Last week, Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office sent a spreadsheet of financial requests totaling $21 million to Multnomah County President Deborah Kafoury. The pot of cash she’s looking at: A chunk of the $28.6 million of one-time homelessness funds the county could allocate over the next few weeks.

The long list of requests is part of the mayor’s funding program to create six 250-person licensed campgrounds with the eventual goal of banning street camping citywide within two years. (His rationale: Once the city has places to send people for the night, it can sweep them off the sidewalks without legal danger.)

So far, his plan to set up campgrounds and ban camping, which won approval from all but one of the city council members earlier this month, is entirely underfunded. This is where Kafoury comes in.

Wheeler proposed that the county spend $15 million on site operating costs, including meals and a daily snack, 24-hour contract management, case management, bathrooms and laundry, sleeping bags, and storage for personal effects; he asked him to spend $4 million to develop the site and create necessary infrastructure such as water and sewer hookups; and asked for $750,000 to fund security guards for businesses and surrounding neighborhoods.

In total, the claims total $21 million. The city listed its financial contribution at $30 million; Wheeler is asking the city council to approve $27 million in this Thursday’s fall budget watch process. Sources from the Town Hall say so WW it is likely to get at least the three votes needed to pass it.

The mayor’s request that the county help fund the campgrounds has gotten little response from Kafoury in the past month.

The mayor first asked for her assistance in October, when he and City Commissioner Dan Ryan asked her to fund a number of homeless projects, including licensed campgrounds. Kafoury brushed it off.

Underlying that letter was the uncertain future of the Joint Office of Homeless Services, which is a source of friction between the city and the county. Both governments raise money in the office to fight homelessness, but the county president controls how the office spends its dollars. The city has long wanted the Joint Office to spend a larger share of its budget on shelters. (This year’s budget is $255 million.) Kafoury hasn’t been receptive.

That tension means the city is flirting with pulling out of joint office before his contract is renewed this summer and taking its $45 million annual contribution elsewhere.

City officials are viewing the county’s decision on whether to fund campgrounds by using a portion of the $28 million as a litmus test for whether the president will ever fund the city’s campgrounds. After all, it’s the first amount of money from the county that has become available for award since the city courted the county last month for support.

In a county council meeting on Tuesday, the priorities listed for the $28 million did not include city campgrounds.

While Kafoury did not say WW directly that it is not interested in funding such requests, spokesman Denis Theriault says the “top priority of the president and the joint office is to preserve its ongoing work” with one-off funds including opening additional beds, offering assistance with renting and relocating people to permanent housing.

“The next step is for the entire Board to deliberate and follow its public process and vote in the coming weeks if and how to invest those one-time funds,” Theriault said.

Kafoury has historically mocked ambitious shelter plans leaked by the mayor’s office. He called Commissioner Dan Ryan’s six safe rest villages, of which only one is open after a year, a “napkin sales camp” last spring, when WW brought back to the plane for the first time. She was subsequently unimpressed by a plan hatched by mayoral aide Sam Adams earlier this year to build massive campgrounds, ban camping along highways and near schools, and end unauthorized camping.

Many others scoffed at that plan. But over the past year, the mayor’s office has executed most aspects of Adams’ plan piecemeal.

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