SALEM, OR (KPTV) – The city of Salem is winding down its Park Camping program for people experiencing homelessness and now they are working on shelter options.
Campers were cleaned out on Thursday at Wallace Marine Park with work crews, police and heavy machinery. Back in January the Salem City Council declared a housing emergency. The council approved overnight camping in unincorporated areas of two parks, Wallace Marine and Cascade Getaway, for both spots that ended just a few days ago on June 1.
Each park had about 200 tents and now a city spokesperson says their goals are to bring back the parks’ original use and environmental compliance. They told FOX 12 there have been outreach efforts for campers for months. Now workers are moving about 10 to 15 tents per day.
With a lack of shelters, the city is working on options like looking at vacant lots and unrented buildings. Earlier this year the city put up a pallet shelter community run by a non-profit which it says has been successful.
In a few weeks the council will consider a 3 million dollar change to the budget to pay for outdoor managed campsites, a year of expenses for an indoor shelter and money for a new hotel shelter conversion.
The city also got a 5 million dollar grant for a navigation center which is in the works. That will help with things like health needs and getting permanent housing.