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The organized tent camps are intended to try to contain spread of COVID-19 among the homeless

PMG FILE PHOTO - The original Right 2 Dream Too shelter is an early example of an unofficial organized homeless camp in Portland.Portland will open three organized camps for homeless people during the COVID-19 crisis — an unprecedented step for a city that has long resisted sanctioned camping.

The three sites — two on Southeast Water Avenue and one near the westside base of Broadway Bridge — will also group residents in a way that has rarely been done in Portland shelters. One site will give priority to LGBTQ people and one for people of color. Anyone who wants the services specific to those sites will also be allowed to camp there. The third site will be for everyone, with an emphasis on older people.

Each location will have 45 tents on platforms with cots inside for an individual person or couple. The city will provide sleeping bags and tents to ensure they are clean and hygienic. People will be able to store their belongings, including their own tents and sleeping bags, while staying at the camp.

The camps are intended to be temporary measures to group people near bathrooms, showers and other amenities to help insulate them from the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes the disease. Each tent will be on a 12-foot-by-12-foot plot of land and separated by a fence from the next tent.

Officials say they will comply with social distancing measures and will be routinely disinfected.

This Oregonian/OregonLive story is shared as part of a local media project to increase COVID-19 news coverage.

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