Hundreds of outreach workers, from a variety of government and nonprofit organizations, work with homeless Portlanders every day to connect them with shelter, services, and housing. These efforts are being further coordinated through city and county partnerships (SSCC, MAC group, JOHS, etc.).