Vancouver homeless camp bulldozed for ‘health reasons’

City officials gave the campers 2 weeks notice

A trash-filled Vancouver homeless camp was bulldozed due to "health reasons". (KOIN)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Not long after the City of Vancouver lifted their ban on public camping, a sprawling encampment of tents appeared in spots including West 13th and Lincoln.

The sidewalks were soon filled with garbage and at one point Vancouver police said there more than 150 homeless people camping out.

“The trash became a problem,” homeless man Tom Sparks told KOIN 6 News. “The city came in, saying for health reasons and sanitation everybody had to be gone.”

A rapidly growing homeless camp west of downtown Vancouver is raising concerns with some neighbors who say the campers are taking over the area. (KOIN)
A rapidly growing homeless camp west of downtown Vancouver is raising concerns with some neighbors who say the campers are taking over the area. (KOIN)

With the trash came the crime, and another homeless man named Chris said, “People putting their needles and everything out in the open. It’s just horrible.”

It all became a security issue, and the city stepped in and enforced the curfew of their camping ordinance — no tents allowed before 9:30 p.m. or after 6:30 a.m.

Colleeen Oblepias, who is among the homeless campers, said that is not realistic.

“That’s too much. A homeless person can’t do that. People have to have a heart,” she said.

Vancouver city officials said they gave the campers 2 weeks to know they were going to clean house — and they did.

“The city came through and bulldozed everything,” Sparks said.

“Whoever didn’t have a storage unit or somewhere to put their stuff got it thrown in the dumpster,” Chris said. “If people would’ve just cleaned their (expletive) crap up, it might’ve lasted longer.”

The campers were provided resources and aid to the homeless campers, officials said, and they will look at a plan to be better prepared in the future.

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