PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Neighbors who live near the Springwater Corridor are not happy with Mayor Charlie Hales’ decision to delay sweeping the homeless campers off the trail.
Homeless advocates aren’t very happy with the mayor, either.
Hales announced Wednesday the sweep — slated to begin on Monday — will now start September 1. The mayor said the extra month will give the city more time to set up relocation plans.
Residents in the neighborhood told KOIN 6 News the area hasn’t felt safe since May, and that incidents happen every hour of the day. One family said they won’t go on vacation because they don’t want to leave their house empty — even though it is wired with security features.
Raul Mendizabal, who lives in a home along the corridor, said the sweep “needs to be done. It needs to get done and I’m willing to help, if that’s what they need.”
Neighbors agree the homeless campers do need somewhere to go, and they agree pushing the problem somewhere else isn’t really solving the problem.
Doddie Nottingham, who lives near the trail and has been dealing with problems for months, showed KOIN 6 News one house on her block where homeless people broke in, knocked doors down and set fires.
“I understand some people need help,” Nottingham said. “But what about the homeowners in the neighborhood? What about the people that pay property tax? We can’t even use the areas because it’s unsafe. We either have to carry Mace or we’ve actually seen people with carry permits actually carrying guns because they’re afraid to take their children down there.”
Homeless advocates gathered at Portland City Hall Thursday afternoon to demand a new location for the homeless be chosen before they’re pushed out of the Springwater Corridor. Their slogan: No Displacement Without Replacement.
“It’s not just about time. It’s about resources and it’s about compassion to get these people into places where they can be successful,” said Austin Rose with the Portland Tenants Union. “We’re asking that the Lents community come together with us to demand that the city implement long-term solutions that are real.”