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Commissioner Dan Ryan said plans are moving forward in wake of LPGA decision to move annual tournament out of North Portland.

COURTRESY KOIN 6 NEWS - A recent Portland homeless camp.In the wake of the Ladies Professional Golf Association moving its annual tournament out of Portland because of concerns over homeless camps near the course, city leaders say they are working to locate organized villages not on streets and open spaces.

"We haven't made a clear decision yet on the size and focus but they will be throughout the city — this is a citywide challenge," said Portland City Commissioner Dan Ryan, who is the liaison to the city-Multnomah County Joint Office of Homeless Services.

According to Ryan, the city plans to open six outdoor camping villages by the end of 2021 to house hundreds of people. The undertaking will include designated areas where people can park and sleep in their vehicles. Ryan has asked city bureaus to provide a list of available properties to review by the end of June.

Officials are also ramping up efforts to physically block people from camping on sidewalks by using architecture like steel planters.

The LPGA has announced it is moving its annual location from the Columbia Edgewater Country Club on Marine Drive in Northeast Portland. Event organizers cited safety concerns due to homeless camps in the area. The tournament will instead be held from Sept. 16-19 at the Oregon Golf Club in West Linn.

The tournament director told KOIN 6 News they decided to relocate the 2021 tournament to the Oregon Golf Club in West Linn, citing the city's rise in homelessness, including the area surrounding Columbia Edgewater. They also cite the health and safety of the LPGA players, staff, fans and local community.

Tom Maletis, the president of the Tournament Golf Foundation, the non-profit that runs the Cambria Portland Classic, said, "Around the adjacent area of Columbia Edgewater, that area there's been a rise in houselessness. There's been a lot of safety issues, health issues that we had with that area being so close to the course."

Maletis noted that not far from their main entrance on Northeast 33rd is a stretch between Marine Drive and Columbia Boulevard, which he said "has been one of the worst in Portland. We've been really concerned about it because within a few hundred feet of the encampments area and a lot of the people is where 95% of our spectators, players, staff and everyone come into the Columbia Edgewater facility."

KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.

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