Portland, Ore. — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced at a Monday news conference that the city will begin enforcing the daytime unsanctioned camping ban, effective from November 13. The city council had passed the ordinance in June but delayed enforcement to allow time for creating sanctioned camping spaces and running a public education campaign.
Wheeler emphasized that the news conference acted as a two-week warning period before the implementation of enforcement. Following this warning, individuals found camping in unsanctioned areas will initially receive two written warnings. Subsequent non-compliance may lead to citations or arrests.
The enforcement approach will not be universally applied at the outset. Wheeler and Portland Police Chief Bob Day noted that enforcement efforts would be coordinated with street services, focusing primarily on areas posing the most significant challenges. Initially, enforcement will likely be driven by complaints from the public.
Wheeler encouraged Portland residents to contact 311 for reporting unsanctioned camping, reserving 911 for emergencies or life-threatening situations.
Day highlighted that the Portland Police Bureau’s operations branch is readying for enforcement but is still developing processes to track warning notices and assess shelter or sanctioned campsite availability before issuing citations.
Mayor Wheeler described the daytime camping ban as a step toward eventually prohibiting all unsanctioned camping citywide. However, he stressed the necessity of adequate shelter beds or sanctioned camping spaces to accommodate the homeless population.
He mentioned the city’s progress in establishing sanctioned campsites, citing the opening of the first site in Southeast Portland earlier in the year and the recent announcement of a location for the second site.
Chief Day separately unveiled a temporary walking patrol initiative planned for downtown and the inner east side during the upcoming holiday season. The initiative, set to start in about two weeks and continue into early January, aims to enhance police visibility and community engagement. Although enforcement remains a possibility, Day emphasized that it isn’t the primary objective.
The foot patrol teams, involving various PPB staff, including department leaders, may continue beyond the holiday season, but Day acknowledged the resource-intensive nature of foot patrols and the need to balance available resources against the limited area they cover.