PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Mayor Charlie Hales delayed the sweep of the homeless from the Springwater Corridor by one month, until September 1, his office announced late Wednesday afternoon.
The sweep of the approximately 500 campers, announced July 15, was set to begin on Monday. Homeless advocates earlier this week asked the mayor to delay the sweep to give more time to those needing social services and help finding a place to stay.
“I said before that we resisted moving campers from the area because we don’t yet have good options for all the people living there,” Mayor Hales said in a statement released by his office. “That continues to be true.”
> City won’t enforce camping ban till Sept 1
> Date to leave now formalized
The mayor and the Oregon Law Center — representing the homeless — struck a deal: The city won’t enforce the camping ban until September 1, but that date is now formalized for the homeless to leave.
Throughout August, outreach efforts will continue to those homeless campers living along the corridor.
“My own police officers and our social service workers are saying ‘we need to do deal with this but we need time to get to everybody,'” Hales told KOIN 6 News.
Portland police will increase their patrols in the corridor. The City of Portland will put Dumpsters along the corridor, provide biohazard and garbage cleanup before September 1.
“I know neighbors to the Springwater are dealing with very real problems, and I hope that initial steps now and a major cleanup in one month will balance our need to treat people humanely, with our need to restore the Springwater to a public asset,” Hales said.
Hales said the reality is that for now, homeless people are just being moved around. There isn’t a permanent solution right now.
“We are just moving people around but we are also opening more shelter beds and building hundreds and hundreds of units of affordable housing,” Hales said.
Derald Walker, the president and CEO of Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, said, “The extension to allow for more outreach will be invaluable for the health and safety of our clients, and all Portlanders.”
The director of the Homeless Youth Services at Janus Youth Programs, Dennis Lundberg, said they’re concerned about the safety of homeless people under the age of 25. But he’s mindful of the residents in the area.
“We are equally sensitive to the needs and concerns of the residents of these areas, as well as the broader community that utilizes these public spaces,” Lundberg said.
Hales says there isn’t a big hurdle in this process, “we have to keep executing on this plan.,” Hales told KOIN. “Execute, execute, execute. Keep moving that number. We said we’re going to open up 650 shelter beds this year. Let’s make damn sure we do and maybe exceed that number.”