A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany picks site for homeless camping

Written June 6th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

This lot at Ninth and Jackson is where city officials plan to put a homeless camping site. The first two neighboring houses in the background are owned by the Helping Hands shelter.

No suprise: Albany’s official camp site for homeless people will be in a part of town that already has become something like Homeless Central.

In a press release from City Hall this morning, officials said that property at the corner of Jackson Street and Ninth Avenue best meets the requirements for the homeless camp the city council voted last month to authorize in order to meet state and federal law.

The city owns the corner property at 503 Ninth Ave. S.E., a grassy and otherwise vacant lot of 4,160 square feet. The properties flanking it, another vacant lot on Jackson and a house on Ninth, are owned by the Helping Hands homeless shelter farther down on Ninth.

The city also owns two other vacant lots nearby, 817 Jackson and 519 Ninth.

Planning for this project was still going on, city spokesman Matt Harrington said later today, but the tentative plan was to allow tents on the corner lot and vehicles at 817 Jackson.

The morning announcement said: “City-owned property at the intersection of 9th Avenue SE and Jackson Street SE was identified that best meets the requirements of HB 3115 and the new municipal code. The City will begin site preparation, develop a plan for ongoing cleanup and maintenance needs, and begin outreach soon to those affected by these changes.”

The House bill mentioned takes effect July 1. It says cities can’t enforce no-camping rules unless they provide a place for homeless people to stay.

Under an ordinance the Albany council passed on May 24, the city manager is to designate a permitted camping site and may also allow churches and “transitional shelter groups” to host camp sites, with requirements on space, sanitation and other things.

Outside those designated places, camping on public or private property remains illegal.

The properties at Ninth and Jackson are all zoned “light industrial.” The block involved here is below the Pacific Boulevard viaduct, hemmed in by the highway on two sides and industrial uses on the other two. All but two properties on the block are owned by the city of Albany or Helping Hands.

Down the block on Jackson, there’s the Second Chance homeless shelter operated by C.H.A.N.C.E., a nonprofit recovery organization.

The city said: “Staff from the community development, fire, police, parks and recreation, and public works departments evaluated City-owned properties that met the criteria of HB 3115 and were located near existing services like those offered by City partners such as C.H.A.N.C.E. and Helping Hands.”

Route 2 of the Albany Transit System goes right past the corner lot. It circles through most of Albany before it gets to any services, but this and other routes will be replaced soon by routes intended to be more direct. (hh)

This lot , 817 Jackson, in front of the house at 819 Jackson, also is owned by the city of Albany.

34 responses to “Albany picks site for homeless camping”

  1. C. Morrison says:

    The best place for homeless other than
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave would be somewhere out on Hiwy 34 in Albany. No drugs allowed and random drug testing !!!!!!

    • Bob Woods says:

      I assume you’d want to lock up folks that fail your tests. According to the Department of Corrections it costs $140.87 per day per prisoner, which works out to $51,418 per year. So sending 100 homeless persons to prison for a year for personal drug use costs $5,141,180 of taxpayer money.

      We’ll be happy to send you the bill.

      The drug use is certainly distasteful, and damaging to those people. It’s everywhere and no place is untouched. Include alcohol, which most people don’t, and the cost is vastly more.

      The nation ran a WAR ON DRUGS from the early 1970’s and it cost many billions of dollars and the problem is still around. Locking up individuals does not work.

    • Lisa Farnam says:

      People who use drugs exist. Where else are they to go? How about we allow them to exist somewhere they can receive services to better their existence and perhaps enable them to get off drugs. And out on 34 is too far away for people without transportation to get to any employment or services. Don’t just throw people away.

  2. TLH-ALB1 says:

    The same area that the city government just got cleaned up as a no parking zone. I’m sure the businesses down there will be thrill!!!

    • Bob Woods says:

      So what’s your answer to the problem?

      • TLH-ALB1 says:

        Bob…ya don’t want ants, ya don’t leave the sugar layin’ on the counter. It’s that simple.

        • Bob Woods says:

          Cute, but not an answer that fixes the problem.

          • TLH-ALB1 says:

            It sure does solve the problem and it not a complex solution at all. Question is…who of our city leaders has the conviction and fortitude to see it thru?

  3. Anony Mouse says:

    Homeless Central is certainly a step in the right direction. But we need to think bigger.

    The next logical step should be an ordinance similar to what Miami, Florida passed.

    Create an ‘adopt-a-homeless person’ program throughout the city.

    The program would allow private property owners to leverage the power of their privilege by providing space to homeless people to pitch a tent, park an RV, eat, and socialize.

    All at no cost to the city.

    It’s time to tap into the unlimited compassion of local residents and enable them to be part of a bigger solution.

    • Janelle Burford says:

      I’m houseless myself but I have a full time job. Work for Samaritan as a CNA 2. Can’t afford rent here in Corvallis or anywhere. It’s me and my spouse only. Until he can get disability I’m the only income. Right now even with my just my income I make too much to get help and not enough to afford rent so we live in a shelter, for now. Our time of course is almost up. It would be amazing to find some we could put a tiny home at that’s not under government rules. I’m tired of being rejected because I make to much. I even made the front page of the news paper explaining the situation I’m in.

  4. Bill m says:

    Thanks HH appreciate you keeping us informed. I agree no place is perfect but this sounds like a good start.

  5. Hartman says:

    The usual useless “suggestions.” It seems that the only solution many of the Commenters would prefer is to tar and feather offenders and then run them out of town on a rail.

  6. James Engel says:

    Enabling, enabling & more enabling!!! Put the scum on each councilor’s & our mayors lawns! Otherwise, load’em up & truck’em over to the Peoples Sanctuary of Corvallis. Lots of vacant lawns at OSU!

    • MarK says:

      If we’re going to move them…. how about Salem. Let the governor put them up.

      • NAC says:

        Agreed….have them move to the Governor’s home. It’s a nice place. Lots of trees and beautiful green grass….not the smoking kind…LOL

  7. Brandon Rodriguez says:

    I am glad that at least there will be a central place where they can rest and have access to services to help.

  8. M. Lon says:

    My question, where did so many homeless people come from, never in all my 78 years living in this area, Salem, Portland, Albany, etc, have I seen so many. My take is they were bussed in to our areas. I say lets send them all to Biden. Of course the elites don’t want them, but don’t mind sending them to the rest of us.

    • Chubby Rolex says:

      ummmm…. what do you mean where did they come from? seriously? i dont suppose youve see the price of rents and the requirements to rent these days? this isnt 1947 anymore.

      bussed in? im surprised at your age that you would buy into something so stupid. And how would you feel if society wanted to buss all you ancient fossils off to some random place and leave you there? maybe we should do that, grandpa.

  9. CHEZZ says:

    There were state hospitals and other institutions that cared for the mentally challenged.
    Addiction to many drugs on the street and access to those drugs increased.
    Housing costs increased and housing shortages took place.
    The cost of living increased.
    Just to name a few…

  10. Grace Massey says:

    Great going Albany! You will turn a minor cesspool into a full blown war zone & heaven help anyone in a 1/4 mile radius – Bye bye housing values & the businesses around this area will probably relocate somewhere else when they’vee had enough theft & break-ins. Homeowners beware bc these homeless will eventually wander down your street so watch out for your children as well as your outdoor possessions. Don’t forget to pick up your trash once they have gone through it & left a mess.Trust me I’ve seen this EVERY TIME! I understand helping those less fortunate should be a humane goal but all it does is majorly increase crime, dangerous garbage, property destruction & devaluation! BTW the people who live in close proximity (within 1/2-1 mile who are all good this usually change their minds when it turns chilly and they start fires to keep warm but eventually there will be one that goes out of control & burns homes down THEN they change their enabling tune. Just glad we are moving away from this crap! We live 1-4 mile down the road and have already had a crazy person -on our doorstep! at 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Also have had to pick up trash that they’ve rooted through & left on the ground! Oh yeah & don’t leave ANYTHING of value in your vehicles bc auto break-ins will be commonplace.

  11. Bob Zybach says:

    We now have tens of thousands of people living on sidewalks and millions more coming across our border to “pick fruit” as Nancy Pelosi says. Neither of these problems existed before food stamps, Section 8 housing, and public drug use. We had “insane asylums,” poor houses, green cards, and jails for people who couldn’t take care of themselves, and mostly we had jobs.

    My business and industry, reforestation, was ruined in the 1980s by government “low bid” contracts with arbitrary time limits that catered to migrant illegal alien workers. The same way that agriculture, construction, and restaurants do now — essentially a modern-day slavery system in which consumers pay a few cents less for an orange or a pear, thanks to a legal system and employers perfectly willing to hire illegals that will work for substandard wages and live in hovels so they can send their money back to their home country.

    How to fix? Easy. Demand that employers require valid picture i.d. for all employees or go to jail. There are thousands of year-round jobs needed in the woods that used to be routinely done by local year-round workers that did good work and kept the money in their local communities — one reason the Forest Service was established in the first place. Then, low bids for 30-day time limit tasks began catering to migrant labor contractors rather than legitimate local businesses, making competition nearly impossible.

    No work is truly “seasonal” — just jobs. If millions of people are crossing the border to work, then give them work permits with a path to citizenship. And deport anyone who hasn’t got one. Drug, street vendor, and sex trafficking would all be affected, and for good reason. Provide housing for vagrants — again with photo i.d. The cost would be way less than some of the numbers being posted here if done reasonably. Jails and/or treatment for others. No camping in city limits.

    These approaches worked fairly well in the past and should have been refined, rather than abandoned, in my opinion. This problem is fixable if there is really a desire to do so.

  12. Bob Woods says:

    Bob I both agree and disagree with you on your post. As far as border entry, here is what I found for 2022″

    “CBP had 251,487 migrant encounters along the Southwest border in December 2022—a 40% increase from the previous year—which includes 161,808 single adults, 77,088 family unit individuals, and 12,298 unaccompanied children. Jan 23, 2023”

    That’s not millions so maybe you need to dial it back some.

    You say your industry “was ruined in the 1980’s by government ‘low bid’ contracts.”

    Lowest “responsive” bid contracts through government have been REQUIRED under state and Federal law for more decades than I can remember. The reason is that there has been an ugly history of kickbacks and “sweetheart” deals going back over a hundred years.

    I agree Requiring ID and use of the the E-Verify system is a must. We are in a shortage of workers because of demographics, US baby boomers, the largest population bulge, are now becoming all retired, and there is a shortage. In the past Immigration solved that problem. But a lot of people, primarily on the far right, stridently oppose immigration of any kind, especially if they are Hispanic, African, or Asian.

    Thanks for your comment.

    • Bob Zybach says:

      Thanks Bob:

      And vice-versa. You list a 1/4 of a million people that are “encountered” in a single month. Over time (and not very much), that adds up to “millions.” My short-hand for the government contracts was the structure of the bids. They could have easily been for longer timeframes, as one example, or minimum crew sizes, as another. The contracts were designed to favor migrant labor crews over local crews in a wide variety of ways. The fact that they were purposefully designed to favor government-defined “minority contractors” only made the problem more blatant.

      Bottom line is that this is a fixable problem and we can speculate why obvious steps to do so are not being taken.

      • Bob Woods says:

        Thank you!

        As far as the border interceptions, those people were “processed” but Title 42, the COVID ban, required those people to stay in Mexico, or somewhere else. They were not necessarily admitted into the US.

        “Profile of Immigrants Who Came to the U.S. in 2022
        During the fiscal year of 2022, just over 25,000 refugees were admitted to the United States. Foreign-born individuals now make up almost 15 percent of the U.S. population. The main reason most immigrants came to America in 2022 was for employment opportunities. Dec 30, 2022”

    • Dala Rouse says:

      To quote the US Customs for the months of Oct.2022 through April of this year 1,431,964 came across our southern border. From Oct.2021 through Sept. of 2022 2,374,944 came across our borders.
      So it is millions coming across our border and that is just the ones they encountered. There are 40 plus countries including China and Russia coming across our borders everyday. so what are we doing with them?

      • Bob Zybach says:

        We are putting some of them to work in slave labor camps and for cost-cutting employers, they are selling food, sex, and drugs for cash only on the streets, and maybe some of them are getting free tents and food stamps and camping out with our other sidewalk citizens. Government agencies, churches, and migrant-dependent “non-profit” charities are putting some of them up in hotels and motels. Democrats still seem to be in the slavery business from all appearances. These people deserve better, and so do US taxpayers, in my opinion.

  13. Birdieken says:

    If the goal of the left is to follow the California model, God help us.

    • Bob Woods says:

      The goals of the Left are to adhere to the Constitution, ensure equal justice under the law, to provide for growth and opportunity for all, and to assist those in need.

      From the Economic Policy Institute for May:
      3.7% national unemployment rate
      339,000 net new jobs
      80.7% Share of prime working-age population with a job
      3,374,000 Number of jobs gained since February 2020

      Even though inflation has hurt, it is coming down. This is the best shape the country has been in for a LONG time.

      • Abe Cee says:

        “The goals of the Left are to adhere to the Constitution…” Except for the parts they don’t like that provide individual freedoms, 2nd Amendment among them.

        “This is the best shape the country has been in for a LONG time.”
        Except for the huge deficit that keeps getting added to with the public handouts for loan forgiveness, “I don’t want to work but where is my money?” and let’s pay for your drug rehabilitation, and let’s pay for you to kill your baby.

        Best shape, sure.

      • Birdieken says:

        For a dose of reality, Youtube Why Most Californians Aren’t Happy with the State. I thought the goal of the left was to fundamentally transform America? “Adhere to the Constitution” you’ve got to be kidding.

  14. Bob Woods says:

    That was from Forbes Magazine.

  15. KinderParkNeighbor says:

    For the last month or so, Kinder Park and the Periwinkle Bike Path has been a dumpster fire of a mess. Loud screaming/arguing day and night. I’ve called the police multiple times, but they really don’t care. Three o’clock in the morning and the cops drive across the park with their headlights pointed straight at the camp. Suddenly everyone is “sleeping”. The cops get out, saying “hello” nicer to them than any cop in Albany has ever been to me, even when I’ve dealt with them as a victim. The screamers start yelling at the cops, “Can’t you just leave us alone?!” So they leave. And the screaming continues shortly thereafter. And more screaming later that night. And the next night. And the next.
    This is after another of them was screaming “MURDER NEEDS TO HAPPEN” every other day for a month. This nutjob would start in with death threats if he saw, through the trees, a resident sitting on their porch. The cops told my neighbor that it was a “City issue” and we have to call the Parks & Rec Dept.
    The problem isn’t going to be solved by making camps. All the wackjobs who should be locked up for drug abuse and violent crime will still be in all of our parks shooting up and mugging joggers because the normal people who happen to be homeless will eject them from their new comfy camps. The same reason the screamers don’t go to the shelters we already have.

    • Neb Skram says:

      you can thank SCOTUS for all the screaming at night as they were the ones who said you cant force someone into treatment or to take their meds.


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