The Portland City Council and city staff are using the wrong approach to both exploring and developing solutions regarding services for people experiencing homelessness.

First, the city is wrongly pitting one neighbor against another to deal with what is a city-as-a-whole problem. Putting the weight of all of this on one neighborhood is the wrong approach. It was wrong for Bayside, and it’s wrong for wherever is next.

City Hall missed its chance at a better process to figure this out during their rushed comprehensive planning process. This issue needed a thorough discussion with residents from across the city, who are then involved in the design process for what comes next. Instead, City Hall is getting booed because they are using outdated approaches to city planning.

Second, investing $10 million in a bigger shelter is the wrong investment. The solution to homelessness is homes. There is well-documented success in “housing first” models here in Portland and across the country. That more permanent housing is not part of the recommendation in front of the City Council is frustrating.

Hopefully, City Hall doesn’t keep repeating its mistakes in planning, leaving one neighborhood to bear the responsibility for the entire city for the next 30 years. Hopefully, money is used to invest in real solutions, not a bigger Band-Aid.

Adam Burk