SE Portlanders ‘fed up’ with growing RV camp

Camp at SE 102nd Ave. and SE Woodstock Blvd. has some locals feeling unsafe

RV camp at SE 102nd Ave. and SE Woodstock Blvd. has some locals feeling unsafe. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A growing RV camp in Southeast Portland has some nearby business owners concerned for their safety.

The smell of garbage intermingles with dust kicked up at the camp at SE 102nd Avenue and SE Woodstock Boulevard that’s growing close to Ted Uren’s workplace.

“Every day there is a new trailer,” Uren told KOIN 6 News. “It’s obvious the people are doing drugs, they are disposing of human waste in the streets.”

Uren says employees’ cars are being prowled. One woman who reportedly found a man doing something sexual near her car says she’s concerned for her safety.

But so far, Uren says, nothing has been done to fix the problem.

The RV camp sits close to the Springwater Corridor, which was a hot topic at Wednesday night’s community meeting with representatives from Oregon Consensus, the group researching Portland’s homeless problem.

KOIN 6 News asked Marc Jolin with A Home For Everyone why the city won’t ban camping altogether to alleviate some of the problems associated with the homeless.

Trash left behind by a homeless camp along the Springwater Trail, May 3, 2016 (KOIN)
Trash left behind by a homeless camp along the Springwater Trail, May 3, 2016 (KOIN)

“In the absence of available shelters, we have hundreds if not thousands of people with no choice but to stay outside,” Jolin said. “So it’s not a question about banning camping and not banning camping, it’s what are those people supposed to do?”

Jolin says he thinks Oregon Consensus could release their recommendations sometime in the next 2 weeks.

Oregon Consensus was initially engaged by the governments of Portland, Gresham, Milwaukie, Multnomah County and Clackamas County to improve coordination. The group is convening a project team of stakeholders, said project manager Jim Jacks. They would like to have the results by mid-July from their project team.

Mayor Charlie Hales spokesperson Sara Hottman said there is no plan to change camping policies, and that people are allowed a safe night’s sleep from 9 p.m. – 7 a.m.

“We have a police staffing issue,” Hottman said via phone. “We are not going to have police enforcing things like loitering on the sidewalks.”

Meanwhile, Uren says he’s sent the mayor’s office 5 letters regarding the growing RV park near his work without getting any response.

“I’ve lived here 42 years,” he said. “Frankly, I’m fed up.”

Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler has his own plan to solve Portland’s homeless crisis:

“Establish and communicate a timeline for moving away from mass camping. The current administration has embarked on a six-month ‘experiment’ that allows camping across the city under certain conditions. The city will prioritize the communication of its plans – to move away from camping toward shelter and services, and ultimately housing – to those experiencing homelessness as well as the broader Portland community.”

 

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