Portland Launches Interactive Map to Track Homeless Encampments

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In a bid to better manage the homeless crisis, Portland's Impact Reduction Program has introduced a new interactive map, providing detailed tracking of homeless encampments throughout the city.

Key Features of the New Encampment Map

The newly launched map offers a comprehensive view of reported encampments and their status, from the initial report to the final cleanup. This tool marks a significant improvement over the previous system, which only listed the number of reports and cleanups weekly.

Now, users can see the entire process, including:

  • Initial Reports: Locations where encampments are reported.
  • Assessment: Evaluations conducted by the city's impact reduction team.
  • Citations and Cleanups: Details on when camps are cited for cleanup, the reasons for removal, and the actual cleanup dates.

Char Pennie from the Lents Neighborhood Livability Association highlighted areas like Powell, 92nd and Powell, 82nd and Powell, and Division Street as significant spots on the map.

Tracking Patterns and Impact

Abigail Smock from the Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association expressed interest in the evolving data, noting, “I’m looking to see how it evolves in the next few years or next six months when we have the data to see the patterns that exist.” This new data-driven approach aims to reveal cycles of postings and removals, potentially informing more effective interventions.

Historical Data and Removal Criteria

The map includes data dating back to July 2022, detailing:

  • Reported Locations: When and where campsites were reported.
  • City Assessments: The city's evaluation of each site.
  • Cleanup Actions: Details on citations and cleanups.

Encampments are removed based on risk factors, including size, obstruction of public or ADA access, presence of drug paraphernalia or crime, and impact on the environment and community livability.

Outreach and Support Efforts

The IRP is committed to supporting those in need during the cleanup process. A removal notice is posted three to 10 days prior to the cleanup, during which outreach workers strive to connect individuals with services. According to a spokesperson, “Our teams make multiple outreach attempts ahead of time and those who we make contact with are offered an immediately available shelter bed, transportation to the shelter with belongings, and storage for additional belongings.”

Encampments returning within 10 days are cleaned up again, while those reappearing later are cited anew. Special attention is given to high-crash corridors and safe walking routes to schools, where camping is not permitted.

Looking Forward: Solutions Beyond Cleanup

The cycle of postings and removals signals a need for broader solutions. As Smock pointed out, “Now we have public records of encampments being logged and cleared. That’s really great. Let’s see progress, and what that progress would look like is not a return to encampments but for those individuals to find affordable housing.”

This new map represents a crucial step in managing Portland’s homeless crisis, providing transparency and accountability while highlighting the need for long-term housing solutions.

Portland Homeless Map