Wheeler campaigned on making a considerable dent in the problem. 

In his “Comprehensive Approach to Addressing Homelessness” laid out during his campaign, Wheeler pledged to establish work programs for the homeless, limit camp sweeps, expand the number of shelter beds, enact a “Tenant’s Bill of Rights” that bans no-cause evictions, and other reforms.

Many of those promises remain unfulfilled, although Wheeler did help secure approval for significant tenant protections and a new shelter that will be able to accommodate more than 100 homeless people along Southeast Foster Road. The city does not provide scores of jobs for homeless people who want to work; the population living and sleeping on the streets still numbers in the thousands; and the city’s stock of affordable housing remains far too paltry.

Wheeler’s own take on his anti-homelessness efforts is quite rosy. Ticking off a half-dozen of his campaign pledges, he said, “I’ve delivered on every one of those counts and I’ve delivered in a substantial way.”

It is true that the number of publicly funded homeless shelter beds has doubled to about 1,300 since 2015. But plans for the additional beds were set in motion mostly before Wheeler took office. 

Camps still dot neighborhoods citywide, and sweeps are regular. Tenant protections have strengthened, with renters who are evicted without cause or subjected to 10 percent rent hikes entitled to significant relocation payments. But no-cause evictions remain. 

Asked about a recently published investigation from The Oregonian/OregonLive showing homeless people accounted for more than half the city arrests in 2017, Wheeler said the statistics weren’t convincing but agreed the analysis warrants “further evaluation.”

The city Independent Police Review has launched an inquiry

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