As the City Increases Camp Cleanups, It Wants Permission to Sweep State Land, Too



As the City Increases Camp Cleanups, It Wants Permission to Sweep State Land, Too

The city of Portland wants more say on who camps next to I-205, and who has to go. Oregon legislators might be ready to help out.

A bill that received a hearing before a legislative committee this morning could curb a disconnect that's long proved thorny in East Portland: the separate sets of rules by which the city of Portland and Oregon Department of Transportation clear out homeless camps. House Bill 4054 would do away with that by allowing ODOT to contract with the city to carry out its camp sweeps.

It's a move proponents—including the entire Portland city council—say would create more consistency. But some worry it will only result in increased sweeps, at a time when the city is clearing up more campsites than ever.

"Everybody knows that homelessness and homeless shelters and homeless camping is a problem that we need to deal with," state Sen. Rod Monroe, an East Portland legislator and one of he bill's chief sponsors, told members of the House Committee on Transportation Policy this morning. "The problem today is that you often have homeless camps that are set up on land that is controlled by ODOT."

Monroe tacked on a sentiment that many activists would disagree with: "The city of Portland has had a lot of experience moving homeless camps to places where they’re safe."

Get Email Updates