Portland mayor to centralize services to fight homelessness

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler will use his executive powers to create a new homeless service hub within the city government, streamlining the work of various departments that interact with people living outside.

Wheeler made the announcement at a Wednesday news conference. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the mayor will use his emergency powers to enact a Street Services Coordination Center, overseen by Community Safety Director Mike Myers, a former Portland fire chief and emergency management director.

Wheeler’s plan appears to be an attempt to break down the city’s rigid silos when it comes to addressing homelessness.

According to the draft, city staff whose work brings them into contact with people living on the streets will now report to the coordination center for that aspect of their jobs.

The emergency order will be the third in two months that the mayor issued related to homelessness. On Feb. 4, Wheeler barred people from setting up tents near busy roadways and, last week, he signed an order to expedite the process for citing safe rest villages.