Portland, known for its good food and quirky atmosphere, has been suffering a mass homelessness problem for the past few years. Last year, the Portland City Council declared a housing emergency until October 2016, with plans to construct new apartments for low income residents.
With that deadline fast approaching, Portland City Council is indicating it will extend the housing emergency status for another year to October 2017 as there are too many Portlanders in need of shelter. City officials hope to expedite the construction of various housing facilities.
Despite pledging to open 475 shelter beds, and working to open a large shelter on city-owned property, officials took heat for planned sweeps of the Springwater Corridor scheduled for Thursday.
Ibrahim Mubarak, a co-founder of the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp, called on officials to stop sweeps of homeless Portlanders who lack housing. And Chloe Eudaly, a City Council candidate, said the city's declared housing emergency has not produced "meaningful progress" on shelter space, tenant protections or skyrocketing rents.
Recognizing the plight of Portland's situation, Mayor Charlie Hales said the city's "crisis" is "acute." Although the housing emergency approved last October was supposed to last only a year, with the potential for six-month extensions, Hales last week proposed a three-year expansion.