Portland, Ore. — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has revealed the location of the second of six planned large-scale sanctioned homeless campsites in the city. The new site will be situated at 10505 N. Portland Road, a city-owned lot in an industrial area of the St. Johns neighborhood in North Portland. The announcement was made via a news release from Wheeler’s office. However, no specific opening date was mentioned in the release.
Approximately a year ago, Mayor Wheeler announced his plan to establish six mass campsites, referred to as “Temporary Alternative Shelter Sites.” These sites were proposed alongside a ban on unsanctioned camping in other parts of the city. The primary purpose of these campsites is to offer secure and hygienic accommodations, along with access to mental health and addiction treatment services and housing support.
The first of these sites opened in Southeast Portland in July and is now at full capacity with 180 residents. The news release stated that 40 residents have received assistance in preparing their paperwork for housing navigation services. In recent weeks, the remaining several dozen spaces have been filled, with approximately 134 residents currently at the site and room for approximately 45 more.
The new North Portland site is expected to have a capacity of up to 200 people. It will primarily accommodate RVs and camper vans, with tents and pod-style tiny homes also available. Wheeler’s office intends to collaborate with local stakeholders, such as the St. Johns Neighborhood Association, to create a Good Neighbor Agreement and a neighborhood advisory team for the site.
However, one local neighborhood association has declined to work with the city on an agreement, expressing skepticism about the agreement’s influence on the city’s plans.
Some residents near the North Portland site have expressed concerns about the impact of the camp, citing issues with security and the functionality of gates. Luiz Hernandez, who works in a nearby truck repair shop, voiced concerns about the safety of their equipment and personal belongings.
The North Portland site will be managed by the California-based nonprofit Urban Alchemy, which also oversees the Southeast site and two of the city’s seven Safe Rest Villages. Safe Rest Villages are part of a separate city-run program and are conceptually similar to the mass campsites. However, they have a lower capacity and offer tiny home pods for all residents, while the larger sites offer a mix of pods and spaces for residents’ own tents or RVs.
Mayor Wheeler expressed the urgency of addressing the homelessness crisis, stating, “The need in our community far exceeds available resources, and I look forward to opening this next site as quickly as we can to help get vulnerable Portlanders off the streets.”
The Portland City Council had previously implemented a daytime camping ban earlier in the year, but enforcement has been phased in gradually to allow for the establishment of additional large-scale sanctioned campsites.