The North Park Blocks is proud to be selected to host a display of more than a dozen attractive, innovative, and portable “sleeping pods” in downtown Portland—many of them created by premier Portland architecture firms. Partners On Design (POD) Initiative is a collection of architects, design students, and others, all bringing their best ideas for small structures the public might accept in their neighborhoods.
Using $35,500 in city funding, and leveraging ideas from some of Portland’s top design minds, the effort has been working since early October toward an exhibition in the city’s North Park Blocks from December 9 to 11 at the north end of the blocks near PNCA. In all, 14 innovative prototypes will be on display.
Reprinted from ABC news Gillian Flaccus, AP — Sep 7, 2016 Link
There have always been homeless people in Portland, but last summer Michelle Cardinal noticed a change outside her office doors.
Almost overnight, it seemed, tents popped up in the park that runs like a green carpet past the offices of her national advertising business. She saw assaults, drug deals and prostitution. Every morning, she said, she cleaned human feces off the doorstep and picked up used needles.
“It started in June and by July it was full-blown. The park was mobbed,” she said. “We’ve got a problem here and the question is how we’re going to deal with it.”
The city is booming, and the homeless are more visible than ever before. Skyrocketing rents, cripplingly low vacancy rates and a severe shortage of affordable housing are forcing Portland to re-examine its live-and-let-live attitude in a place where residents have long been tolerant of everything but intolerance.
And in a city where the mayor says “unhoused” instead of homeless and where tent camps have names like Dignity Village and Right 2 Dream Too instead of Skid Row and The Jungle, residents are wondering if Portland needs to rethink its strategy as a permanent solution seems ever-more elusive.
“The city doesn’t have a coherent approach to … really enforcing any type of rules about where people can camp,” said Chris Trejbal, who lives near a homeless camp called Hazelnut Grove.
“It’s been a disaster. There’s no leadership.”
The issue peaked this year when Portland declared a homeless state of emergency and Mayor Charlie Hales made it legal to sleep on city streets.
At the same time, Portland welcomed 1,000 new residents a month and the average rent has increased about $100 a month. The metropolitan area needs 24,000 more affordable housing units; vacancy rates are some of the lowest in the nation.
“It’s white hot, people want to move here and live here, as well they should. It’s an amazing city . but our zoning and our planning process is really behind the curve in terms of providing flexible and affordable living arrangements,” said Mayor-Elect Ted Wheeler. “It has not caught up with the new reality.”
Part of that reality is the nearly 1,900 unsheltered people who camp from Portland’s downtown core to its rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods to the forested areas along the urban fringe. A one-night count last year found the overall number of homeless people hasn’t increased significantly, but the number of chronically homeless has risen steadily to make up about half of the total population.
Portland has earmarked $250 million for affordable housing and has a $250 million housing bond on the November ballot.
The city has also joined forces with Multnomah County to tackle the crisis head-on with $43 million in funding; leaders in a new coalition want to cut homelessness by half in three years.
Yet there is a potent belief that the city isn’t doing enough because homelessness suddenly seems everywhere.
There aren’t enough short-term beds while Portland works at long-term solutions. When one camp is shut down, another pops up.
After letting up to 500 homeless people live for months along a 21-mile bike trail in southeast Portland, the city cracked down and last week uprooted a network of tents, some of them stuffed with armchairs and couches.
Neighbor LaDawna Booze had called police repeatedly to report drug use, theft and excessive noise there.
“I haven’t been out in my own yard in a few years. I feel like I’m watched everywhere,” she said. “It’s changed my life.”
Booze isn’t alone. The issue was a constant in this spring’s mayoral campaign and it dominates the local news. Since June, 5,000 people have called a hotline to complain about homeless camps, according to The Oregonian/OregonLive.
Hales, who dropped out of the race for re-election, has struggled to find a common ground between upset business leaders and homeowners and homeless advocates, who feel the city is shuttling the homeless around with no plan.
He was sued after announcing his “safe sleep” policy, but the city was sued again last month after commissioners voted to proceed with plans to turn a vacant industrial warehouse into a 400-bed homeless shelter.
Suggestions to house the unsheltered in a mothballed jail have been slammed for symbolically criminalizing homelessness but a state land use board killed a plan last week to move a city-sanctioned tent village to industrial land.
“You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t so you’d better ‘do,’ because no good deed goes unpunished when it comes to homelessness,” said Hales, who ended the ‘safe sleep’ policy after six months.
Those on the streets are craving answer as the cold and rain of a Portland winter approach.
Deitra Schmer moved into an RV when the city swept the Springwater Corridor. She has nowhere else to go and says she couldn’t keep her job as a certified nursing assistant because she had no stability.
“You can’t move every 10 days or every three days and keep your job. It just doesn’t work,” she said. “Not to have to worry about where I’m going to lay my head — that’s my biggest issue.”
Tips from m Laureen Paulsen Community Outreach / Public Information, Portland/Multnomah County 9-1-1
The 4th of July holiday is perhaps the busiest time of the year for Portland BOEC / Multnomah County 9-1-1. Both legal and illegal fireworks being used in our neighborhoods will result in thousands of non-emergency fireworks and noise complaint calls over the course of the next few days. Many illegal fireworks can be seen for miles, and can result in dozens of calls about the same incident and engage several call takers.
4th of July fireworks reporting tips:
Where there is a true and immediate threat to life and property such as an injury or a fire – call 9-1-1.
To report illegal fireworks (without fire/injury) or fireworks related noise complaints, call (503) 823-3333.
Be patient – if you find yourself in the holding queue, it’s because all call takers are busy. Hanging up and calling back will likely land you deeper in the holding queue.
We understand your frustration with the noise and chaos, but please DO NOT call 9-1-1 unless you have a life threatening emergency and need immediate response from Police, Fire, or EMS.
“The Good , The Bad And The Homeless” Reviewed on Trip Advisor – June 14, 2016
We stayed in the Pearl District in condo for a few months. Here is the good, and the bad . A must see is Powell’s Bookstore it the biggest bookstore it has a cool factor. The Chinese Garden is must see as well. A list of places for good food worth mentioning, Piazza Italia , Brics, Irving Kitchen, Khao San, Thai Bloom, Touché, Merriweathers has great food and breakfast on weekends,but pricey. Swagat for amazing East- Indian food. For sweets , Jones cupcake and Salt & Straw for ice-cream noted for it’s originality, but expect a long wait. Papa Haydens is long time Portland favorite. The very best coffee is at Nossa Familia, and another place is Via Deliza great coffee and breakfast…a place you can read the newspaper in a very relaxing atmosphere . An absolutely excellent breakfast and lunch is St Honores , this is a bustling place. The best food cart where people line up to get a healthy bowl, is the Whole Bowl. Music scene is good if you hit it right. Tons of shops people seem to like NW 23rd. Now here is the bad, the air quality was really bad, I suspect it is from all the carbon monoxide from the freeways and the industrial area is next door so the air streams carry all that fumes into the Pearl. I really do not think humans are meant to live so close to an industrial area or freeways! We never opened our windows even at 1 am it wasn’t just the bad air quality it the early morning garbage service for the bars, millions of glass bottles being dumped into garbage trucks and of course the beeping sounds the trucks make. We were up was up quite a few floors from ground level and it was still annoying. For ladies, I would avoid carrying a purse from what I’ve seen there it is best to be safe, than sorry. Portland has had a population explosion and along with it came crime and apparently enough homeless to fill a small town. There are so many homeless, and mentally ill on the streets it is a shocking! Every single week , I would see broken glass on the ground apparently, from car break ins. doesn’t matter if it is day or night! The parking is difficult, and the rates are outrageous a quarter buys you seven minutes on the meter, but parking is free after 7pm after the happy hour and dinner crowd leaves the city if that makes any sense it at all?. At night, the Pearl is younger louder party crowd emerges. We were in a very nice high-rise condo which has a big homeless village 1/2 block away that are burning wood in the late night to stay warm and you can smell the fumes and then throw in the crime, and super bad air quality and the noise level and place start losing points fast. Why pay a premium price to live or even stay in a place like this? The Pearl is great place to visit . Now remember to bring you wallet and make sure it is full because Portland is expensive! Be sure to check out the breweries, We liked Fat Head’s Brewery for beers from the U.K. Henry Brewery has great beer and great atmosphere. Our favorite was Portland Brewery grab a table outside and experience ( what a local told me )a place that still reflects what Portland was once like. This place has a different feeling, than rest of NW Portland and great food to boot, and few screens so you can catch the game. If we return to Portland we would stay in a hotel on the SW side of Portland and catch a cab to the Pearl. Portland has a serious problems with a large homeless population problem that needs to be addressed.
A pair of high-flying Portland developers hope to build support for a $100 million-plus homeless campus to serve as a “one-stop-shop” for 1,400 people in search of nightly shelter and on-site assistance. Full story