First Advisor

Martha Works

Date of Publication

Winter 2-16-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Geography






Shelters for the homeless -- Oregon -- Portland -- Case studies, Homeless camps -- Oregon -- Portland -- Case studies, Homelessness -- Government policy -- Oregon -- Portland, Gentrification -- Oregon -- Portland, Housing policy -- Oregon -- Portland



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 97 pages)


The continued increase in homelessness in Portland, Oregon is in part a result of the systemic restructuring of the welfare state as well as a shift in local governance purviews. Primarily this has eradicated the affordable housing stock in the city which is compounded by the limited availability of emergency shelter spaces. These and other financial constraints have left a depleted service support system to cover a rising homelessness problem. In response to this, contemporary social movements have been focusing attention on economically marginalized groups such as the homeless, calling for rights to access resources in cities such as housing. This approach critiques the neoliberal policies that have bolstered entrepreneurial approaches to urban growth. Neoliberal policies result in a failure to maintain financial support for the well-being of the homeless and connected support services. This research examines one alternative to the traditional approach to sheltering the homeless. It focuses on a self-organized homeless tent city in downtown Portland, Right 2 Dream Too, which has become a critical resource in homeless emergency service provisioning. The rest site's success as an emergency service is primarily predicated on its geographic proximity to a nexus of social services in the Old Town neighborhood. Drawing on ethnographic work and archival data, I analyze the multiple spatialities of this self-managed site to better understand homeless individuals' experience with this place and other related spaces, as a means to understand its value as an emergency service for the homeless in Portland, and other cities with similar constraints. I argue this perspective is essential for mitigating homelessness in Portland and informing the decision-making surrounding its relocation.


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