PORTLAND, Ore. -- The city of Portland is prepared to pay a research and mediation group, operating from Portland State University’s campus, up to $40,000 to evaluate the circumstances surrounding homeless camping along the Springwater Corridor.
That’s the estimated bill, says Steve Greenwood, program manager for Oregon Solutions, a local arm of the National Policy Consensus Center.
He says, for a couple months now, he and his staff have been working to better understand the population living on the 21-mile path and the concerns of those who travel on it.
It’s a complex problem, he says, because the path runs through multiple cities and counties, each with their own laws and law enforcement agencies.
The problem was made all the more apparent recently, when parts of the corridor played host to horrific headlines, including a violent rape, police said, in Gresham and a mutilated and killed puppy in Portland.
Monday, the director of a youth bike camp cancelled 2016’s summer session, arguing the trail had become too dangerous.
Finding ways to make the corridor safer involves bringing all agencies with a stake in Springwater, including local non-profits, to the same table.
“We want to make sure that this collaboration is something that not only can be useful to get a solution but also wouldn't be happening otherwise,” he said. “Part of our job in doing this assessment is to sort of find out what's already happening and are people happy with what’s happening or do they need something in addition to that.”
Greenwood said Tuesday his staff plans to turn over their findings to the city by the end of the week.
After that they hope to host sit-down meetings with local municipalities, law enforcement agencies and nonprofits with jurisdiction over the corridor, with the eventual goal of crafting new policies aimed at improving safety on the path by mid-June.
A spokesman for Mayor Charlie Hales’ office said Tuesday they hope other cities will help foot the bill, but Greenwood said none have stepped up yet.