City: Leave Springwater Corridor maintenance to us

More than 150 homeless camps were recently removed from the trail

The Springwater Trail near the intersection of SE 92nd and Flavel, June 29, 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Southeast Portland business recently received a letter from the city telling it to stop maintaining part of the Springwater Corridor.

The owners of Steve’s Imports have been taking care of the piece of land in front of their auto repair shop for years.

“When this gets really tall, this grass here, it’s really hard to see,” says Rebekah Spinnett.

Rebekah Spinnett, June 29, 2016 (KOIN)
Rebekah Spinnett, June 29, 2016 (KOIN)

So when she got the letter telling her she was encroaching on parks land, she was stunned, especially with all the homeless camping nearby.

“I’m pretty appalled, I was appalled. How can you send us a letter saying we’re breaking the law, we’re encroaching on public property, and yet allowing people to live on that exact same property?” Spinnett says.

In an email to KOIN 6 News, a spokesperson for Portland Parks and Rec said “staff have met with the property owner in hopes of preventing further damage to City property, but the destruction of City property has continued.” The email goes on to say “ornamental landscaping and use of herbicides on Park property (such as what the property owner has undertaken) contradicts our goal of reducing negative impacts of the environment is not consistent with the use and intent of the trail corridor.”

The email did not directly answer Spinnett’s question about why camping is allowed and mowing and other landscaping isn’t, but the spokesperson did say “the City is concerned about people experiencing homelessness.”

The city of Portland told the owners of Steve's Imports to stop maintaining this patch of grass, June 29, 2016 (KOIN)
The city of Portland told the owners of Steve’s Imports to stop maintaining this patch of grass, June 29, 2016 (KOIN)

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