Earlier this week, individuals in southeast Portland neighborhoods reported curious indicators on the road. The indicators have been promoting the Oregon Division of Transportation’s Protected Routes to Faculty (SRTS) program: a partnership between state, metropolis and native nonprofits to make it safer and simpler for youths to stroll, bike and roll to high school.
The one factor completely different from an official the Protected Routes to Faculty signal was an announcement on the underside that learn “No Tenting.”
These indicators – which two ODOT SRTS coordinators confirmed are unsanctioned – comes after a Metropolis of Portland ban on homeless individuals tenting alongside routes designated protected for youths to get to high school. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler issued this ban shortly earlier than the college 12 months started this fall, barring individuals from tenting in a really giant swath of the Portland space.
Wheeler’s edict spoke to an actual concern from dad and mom whose kids go to high school in areas the place there’s a whole lot of avenue and sidewalk tenting, nevertheless it provoked backlash amongst many Portlanders who felt it was a merciless and clumsy approach to method the issue.
Individuals who criticized the Mayor’s determination identified that, statistically talking, homeless individuals tenting alongside faculty strolling routes are a lot much less possible than individuals driving automobiles to be a risk to kids on their approach to faculty. As a substitute of sweeping encampments, leaving many individuals with no place to go, they mentioned Wheeler ought to deal with making streets safer for individuals touring outdoors of automobiles.
This comes at an important crossroads for Portland’s homelessness coverage. Final week, Willamette Week reported Wheeler has plans to announce yet one more tenting ban that might apply citywide. Below this plan, unhoused individuals can be moved into 500-person sanctioned tenting “campuses” throughout town – the same suggestion to the largely-unfavored thought mayoral aide Sam Adams proposed again in February.
Final week’s information in regards to the proposed citywide ban did not appear to make an enormous wave in homeless advocacy circles. Katrina Holland, who directs the housing nonprofit JOIN, posted a statement on Twitter Calling the plan a “pie within the sky” political ploy and telling Portlanders to not give the information an excessive amount of power.
Portland Metropolis Council candidate Rene Gonzalez, who has centered his marketing campaign towards opponent Jo Ann Hardesty on her method to crime and homelessness, took phrase of the potential ban as a possibility to weigh in on the state of town in a way that was alarming to many.
in a tweet, Gonzalez referred to as Portland “overrun and below siege” and prompt jailing those that proceed to camp on the streets after bans have been enforced. If Gonzalez wins a seat on Metropolis Council, homeless advocates concern his method will achieve steam and result in even worse outcomes. In latest debates and media interviews, Gonzalez has repeatedly talked about his issues about individuals dwelling on biking corridors just like the I-205 and Springwater paths.
Transportation advocacy non-profit The Road Belief, whose emblem seems on the unsanctioned indicators, tweeted a statement giving members permission to take away these indicators on their behalf.
“We assist solely confirmed, equitable packages & insurance policies to realize protected routes to high school,” TST’s tweet says.
Latest tales about the advantages of packages like Sam Balto’s viral bike buses and a rising consciousness of the lethal street circumstances on streets like Powell Blvd (which is dwelling to Cleveland Excessive Faculty) have led many individuals to champion transportation-based options to our largest security issues. Not one of the proposed options from transportation advocates embody conducting homeless camp sweeps.
It is unclear who put these indicators up. However the state of affairs speaks to a rising divide amongst Portland advocates, elected officers and most of the people about the way to deal with the problem of individuals dwelling within the public right-of-way.
Taylor has been BikePortland’s workers author since November 2021. She has additionally written for Road Roots and Eugene Weekly. Contact her de ella at firstname.lastname@example.org