Hillsboro to open first managed homeless camping facility – Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon 2021-06-07 12:02:16 –

Portland, OregonPortland Tribune) — Hillsboro officials plan to open the city’s first managed camp facility for homeless people on city-owned land.

The camp is located in an undeveloped grassland west of the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Reserve and south of Southwest Wood Street, opening in mid-June and about 6 until winter shelters are available. It will last for a month.

Thirty campers have access to sanitary facilities such as portable toilets, restrooms, tents at designated heights and sleeping bags.

The facility will be supervised 24/7 by Project Homeless Connect, which managed a similar facility created by Washington County last year in Hillsboro.

The project was carried out as Hillsboro people urged the city to address the increased visibility of homeless people throughout the city, which was likely brought about by the pandemic.

Several large camps were built on public and private lands in Hillsboro as shelter options quickly reached capacity and city officials suspended camp removal work, following a pandemic recommendation from public health authorities last fall. I did.

Proponents said at the time that unlicensed camps would continue to grow without government-approved outdoor camp facilities where people could bring their belongings.

In a session discussing a project with the Hillsboro City Council on May 18, City Assistant Manager Simone Brooks said, “Many community members have heard that Hillsboro’s livability is compromised.

She added that the city has received complaints about homeless pollution and people who do not feel safe. Probably often enough, as often as complaints about lack of shelter beds and other social services. ..

City officials say the camp location was chosen to limit the negative impact on nearby businesses and residents.

The property is located near Hillsboro’s public security training facility, allowing police to easily patrol the area, said City Manager Robbie Hammond.

However, Hillsboro project manager Justin Demero said in a work session on May 18 that nearby businesses and real estate owners were opposed to the project.

Kelly Emmons, who owns two properties nearby, said during public comments before the work session that people in the area were already vandalism, property theft, and other due to her homeless people. He said he was experiencing problems.

“This project will bring about increased crime, increased pollution, and reduced value of assets,” she said. “We apply Band-Aid and have taxpayers pay for it so they don’t have to contribute or work hard like we do.”

COURTESY MAP: CITY OF HILLSBORO – A map showing the location of a new managed camp for the homeless on Hillsboro-owned land along Southwest Wood Street. Some business and real estate owners in the area have voiced opposition to this location.

City officials still don’t know how much it will cost to open a camp, a city spokeswoman Patrick Preston said. Since 2019, the city has spent about $ 440,000 to support organizations and programs that provide resources to homeless people.

According to Emmons, the city finalized the location without allowing members of the area to participate in the selection process.

She was also concerned that people did not have to pass drug tests before being allowed to stay in the camp.

Proponents argue that barriers to shelters, such as drug tests, are counterproductive to public safety because they leave people suffering from addiction without a safe place to sleep.

Project Homeless Connect Director Kim Marshall answers questions from city council members about the concerns of neighbors, and her staff keeps the camp and its surroundings free of pollution and drugs. He said he would rely on long-standing relationships with potential campers and police to do so. Use and violence.

She said Project Homeless Connect is currently working with Washington County and that the funds available in July from Metro’s housing assistance measures will directly fund on-site mental health and addiction services at the camp. He said he wanted.

Marshall also called for an educational campaign for the Hillsboro community on the root causes of homelessness and the impact of trauma on people.

“I want to test my concerns,” Marshall said. “And I really want to stop the stereotype that the homeless are violent and criminal.”

Hillsboro to open first managed homeless camping facility Source link Hillsboro to open first managed homeless camping facility

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