Anchorage’s Sanctioned Camps Community Task Force resolution isn’t dead, Assembly members say

On Tuesday, the task force presented the assembly with a resolution. However, the assembly choose not to introduce it that night.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 6:36 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Tents have been popping up left and right across the Municipality of Anchorage, but when the city will open a sanctioned campsite still remains unclear.

Since March, the Sanctioned Camps Community Task Force has been working on crafting a proposal for sanctioned campgrounds to present to the Anchorage Assembly.

On Tuesday, the task force presented the Assembly with a resolution but the Assembly chose not to introduce it.

“We have a rule that says if you try to lay an item on the table, eight members — a supermajority — has to agree that it is time sensitive,” Assembly Chair Chris Constant said. “Now this is a time sensitive matter, but at the same time, there was no way for us to consume that information yesterday without having time to read it and think about it and understand what it’s saying.”

The resolution would establish five campgrounds for homeless residents throughout the municipality, including some amenities. But for some, the announcement of the camp locations came as a surprise.

Assembly member Kevin Cross said that as far as he knows, no community councils were contacted by the task force before the resolution was written.

“There was none that I was aware of. Absolutely none in my district. In fact, they were all very, very alarmed to see the Eagle River camp ground that was brought into that,” Cross said.

Assembly member Felix Rivera shared that community councils were not specifically reached out to, but the task force meetings were always open for everyone to attend.

“What naturally happened was we got a lot of community councils and individual community members who came and joined the task force. And we also got a lot of community councils who didn’t join the task force. There wasn’t any specific outreach done to community councils — it was a general community-wide outreach,” Rivera said.

Constant said that the Assembly needs more time to discuss and digest the information they’ve been provided, but the resolution is not completely dead.

“My takeaway was that the members are interested in the conversation, but at the same time need time to digest what’s being proposed,” Constant said.

The Assembly will be hosting a work session next Friday to review the resolution, which will likely be on the June 6 Assembly regular meeting agenda.