Dignity Village is a camp set up by the homeless people of Portland, OR. It is a "tent city" of about 80 occupants. It is located under the Fremont Bridge. The idea is to have a safe, clean place where the homeless can eat, sleep, bath, have a message phone/address for potential employers, and many more. The camp has strict anti-violence, drug, and alcohol rules set in place. Dignity Village wants to be completely self-sufficient. Volunteers and the homeless have raised over $10,000 and bought a chunk of land in Vancouver, WA. They are going to run an organic farm, with the earning going to the camp and its residents.

The main hurdle for the camp right now is the city of Portland. Portland has many rules in place to complicate the homeless' lives. One of the more sinister laws is the no camping law, which basically states that it is illegal to camp within the city limits. Dignity has asked to keep the camp but the city seems to be against it. Portland has set a deadline of July 1st 2001 for the camp to leave. One thing I like about the camp is that it is out of the business district of downtown Portland. For years and years the business community has complained that the homeless pee in their doors, detour business because of their panhandling, stink up the public library…. This camp would solve many of those issues.

One last thing - Every year Portland has its Grand Floral parade and every year people from all over the city camp days in advance to get a good seat. The police have never arrested any of these people or told them they have to leave.

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