Car camping plan upsets Portland neighborhood

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A Presbyterian church has been the first to come forward and take advantage of a Portland pilot project that allows religious and nonprofit organizations to host homeless motorists in their parking lots at night.

Moreland Presbyterian Church wants to open one parking space to be used by female motorists who need a safe haven at night. Under the program, the church must provide access to toilets and garbage pickup.

The proposal has been criticized by residents in the Sellwood section of southeast Portland who worry about increased noise, crime and other potential headaches. The reaction was unexpectedly negative in a city that touts its progressiveness.

Similar programs have been employed elsewhere without major problems. Eugene has had it since the 1990s and has almost two dozen parking sites.