City leaders have stepped up efforts to reduce the size of outdoor encampments as winter approaches.
Tents are seen at a homeless encampment at the park and ride off Marginal Way in Portland. Credit: CBS 13

The homeless encampment at the park-and-ride along Marginal Way in Portland is still set to be cleared out on Wednesday, according to the Maine Department of Transportation and city officials.

An outreach group has been in touch with the city trying to get ahead of the problem and move people to beds or a city-approved location.

As of a week ago, there were just two shelter beds available in Portland, according to city officials.

Carol Waig, the founder of My Father’s Hands: A Homeless Outreach, doesn’t want Wednesday to be like previous sweeps.

“We’re trying to get ahead of it. We’re trying to be proactive instead of reactive. We know that the sweep down on Fore River went horribly wrong. There was trauma all across the board. We were kind of hoping the city had plans about where to put folks, but we haven’t really heard anything,” Waig said.

In response to those concerns, the city said in a statement:

“Efforts remain focused on outreach work to get people into shelter and other housing opportunities. Shelter staff have been on site doing outreach regarding the Homeless Services Center and offering up beds as they become available.”

Portland city leaders said that camping grows more dangerous as winter temperatures close in, and as a response, they have increased efforts to convince campers to move into shelters. There’s also been health and safety concerns.

The city posted removal notices at the Marginal Way campsites, as well as those along Somerset Street and near Noyes Self-Storage.