Relocation of Homeless People from ODOT Rights-of-Way

Ellen Bassett, University of Virginia

Co-investigator:

Summary:

Project contact: Andree Tremoulet, atrem@pdx.edu
In 2010, the Baldock Restoration Group relocated 37 homeless households from the Baldock Rest Area near Wilsonville. Relocated residents included both situationally homeless households (e.g., someone who had lost his job in the recent recession) as well as the chronically homeless (e.g., someone who had lived there eighteen years). The Baldock Restoration Group core membership included Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Oregon State Police, Oregon Travel Information Council (OTIC), Clackamas County Social Services, Clackamas County District Attorney's Office, Oregon Housing and Community Services and The Canby Center, a faith-based social service organization. Due to its scale, the Baldock Rest Area relocation made visible a challenge that ODOT staff confront on a routine basis: how best to deal with homeless individuals and households living in ODOT rights-of-way and rest areas. Homelessness is a complex, "wicked" problem that has spill-over effects experienced by major public landowners who may lack resources to address its social welfare side. The Baldock Rest Area relocation provides an opportunity to examine current policies and procedures, research best practices and consider how best to respond to issues of this nature in the future. The objectives of this research are to a) determine the extent to which homeless encampments across the state pose an operational and/or safety concern for ODOT district managers and their staff; b) research best practices related to homeless encampments by DOT staff in other states, and c) prepare a case study of the Baldock Rest Area relocation. The findings from this research will be used to d) produce a Best Practices Guide for use by ODOT staff and DOT staff in other states. Research methods include a) a survey of ODOT directors and maintenance supervisors concerning the extent of the problem in Oregon; b) a literature review and survey of practitioners in other states to identify best practices; c) interviews with stakeholders (including those who were relocated, if possible) and document review to produce a case study of the Baldock Rest Area relocation. Products will consist of a) the formation of a multidisciplinary Technical Advisory Committee; b) a report presenting the research and case study, and c) a draft Best Practices Guide for ODOT as a means of enabling data-driven decision-making on how best to address the challenge of homeless encampments in the future.

Project Details

Project Type:
Research
Project Status:
Completed
End Date:
March 31,2013
UTC Grant Cycle:
OTREC 2012
UTC Funding:
$58,990
TRB RIP:
28506