SALEM, OR (KPTV) – Salem is paying for port-a-potties and hand-washing stations at a growing homeless camp in an effort to create more sanitary conditions. The move comes as council members approved an ordinance to regulate camping on sidewalks and public spaces.

ARCHES, a homeless services organization, installed the port-a-potties this week off Union Street Northeast and Commercial Street.

The decision to place the port-a-potties stems from continued sanitary issues, a city spokesperson says, including trash, human feces, and other junk.

Brady Rogers, the administrator for the neighborhood Advancement Division, says he was considering declaring the homeless camp a public nuisance this week, but instead decided to have the city pay for nine toilets and two hand-washing stations. The city has also offered to pay for daily trash pickup.

Rogers says he changed his mind when this week when roughly 1,200 pounds of garbage was cleaned up at the site. ARCHES says that even though the site is not technically its property, they’re responsible for the upkeep around the shelter, and they’ve been trying to keep the area clean.

People living at the site say they try to keep the area clean and welcome the city’s help.

I think it's better than not getting to use the restroom when we need it,” Joshawa Miley said.

Miley says he has to use the bathroom sometimes in the middle of the night.

“I have nowhere to go–I'm sorry, but your front step is better than anywhere else,” Miley said.

The city is paying for the sanitary help through its Blight to Bright Program, which collects money through penalties from dangerous and derelict properties.

The port-a-potties and hand-washing stations are temporary, the city says. The ordinance to regulate camping in public spaces goes into effect Dec. 16. Officers say they will work with social service agencies to enforce it. They say they typically give at least a 24-hour notice for people to move.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(4) comments


Just more enabling vagrants here in good old Salem. Instead of supplying these things, the city needs to make it difficult to be here so these people will move on. And adding toilets and sinks isn't going to help. These people will continue to leave feces and trash wherever they feel like it. We have got to stop condoning and pandering to these people.

DB Cooper

Cherry, you have condoned a Church for accepting all of god's children, and now you are condoning the aid of those in need. Wow, Jesus would be so proud of you're hate.


The city of Salem did not pay for these...the tax payers did. And I, for one, am not pleased. Instead of solving the problem, the politicians and bleeding hearts liberals keep putting band aids on it and encouraging the behavior. It is well documented that homelessness is a mental health issue. Lets start treating it that way, then we can solve the problem rather than feed the problem.


This homless crisis is crazy everywhere why dont the city leaders come together and offer opportunities for the homeless like offering "homeless" people jobs and housing around the city they are destroying. Then each person can pay weekly, monthly ect for housing to the city for the building and be able to buy food get rehabilitation ,counseling ect ect. So many empty buildings everywhere this will create jobs and solve alot of problems. Whats putting up toilets going to do? Its only going to get worse

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