Mayor Wheeler holds ‘Community Conversation’ to discuss temporary shelter site

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 9:04 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - On Tuesday night, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler held the first of two “Community Conversations” about a temporary alternative shelter site proposed for Southeast Portland. The site would initially house about 150 people and is the first of six sites the city is planning to establish.

The shelter site is on the 1400 block of Gideon Street. Initially, there was talk about setting up 100 tents there but the Mayor says he’s been in talks with Governor Tina Kotek and the Governor has said she will work on delivering and funding pods rather than tents for the site. The pods will be more sturdy and better protect residents from the elements.

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The city says there are more than 800 individual campsites scattered across Portland. People at these sites often lack services such as running water, restroom, trash service and access to health care. The city plans to offer these services at the temporary shelter sites.

One concern raised at the community listening session had to do with the size of the camp and whether having 150 people crowded onto one site makes sense. The mayor says there will be one staff person for every 15 residents and he believes that will help provide the level of attention a smaller encampment might provide.

Weapons will not be allowed on site and drugs and alcohol will not be allowed in public spaces.