Tent City: A closer look at the numbers

Tent Metropolis: Survey of tent campers


Tent Metropolis, USA is a KGW investigative challenge that explores who Portland’s homeless tent campers are and what led to the proliferation of tent camps throughout the town. Tent Metropolis, USA was reported and produced by KGW’s investigative group: Kyle Iboshi, Maggie Vespa, John Tierney, Sara Roth and Gene Cotton. Infographics and multimedia design by Jeff Patterson.


To raised perceive Portland’s inhabitants of homeless tent campers, KGW’s investigative group surveyed one hundred individuals dwelling in tents.

The survey was carried out between July and September 2017 in each quadrant of Portland: Northwest, Southwest, Northeast, Southeast, and North. Campers have been capable of stay nameless. Additional interviews, each on and off digital camera, in addition to pictures, have been voluntary. Campers have been surveyed in each extremely seen places, like downtown, and hidden areas of the town, comparable to forested areas in outer Southeast. The survey itself was easy and temporary, with a view to permit for widespread participation.

The campers have been requested 5 primary questions:

1.     How lengthy have you ever lived in a tent?

2.     The place have been you dwelling earlier than?

three.     How lengthy have you ever lived in Portland?

four.     Why do you reside in a tent versus different sheltered places?

5.     Given the selection tonight, would you moderately sleep in a shelter or a tent?

The final query could seem redundant, however the objective was to discern whether or not shelter unavailability was a serious contributor to tent tenting, or if individuals see tents as preferable to shelters even when there was loads of area for them inside.


Query 1: How lengthy have you ever lived in a tent? 

Nearly all of individuals (sixty three %) surveyed have lived in a tent for longer than a yr. For many, tent tenting just isn’t a short lived dwelling state of affairs.

One in 4 have lived in a tent for greater than 5 years. Twelve individuals have been in a tent for greater than 10 years. Two individuals stated they’ve lived in a tent for 20 years or extra.

Nonetheless, there’s a sizeable inhabitants of latest tent campers; 37 individuals stated they’ve lived in a tent for lower than a yr.

Query 2: The place have been you dwelling earlier than?

Seventy % of individuals stated that they had been dwelling in an condo or a home earlier than dwelling in a tent, which means there wasn’t a lot of a transition interval between dwelling in conventional housing and dwelling in a tent.

A number of stated they have been beforehand staying in a car,…

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