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Advocates are increasingly calling for it as a way to protect homeless people and enforce social distancing for people living outdoors.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Megan Cohen, Beaverton Community Services Coordinator, makes one of the beds at the city shelter at the Beaverton Community Center. Starting March 30, the shelter will be open until May 31.Portland is converting the Mt. Scott Community Center into a 60-bed temporary homeless shelter.

Officials said during a Multnomah County board meeting on Tuesday that the Portland Parks and Recreation site would be the fourth shelter that will take in residents from existing shelters and possibly other places to allow homeless people to socially distance.

Marc Jolin, head of the city-county Joint Office of Homeless Services, said that this fourth shelter might also help Right 2 Dream Too, which allows people to sleep in platform tents, distance its guests who would normally be grouped together to fit as many people as possible.

pmgThe city and Joint Office are also looking at opening outdoor spaces that could serve as organized camps.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has long resisted the idea of designated camping areas for homeless people who don't have access to shelters. But advocates are increasingly calling for it as a way to protect homeless people and enforce social distancing for people living outdoors.

Officials did not go into detail about the plan at the meeting and a Joint Office spokesman said he did not have the details about where it would be or how it would work.

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

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