From OPB.com, May 6, 2008

A protest calling for better facilities for Portland’s homeless people is closing in on its second week. As April Baer reports, no immediate end is in sight.

Dozens of homeless protesters have been camped out on the sidewalk in front of City Hall.

They say the city needs better options for short-term shelter. One of the protesters is Joseph Van Der Heiden.

Joseph Van Der Heiden: “There’s not enough bed space for the number of homeless. I was one of the four who went in to meet with the mayor yesterday. And I told the mayor the simple, easy logical solution is to set up a safe zone where we can put up our tents, put up our structures, stay dry, shelter ourselves, shelter our property.”

He says he thinks Mayor Tom Potter didn’t take the message seriously.

Last week Potter’s office issued a statement asking people to be patient with the protesters. He said new temporary shelters are in the works.

Portland has laws prohibiting public camping, and extended stays on sidewalks.

So far the Police Bureau has not been ordered to break up the protest.

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