MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Organizers working with the city of Minneapolis have begun moving people from Powderhorn Park to other parks due to size and safety concerns of the Powderhorn encampments.
Powderhorn Park has two large encampments where — as of July 9 — there were a combined 560 tents and 282 people living there, according to an estimate from Parks and Recreation. Encampments have been established at 38 parks across Minneapolis.
Between July 9 and July 16, the Powderhorn encampment was reduced to 270 tents, according to officials.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Wednesday voted to restrict the growing number of homeless encampments in parks across the city. The resolution limits the number of parks with encampments to 20 and the number of tents per encampment to 25.
The locations of the 20 "refuge sites" for the encampments has not yet been determined.
"The Board believes people experiencing homelessness need to be treated in a humane manner," Jono Cowgill, Board President, said in a statement.
"Providing temporary use of park refuge sites for encampments during this COVID and housing crisis allows us to do our small part. We will continue to work shoulder to shoulder with our city, county and state partners who provide services, shelters and housing for the homeless population."
Organizers will continue to reduce the size of the encampment at Powderhorn Park "at a reasonable pace" until it is down to 25 tents.
At Wednesday’s Board meeting, community members, staff and commissioners alike acknowledged that serving people experiencing homelessness is not the role of the MPRB and that temporary park encampments do not address the bigger issues facing the growing population of homeless individuals and families.
In June, the Minneapolis Park Board passed a resolution allowing people with no permanent housing to stay in the city's parks. The resolution works in conjunction with Gov. Tim Walz's executive order that — with some exceptions — prevents the removal of homeless people from public sites amid the economic crisis caused by the spread of coronavirus.
Minneapolis subsequent significant influx of people living in the parks. As the encampments grew, so did reports of criminal activity and concerns of residents living around Powderhorn Park.