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Red House on Mississippi

A family fought against displacement in Portland, OR. The community supported the Red House with an eviction blockade.

Law enforcement arrived at the house because protesters were trespassing on the home’s yard, and camping on adjacent properties.

The owners challenged the foreclosure because a moratorium was in place as shown in this video clip:

The area was in conflict causing many fights, noises, and vandalism. A lot of people were camped at the property for days. You can not camp anywhere because there are laws that state you are not allowed due to public safety. Here is a drone photo showing all the tents:

There were 652 homes in foreclosure in first half of 2022 in Oregon.

There are 1,887 unsheltered people living in Portland.

The Kinney family has appealed to the US Supreme Court.

Public camping infographic

I was struck by a sight I hadn’t anticipated: the prevalence of public camping by the homeless community.

As I wandered through the city, the contrast was stark. One moment, I was admiring the sleek, modern architecture of downtown buildings, some towering over 500 feet into the sky, and the next, I was navigating around tents and makeshift shelters that lined the sidewalks.

I remember walking down a street not far from the iconic Portlandia statue, which loomed at a grand height of 34 feet above the street, and seeing a cluster of tents that had sprung up in its shadow. The tents varied in size, some just large enough for a single person to lie down in, while others were family-sized, sprawling with tarps and blankets draped over shopping carts filled with possessions.

It was an eye-opening experience. I had read about Portland’s homelessness crisis, but seeing it firsthand was different. The people I saw were trying to make the best of their difficult circumstances. Some had created a semblance of a living space, with small camping stoves and chairs, while others kept to themselves, their faces etched with the weariness of life on the streets.

 

Problems

  1. Overcrowding: High demand for public camping spots, particularly during peak seasons, can lead to overcrowding. This can result in a lack of privacy, limited availability of campsites, and increased noise and disturbance for campers.
  2. Environmental impact: The increased foot traffic and human presence associated with public camping can have negative effects on the environment. This includes damage to vegetation and wildlife habitats, soil erosion, and the potential introduction of invasive species.
  3. Waste management: Proper disposal of human waste, trash, and food scraps is crucial for maintaining a clean and healthy environment in public camping areas. However, some campers may not follow proper waste disposal guidelines, leading to litter, pollution, and attracting wildlife to campsites.
  4. Wildlife encounters: Camping in public areas can sometimes lead to encounters with wildlife, ranging from small animals like raccoons to larger, potentially dangerous animals like bears. Improper food storage and waste disposal can attract wildlife to campsites, posing risks to both humans and animals.
  5. Campfire safety: Campfires are a popular camping activity but can pose a risk of wildfires if not managed properly. Some campers may not follow safe campfire practices, leaving fires unattended or not fully extinguishing them, increasing the risk of wildfires.
  6. Resource damage: The increased use of public camping areas can put strain on available resources, such as firewood, water, and toilet facilities. This can lead to resource depletion, longer wait times for facilities, and increased maintenance costs for park authorities.
  7. Vandalism and theft: Public camping areas can sometimes experience issues with vandalism and theft, as unattended belongings and facilities may be targeted by opportunistic individuals.
  8. Inadequate facilities: Some public camping areas may not have sufficient facilities, such as restrooms, showers, and potable water sources, to accommodate the number of campers. This can lead to unsanitary conditions and a lack of essential amenities for campers.

Portland housing infographic

Portland housing market

  • Rising prices: Portland experienced a strong increase in home prices, with the median home price surpassing $500,000 in 2021. This increase was driven by factors such as low mortgage rates, limited inventory, and a high demand for housing.
  • Limited inventory: The Portland housing market faced a shortage of available homes for sale, contributing to increased competition among buyers and driving up prices. The low inventory was partially due to the influx of new residents moving to the city and a relatively slow pace of new housing construction.
  • Rental market: The rental market in Portland also experienced rising rents and limited availability, with the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment hovering around $1,500 per month in 2023. The city’s rental market faced challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted both tenants and landlords.
  • Neighborhoods: Portland’s housing market varies by neighborhood, with some areas experiencing higher price increases and more significant demand than others. Popular neighborhoods include the Pearl District, Alberta Arts District, Hawthorne, and Mississippi Avenue, among others. Each neighborhood offers unique amenities, housing options, and community vibes.
  • New construction: In response to the limited inventory and rising demand, new housing developments and construction projects were underway in Portland.