Portland is preparing to loosen its anti-camping policies by letting faith-based communities and nonprofits the opportunity to allow small-scale camping on their properties.
Commissioner Nick Fish’s office is proposing a resolution that would establish a one-year pilot project for allowing people without shelter to “sleep overnight in a vehicle, camper or trailer parked on an existing parking lot of a host. The host may not grant permission for use of more than one designated area for this use, or for more than a total of four vehicles, campers, or trailers,” the resolution says.
The resolution is slated to go before City Council on Wednesday, Dec. 13, with three commissioners present. Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Mayor Sam Adams will be on vacation.
The new policy is patterned after a similar one in Eugene that has allowed designated camping sites for people experiencing homelessness for 13 years.
In November, the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon sent letters to Fish and County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury’s office asking for the opportunity to explore hosting small-scale camps for the homeless.
“We’ve talked about doing something along the lines of what Eugene has done, and I think that got some renewed interested more recently when the faith-based organizations were getting involved in talking about what was happening with Operation Occupy and Right 2 Dream Too, saying was there something more that we can do.” said Betsy Ames, Fish’s chief of staff.
Ames described the new approach as a “light touch” that also encourages host sites to work with outreach organizations in helping people secure services and housing. The county is expected to follow through with a similar resolution, Ames said.
Here is the proposed draft of the resolution:
Posted by Joanne Zuhl