Portland City Council Approves Unfunded Plan to Make Unsanctioned Homeless Encampments Illegal

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Portland City Council voted Thursday to approve a plan to ban unsheltered homelessness and create mass outdoor homeless encampments across the city.

The package of five resolutions, introduced by Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Commissioner Dan Ryan two weeks ago, outlines a number of aspirational and unfunded plans to address homelessness and housing needs.

The initial proposal aimed to create up to three “designated camping sites” with space to hold up to 500 people in unidentified locations. Those wouldn’t be created before the city secured funding for the camps, which it currently does not have. The proposal states that these sites would open to the public within 18 months after those funds are secured.

Under the proposal, once those camps are open, the city would start enforcing a ban on camping in public spaces. If people decline to vacate public property, they will be subject to criminal penalties. However, the proposal requests funding and support from the Multnomah County District Attorneys’ office to create a diversion court to keep those charged out of jail.

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