Relocation of Homeless People from ODOT Rights-of-Way

Ellen Bassett, University of Virginia



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. This guide presents a problem-solving approach to addressing the impacts of homeless populations public on right-of-way based in part on the principles of problem-oriented policing (Braga, 2008; Goldstein, 1990). It involves enlisting the support and help of partners, each with different areas of expertise. It also involves framing the problem in a different way. It is based on the premise that the most effective way to deal with the impacts of homelessness on right-of-way in the long term is by combining the “push” provided by law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system with the “pull” provided by social service and housing providers who can help homeless individuals reassess their options and move on with their lives. It involves forming long-term working relationships and building trust among collaborators, who can thus be called upon to coordinate and innovate as incidents and issues surface.

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
End Date:
March 31,2013
UTC Grant Cycle:
OTREC 2012
UTC Funding: