Since Feb. 5, when Mayor Ted Wheeler enacted an emergency ban on camping along highways and the city’s most dangerous streets, city workers have swept 50 homeless camps.
The mayor’s office provided a list of swept locations to WW on March 29.
Many of those camps were along Interstates 5, 205 and 405, including on- and off-ramps, and most were located in North and Northeast Portland. A number of camps along Southeast Powell Boulevard were also swept (see the full list here).
The mayor’s office did not immediately say whether it had data on which camps, if any, had reestablished themselves since their removal.
Wheeler says the highway camping ban is intended to reduce the number of unhoused people being hit by cars. He issued the emergency ban Feb. 5, shortly after findings by the Portland Bureau of Transportation showed 70% of pedestrians killed last year were homeless—a total of 19 people.
While some homelessness and transportation advocates criticized Wheeler’s ban as a politically motivated stunt that would make providing services to people swept from place to place, Wheeler has insisted the ban was solely for the purpose of protecting homeless Portlanders.
This past Sunday, a drunken driver ong Highway 99E in Salem crashed into a homeless encampment on an adjacent grassy bank, killing four people.