OC homeless shelter raising concerns

oregon city homeless shelter
FILE - The Father's House homeless shelter in Oregon City is bordered by a school and homes. (KOIN 6 News)

OREGON CITY, Ore. (KOIN) — People living in Oregon City have growing concerns about a nearby homeless shelter.

The shelter, called “My Fathers Heart,” is at the corner of Washington and 12th streets in Oregon City. It’s directly across the street from Marylhurst Elementary School and close to a lot of residential homes.

Simply put, a lot of people don’t think it belongs here. Neighbors talked to KOIN 6 News Wednesday, but asked that their faces now appear on camera.

“There’s screaming fests across the street, altercations across the street,” one neighbor said. “There’s police responding across the street.”

Some say their neighborhood is not the same since the homeless shelter opened its doors a year ago.

“We used to play in the woods near the park, but we don’t let them play anymore — because lately there’s a lot of sleeping bags around and old clothes and cigarette butts and things that make us not feel safe.”

Shelter Director Teri Gant said her facility is safe. She said they routinely run background checks on people who come here, so there’s no need for fear. They’re also helping “65 to 75 folks a day … families with children, seniors and couples and individuals. [And] hundreds more on the streets,” according to the street ministry’s Facebook page.

However, neighbors said things like this:

“A couple times we’ve had to call the cops.”

And this:

“There’s increased thefts in the neighborhood; we have to lock up our children’s bicycles because they’ve both been stolen in the past few months.”

There’s no proof it’s because of the shelter. The adjacent park stands between it and Marylhurst Elementary School.

Sheila Walker, the head of school, tells us they’ve found human feces, beer cans and other garbage on campus, so they have growing concern for the children.

And while Walker and neighbors agree with the shelter’s mission, “obviously there’s a need for it,” she said. “So yeah, I hope they can find a balance in the community for that.”

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