Portland’s Budget For Sleep-Blocking Benches

Portland state legislator passes Portland’s $44 million Fall spending package Wednesday, which installs benches or other deterrents to stop homeless people from setting up tents near Laurelhurst Park. The Coalition of Black Men in Portland looked at the issues surrounding this and set up a private program that helps the city clean areas and remove graffiti.

The $500,000 spending on benches to stop homeless from camping near parks is what The Portland City Council tucked away to increase clean ups at homeless campsites across the city. The funding is meant to provide something more permanent than the temporary orange fences that often are put up around evicted houseless campsites. 

The proposal was submitted by the offices of Mayor Ted Wheeler,  Carmen Rubio, and Jo Ann Hardesty. The annual adjustment incorporated $62 million in unexpected one-time revenue, devoting about $18 million to homeless services and $7 million to public safety. Many Portland residents pride themselves on being friendly towards people who have fallen down in their lives, dropped out of society, have mental illness, or are drug addicts – which makes up much of the homeless population in Portland.

Mayor Ted Wheeler described the adjustment as an “action-oriented budget” that would address some of Portland’s most urgent needs until longer-term investments that the council made earlier this year can come to fruition. Commissioner Mingus Mapps touted the package of investments as a way to improve the public safety system, clean up the city and provide assistance to homeless residents and residents who are struggling to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Commissioner Dan Ryan praised his colleagues and city staff for working with Multnomah County to rapidly develop the joint $38 million homeless crisis package.