It's been more than two years since Portland has seen an official census of homeless people living on the streets.
That's two years of wondering: Is the housing crisis causing more homelessness?
The definitive answer comes as early as next month, when Multnomah County will release results of what's known as the point-in-time count, a census of people living on the streets during one week in February.
But already, there are early indications that a longtime social ill in Portland remains without solutions.
Reports of homeless camps spike.
Last week, Portlanders filed a record number of reports of homeless camps with the city. Jen Clodius, who tracks the data for the city's Office of Management and Finance, says it's not clear why the city saw a spike.
March 20-26: 503
March 13-19: 402
March 6-12: 354
Feb. 27-March 5: 387
Reports of transient vehicles rise.
Vehicles reported to Portland officials as housing people since June 13, 2016: 599
Vehicles reported to Portland officials as housing people in the week ending March 26, 2017: 108
Reports of used needles spike.
Downtown Clean & Safe, the security and janitorial nonprofit run by the Portland Business Alliance, keeps a record of "sharps"—needles used to inject intravenous drugs—removed annually from public rights of way in downtown. That number nearly doubled in one year. Lynnae Berg, executive director of the group, attributes the rise not simply to an increasing number of homeless people but to heroin use "skyrocketing" nationwide. "It's not just a Portland problem," she says.
Needles recovered in 2015: 9,897
Needles recovered in 2016: 16,882