The Salem City Council on Monday will consider a proposal to create a managed camp on Portland Road. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

The Salem City Council on Monday will consider a resolution that would establish a managed camp at a current warming shelter site on Portland Road as the warming season comes to a close.

Salem has purchased 20 “pallet” structures, single room buildings that can host two people and are easily assembled, which could be installed in the parking lot at 2640 Portland Road N.E.

The location also has a building which is currently being used as a warming site. That shelter started opening nightly for about 25 unsheltered people with chronic health conditions in December.

That ends on March 31. There are about 250 beds in the warming shelter network and a managed camp at the Oregon State Fairgrounds has space for 100. Hundreds more are living in Wallace Marine Park and Cascades Gateway Park, allowed by an emergency ordinance intended to limit the spread of Covid.

Church at the Park would run the managed camp on Portland Road with space for up to 48 as a temporary shelter at the Oregon State Fairgrounds Pavilion closes next week. 

Gretchen Bennett, Salem’s homelessness liaison, said the fairgrounds is starting to schedule events again and the shelter there was always temporary. If the council approves using the Portland Road site, the managed camp there would end on Oct. 26.

The resolution said the “emergency or threatened conditions” are adverse weather, an increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness and a lack of shelter capacity.

Bennett said there could also be space for eight cars on the other side of the lot. She said the city hasn’t determined whether it can use the building on site as well.

She said that is pending approval by the city’s fire, building and safety processes.

To participate: The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Monday and is streamed live on YouTube. Submit comments on agenda items by 5 p.m. the day of the meeting at [email protected]. Public comment and testimony may also be provided during the meeting via Zoom. Please pre-register between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting at the following link: https://www.cityofsalem.net/Pages/Public-Comment-at-Salem-City-CouncilMeeting.aspx

Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected]

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