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Portland mulls plan to ban homeless camps in the daytime

"These homeless camps … represent nothing short of a humanitarian catastrophe," Mayor Ted Wheeler said.

Published: June 1, 2023 4:07pm

The city of Portland, Ore., is considering a plan to eliminate daytime homeless camps as it struggles to deal with a growing homeless population living in its public spaces.

Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler on Wednesday highlighted the pervasiveness of the problem, saying "[t]here are currently hundreds of unsanctioned, sometimes dangerous and often squalid homeless camps across all 146 square miles of the city of Portland," according to the New York Post.

"These homeless camps … represent nothing short of a humanitarian catastrophe," he added.

Under the proposal, homeless people would still be permitted to sleep in public spaces, including parks and construction sites, but would be required to clear out their belongings before 8 a.m. They could then settle down after 8 p.m. Officially, the city does not permit round-the-clock homeless camps on public property, but the existing law remains largely unenforced.

Violations would receive two warnings before facing either a $100 fine or 30 days in jail. 

Homeless advocates contended that such a measure would force the homeless to effectively remain in transit throughout the day and likely heighten mental health issues already plaguing the homeless population.

A vote on the plan could come as soon as next week, the Post noted.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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