"More than 3,000 people are living without shelter in Portland,

a 50% jump from 2019"

Source: US News


As homeless encampments in the city of Portland have become increasingly more apparent, city leaders are torn over whether or not to create sanctioned camping sites. As a result, the Portland City Council has taken this matter into consideration. After casting a vote, only one Council member opposed the idea of sanctioning campsites, stating that this is only a bandaid and a more permanent solution is the only way to help in the homeless crisis.
On the contrary, many citizens are sharing their full support for this measure. One Portland resident told the Associated Press that she was “enthusiastic” about the proposed idea as their neighborhood had been taken over by camping – she wants change. Another resident, who himself had experienced homelessness for over a decade, fears that creating these sanctioned sights is dangerous and could result in violence and conflict. The community is torn on this issue.
Opponents of this resolution believe that outlawing camping in most areas criminalizes homelessness, placing a punishment where there should be assistance. For instance, in the proposed idea for sanctioned camping sites, those who refuse to move could be given a citation; however, those charged can be directed towards recovery and psychological services in lieu of jail time.
Other cities, such as Denver and Austin, have implemented sanctioned camping sites before Portland, citing research that banning camping and sanctioning sites is simply a quicker way to provide housing than building new housing. Many worry, though, that this is not a solution, and the only way to end homelessness is to create real affordable housing, not by banning camping.