Dignity Village started as both a camping protest by a group of committed homeless activists, and a viable alternative to sleeping on the streets and in doorways. It emerged as a transient tent city in December of 2000 on a parcel of vacant city land underneath a downtown bridge. Over the course of a year, the tent city was swept around Portland, occupying various public spaces, and repeatedly finding themselves in high-profile standoffs with officials. Whenever notice was given to leave a campsite, early residents of “Camp Dignity” packed their belongings into shopping carts and pushed them in parades to their next location.

For a time, a space under the Fremont Bridge was known as Camp Dignity. In December 2001, Dignity Village registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit. When the ruling came down that they needed to vacate from that location, organizers split into three groups: Rancho Dignity moved to a forty-acre farm outside Portland, Field Of Dreams occupied a field off Naito Parkway, but was swept with several members arrested for camping on public lands, and Dignity Village moved to industrial Sunderland Yard, where it still stands today.

All content © 2018 PDX Village Coalition

The VIllage Coalition

4815 NE 7th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97211

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