Homeless Encampments on Public Right-of-Way

State transportation agencies are often ill-equipped to address the challenges posed by people without housing on public right-of-ways, such as under bridges, along roadways, bikeways, and rest areas. 

Our research team at Portland State University’s Center for Urban Studies conducted an in-depth study of the successful relocation of residents from a longstanding public highway rest stop encampment south of Portland, Oregon—the Baldock Rest Area. 

We developed a best practices guide on how to assess and respond to encampment challenges and how to develop a statewide plan and policies.

The Environmental Justice Unit at the Federal Highway Administration sponsored a webinar based on our work. We remain active with the Environmental Justice subcommittee of the national Transportation Research Board to promote a cooperative approach by state departments of transportation in coordination with social service/housing agencies and the criminal justice system.