Homeless encampment in Hillsboro scheduled for cleanup

Release date: 09/16/2021
Sponsored by: Housing Services Department

Homeless encampment on County-owned property will close for cleaning


Update September 27, 2021
Cleaning of the property was substantially completed on September 24, including accumulated debris and garbage as well as campers' removal of several tents, vehicles and RVs along with other personal property. County staff worked closely with homeless services providers to assist displaced campers during the process and some have now returned to the site. In alignment with Encampment Management Program procedures, sanitary services, including portable toilets, will be reestablished on Tuesday, September 28 and regular health and safety risk assessments will also resume.  
 


September 16, 2021
Following a risk assessment, County staff determined that unsafe and unhealthy conditions at a homeless encampment located in the 800 block of SW Baseline in Hillsboro required immediate action to clean the site. The assessment evaluated factors related to the presence of uncontained garbage, environmental concerns, criminal activity and the size of the encampment.


County staff have notified residents of the encampment that they have five days to remove all personal items and leave the location to allow cleanup work to begin on September 21. Outreach workers from partner agencies have also been notified and will follow up with camp residents to provide support and referrals to available resources during this difficult time.

Previously, on August 31, campers staying at the encampment were notified that unless conditions improved by September 14, the site would be posted for removal of all personal property, prior to cleaning by Washington County. Campers were also advised that if they were successful in reducing the risk situation, they would be allowed to stay—per County policy and in compliance with U.S. Supreme Court ruling Martin v. Boise—until future shelter options become available. During the ensuing two-week grace period, County staff provided support and supplies for camper-led clean-up efforts which resulted in the removal of several yards of bagged garbage as well as provision of porta-potties and regular garbage service.

Although people experiencing homelessness will not be prevented from returning once the site is cleaned, activities at this and other similar encampments are now being coordinated by the County’s newly created Encampment Management Program (EMP). Under the EMP’s organizational framework, cities and special districts have been invited to join in this unique opportunity to meet the urgent needs of our most vulnerable neighbors, as well as the very understandable livability and safety concerns of nearby residents and business owners.

EMP’s key program strategies to ensure effective coordination and support among all jurisdictional and community partners include:

  • Intensive encampment outreach and housing navigation services
  • Centralized point of contact for community members and stakeholders
  • Sanitary and solid waste management
  • Periodic scored assessments of health and safety risks
  • Dedicated Sheriff’s Office outreach deputy to help address public safety concerns and coordinate with other law enforcement partners.

Please visit our website for more information about Washington County’s efforts to end homelessness.