Wapato Beats Shanty Towns

Unused bunks at Wapato [Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian]
Unused bunks at Wapato [Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian]
This winter is has been cold, wet and cruel for those forced to live on the streets.

One of Portland’s responses has been to authorize the creation of ad-hoc shanty towns. Unregulated homeless camps are growing all over Portland – most recently at North Greeley called Hazelnut Grove.

City Commissioner Amanda Fritz recently told KGW  Every neighborhood in Portland will be asked to find a spot to put a homeless camp.” Is that leadership, for is Fritz sweeping the homeless problem “under the rug” in neighborhoods all over the city?

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We think that opening the Wapato facility as a homeless shelter is a much better idea. Join us by signing a petition to open Wapato as part of a comprehensive plan to address the needs of Portland’s homeless. The county spent millions building Wapato and it continues to waste tax dollars maintaining the facility as it sits empty.

Wapato can be a low/no barrier shelter, a place of safety, a place to get cleaned up, and provided proper meals and nutrition. With co-located services, Wapato can also be a place to get signed up for benefits and prepares those residents for short/long term housing.

A recent Street Roots editorial agrees, stating that opening Wapato, “… gives everyone meals, showers, lockers for storage, laundry and a place to sleep….  moving the programs from the other locations into the one place [Wapato], …  saves tax dollars.”

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