Portland Cannot Ignore “Low-Impact” Camps
A proposed ordinance aims to deprioritize some homeless camps considered “low impact”
By Mia Tiwana
This week, Portland City Council will consider new rules for homeless camp clean-ups. If approved, the city will “deprioritize” camps considered “low impact.” But, what makes a camp low impact?
The city says a camp is low impact if it’s 150 feet away from a childcare facility, preschool, or primary school. That’s a 30-second walk. I’m sure most parents would think having a sprawling homeless camp less than a minute from their kids’ school isn’t low impact.
Once kids hit high school, the Council’s new rule says a camp is low impact if it’s only ten feet—or just 20 seconds away.
But, it gets worse. The city won’t clear camps more than ten feet away from a residential or commercial building. In front of your home is a no-no. But, across the street from your house is okay in the city’s eyes.
The proposed ordinance turns a blind eye to the devastating toll the camps have taken on Portland. They’re more than just a visual blight, they’re a public health and safety nuisance. When camps pop up in a neighborhood, they bring garbage, crime, and violence. They are a danger to the community and to the campers themselves.
There is no such thing as a low-impact camp because small camps can grow into sprawling camps in a matter of days. Ignoring low-impact camps only redistributes the problem, it doesn’t solve the problem.
The city must find enough shelter space to begin cleaning up all camps.
Mia Tiwana is a Research Associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.
Glenn Gailis MD
We used to live in Portland. We now have absolutely no desire to live there or visit. Portland is a mess. I used to be proud of Portland and now it is an embarrassment. Forget going to downtown Portland to a conference as I have no interest in spending any time in that once beautiful city. It is a lawless mess. You need a drastic change in leadership and to reinstitute law and order.
Comments are closed.