Amid freezing temperatures Tuesday, the Oregon Department of Transportation asked a small group of homeless people in Portland to move their camp.
Don Hamilton, a spokesperson for ODOT, said the four homeless people were illegally camping next to Interstate 205.
“ODOT is not a social services agency,” Hamilton said. “But what we did do is provide them with information about where they can find social services, including housing, including warming places where they can go get out of the cold.”
While the incident took place in Portland city limits, the people were camping on state property. Hamilton said ODOT will not be asking more homeless to move their camps this week “and really until this cold snap has resolved.”
Michael Cox, a spokesman for Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, said the city has suspended camp cleanups during the cold weather.
“Our priority now is getting folks inside and safe, not moving campers around,” Cox said.
The city has about 1,600 shelter beds; about 500 of those are emergency beds, he said.
On Wednesday night, the city opened up the lobby of its largest office building to about 40 people. Wheeler said the city will keep the Portland Building open for those needing a place to stay for the next few nights.