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Faux ‘No Tenting’ indicators use State of Oregon Secure Routes to College emblem


The unauthorized signal. (Photograph: The Road Belief)

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 Secure Routes to College (SRTS) program: a partnership between state, metropolis and native nonprofits to make it safer and simpler for teenagers to stroll, bike and roll to high school.

The one factor completely different from an official the Secure Routes to College 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 secure for teenagers to get to high school. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler issued this ban shortly earlier than the varsity yr started this fall, barring individuals from tenting in a very massive swath of the Portland space.

Wheeler’s edict spoke to an actual concern from mother and father whose youngsters go to high school in areas the place there may be numerous avenue and sidewalk tenting, nevertheless it provoked backlash amongst many Portlanders who felt it was a merciless and clumsy strategy to strategy the issue. 

Individuals who criticized the Mayor’s determination identified that, statistically talking, homeless individuals tenting alongside college strolling routes are a lot much less seemingly than individuals driving vehicles to be a menace to youngsters on their strategy to college. As a substitute of sweeping encampments, leaving many individuals with no place to go, they mentioned Wheeler ought to give attention to making streets safer for individuals touring outdoors of vehicles. 

This comes at a vital 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. Beneath this plan, unhoused individuals could be moved into 500-person sanctioned tenting “campuses” throughout town – an identical 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 didn’t appear to make an enormous wave in homeless advocacy circles. Katrina Holland, who directs the housing nonprofit JOIN, posted an announcement 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 in opposition to opponent Jo Ann Hardesty on her strategy to crime and homelessness, took phrase of the potential ban as a chance to weigh in on the state of town in a fashion that was alarming to many. 

In a tweet, Gonzalez referred to as Portland “overrun and underneath siege” and steered 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 strategy 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 an announcement giving members permission to take away these indicators on their behalf. 

“We help solely confirmed, equitable applications & insurance policies to attain secure routes to high school,” TST’s tweet says. 

Current tales about the advantages of applications like Sam Balto’s viral bike buses and a rising consciousness of the lethal street situations on streets like Powell Blvd (which is dwelling to Cleveland Excessive College) have led many individuals to champion transportation-based options to our largest security issues. Not one of the proposed options from transportation advocates embrace conducting homeless camp sweeps.

It’s 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 how one can tackle the problem of individuals dwelling within the public right-of-way.



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