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KOIN 6 News
Wheeler touts ‘off-ramps from homelessness’ in Portland
By Elise HaasTim Steele,
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It was a virtual meeting, but hundreds of Southeast Portland residents showed up to question Mayor Ted Wheeler about the plan to put in a sanctioned, managed campsite for up to 150 adults.
The people most affected by this site near SE Gideon and Powell had a lot of questions for Wheeler. In November, the Portland City Council voted to approve a ban on unsanctioned camping and instead manage multiple, large sanctioned sites.
The overall plan is to have 6 sanctioned campsites around the city for 3 years.
In this latest meeting the mayor has held with residents near the proposed sites, Wheeler outlined people in the camp will get food, electricity, restrooms, showers, laundry, storage, a pet area, transit and regular trash pickup. They will also be connected to behavioral health services in an effort to transition them into housing.
“This model is intended to connect people with services. It’s intended to do it at a scale that we can actually remove large numbers of people from the streets and into better circumstances,” the mayor said Tuesday night.
No walk-ins will be allowed. That will prevent people from lining up. Instead, outreach workers will refer people on the streets to a sanctioned camp.
“The governor has committed that she will seek to deliver and fund rigid pods, pod structures for this encampment,” Wheeler said.
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