City Stay of the “Sweeps” at Harbor View Was the Right Thing to Do Say Preble Street VP & Councilor Sykes

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On Monday night, December 18, 2023 the Portland City Council voted to stay the expected sweep of Harbor View Memorial Park until after the Christmas  holiday – until December 28th.  The vote was 7 – 2 with Mayor Mark Dion and District 3 Councilor Regina Phillips the two voting in opposition to the stay.

“Thank you to the Portlad City Council, Mayor and City Manager for lisltening to the experts on the ground, the outreach workers ad placing a stay on the Harbor View Park sweeps.  This gives us the time that is necessary to get people into shelter, housing and safety,” said Donna Yellen, VP of Strategic Initiatives, Preble Street.

Yellen’s statement continues:  “We are also appreciative to members of the clergy and the many concerned citizens who weighed in on the harmful impacts that this sweep would have had.”

“Now that there are finally beds available at the city’s Homeless Services Center we are making progress moving people from Harbor View Park encampment into shelter and housing.  We are grateful that Preble Street and other outreach workers are able to continue this work at least until December 28th, but hopefully into the new year.  We are currently working closely with more than 30 people to addres their barriers or any concerns to get them into shelter or housing; this is a group of people that needs lots of support to keep moving towards positive outcomes, so this time is exceptionally valuable,” concluded Yellen in her statement to mhn.com.

“The resolution we passed was not an ordinance but rather a non-binding statement to bring attention to some of the evidence based public health research that shows how counterproductive sweeps are to our goal of filling the shelter.  We have newly available beds and it takes time to fill them.  The curfew has been extended to 11.  New options are available for people with pets, and we hope to get more options for people with substance use disorders soon,” said Kate Sykes, newly elected city councilor to District 5.  “Outreach workers are having success getting folks to agree to come to the HSC and sweeping right now would disrupt those gains.  I think the City Manager was smart to delay.  We’ve spent a lot of time,  money and staff hours building a public health response to our homeless crisis and the city is doing the right thing to try to see that through.” Sykes concluded her remarks.

For more background information on the anticipated “Sweep” of Harbor View Memorial Park, please visit post herein dated December 15, 2023.

 

2 thoughts on “City Stay of the “Sweeps” at Harbor View Was the Right Thing to Do Say Preble Street VP & Councilor Sykes

  1. A modest proposal: move the camp over the bridge to Buglight park. There is room there for people to stay as long as people stayed in camps during the Great Depression when camps lasted as long as 10 years. This musical chairs game of camp removal is getting to be too much like “whackamole”. People have to exist somewhere and landlords storing up stashes of cash instead of housing people spells disaster.

    • Robert, thank you for your thoughtful proposal which makes a lot of sense to me. Did not know that was a camp during the depression for those who needed it. Very interesting. Pprtland city officials are very rigid and uncreative in their approach to life here. They need to see the other side and possibilities that exist rather than seeing the homeless population in a negative light. With Bulldog Dion as Mayor now that change in attitude will be a real challenge. Carol

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