Oregon needs more temporary shelter and the means to encourage people to use it

Eric Fruits

Elected officials across the state are scrambling to do something to reduce homelessness in Oregon. In March, the Oregon Legislature fast-tracked $200 million in spending to address housing and homelessness. The city of Portland is fumbling around to find space for sanctioned homeless camp sites. Multnomah County is considering buying a 241-room hotel to house the unsheltered.

Each of these programs faces the same overarching challenge: What if no one wants the shelter being offered?

Eric Fruits, Ph.D. is an adjunct scholar at the Portland-based Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization. He can be reached at eric@cascadepolicy.org.