Portland, OR

Wednesday in Portland: Wheeler discusses 'off-ramps from homelessness,' Ticket to Dine offers prizes for dining downtown

Emily Scarvie

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(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Wednesday, March 22 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Wheeler discusses new 'off-ramps from homelessness'

Hundreds of southeast Portland residents attended a virtual meeting to question Mayor Ted Wheeler about his plan to put in a sanctioned, managed homeless campsite for up to 150 adults. The Portland City Council voted to approve a ban on unsanctioned camping in November, and instead manage large, sanctioned sites. The overall plan is to have six sites around the city for three years.

People most affected by the site near Southeast Gideon and Powell had several questions for Wheeler. During the meeting, Wheeler outlined that people in the camp will receive food, electricity, restrooms, showers, laundry, storage, a pet area, transit and regular trash pickup. They will also be connected to behavioral health services. No walk-ins will be allowed. Outreach workers will refer people living on the streets to a sanctioned camp.

When residents asked about safety protocols for schools in the area, Wheeler said, “We know that there is a safe route to school immediately adjacent to this proposed site. We will absolutely work to ensure that is a safe route.”

As for weapons and drug use, service providers said people will be asked to check in those items at the gate, but they won’t be policing the property when they leave. There will also be a 15-1 client-to-staff ratio at the camp, as well as a 24/7 hotline to report issues.

2. Two Oregon cities among the top places to see cherry blossoms in the world

It’s spring and that means cherry blossoms are blooming. Travel website Trips to Discover ranked the 14 best places in the world to view cherry blossoms, and two Oregon cities made the list. Portland and Salem, along with two other West Coast cities - Seattle and San Francisco - made the list. Oregon was the only U.S. state to snag two spots on the list.

According to the site, Portland has “many fabulous spots to discover canopies of the pink and white blossoms.” It specifically recommends that visitors check out the Portland Japanese Garden, Washington Park and Hoyt Arboretum. It noted that the “most popular place for viewing” is Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

3. Ticket to Dine offering Portlanders prizes for dining at Old Town, downtown restaurants

Ticket to Dine is giving Portlanders an extra incentive to support restaurants in Old Town and downtown for a chance to win prizes. For every entree purchased at participating restaurants, diners will receive a scratch off ticket. Available prizes include a staycation, a Portland sports package or tickets to see Janet Jackson.

Lisa Schroeder, of Mother’s Bistro, said Ticket to Dine can help boost foot traffic downtown, especially as restaurant’s are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Schroeder added, “It’s just a fun way to get people down, maybe it takes a little extra push nowadays, but this is definitely a fun way to eat and play.”

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