Homeless disrupt environmentally sensitive area

The city bans dogs, but homeless camping has overrun the Foster Floodplains area

Homeless camping in Foster Floodplain Natural Area concerns neighbors, city leaders. (KOIN)
Homeless camping in Foster Floodplain Natural Area concerns neighbors, city leaders. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The homeless problem in SE Portland is spilling over into the Foster Floodplain Natural Area.

Dogs aren't allowed in the Foster Floodplain Natural Area because it's an environmentally sensitive area. (KOIN)
Dogs aren’t allowed in the Foster Floodplain Natural Area because it’s an environmentally sensitive area. (KOIN)

It’s city-owned land near SE 108th and Foster that doesn’t allow dogs. The city banned dogs because it’s an environmentally sensitive area.

Despite the ban, there are homeless people camping there.

Steven and Yasuko Garret walk through the area all the time.

“It’s horrendous that we don’t feel safe. Nobody feels safe,” Steven Garrett said. “We’ve seen them with their shopping carts. They go back in here.”

Photos shared on Facebook show how even when the campers are gone, they often leave calling cards.

“They camp out here. Then they go up here and steal everything,” Garrett said. “And they steal everything. I’ve seen full-size barbecues going down the road.”

Homeless camping in Foster Floodplain Natural Area concerns neighbors, city leaders. (KOIN)
Homeless camping in Foster Floodplain Natural Area concerns neighbors, city leaders. (KOIN)

The Bureau of Environmental Services declined to be interviewed on camera, but said they don’t condone homeless camps, and they’ve put in several requests to the mayor’s office for clean up.

City spokeswoman Sara Hottman said that because it’s an environmentally sensitive area, there should be absolutely no camping. She said now they’re determining what needs to be done and said “they will perform the cleanup.”

“I’m hoping that new mayor says no camping out in public and then we won’t have that problem,” Garrett said.

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