City-sanctioned homeless camp plan moves forward

The city is grooming a 5-acre spot to move up to 100 homeless people

A homeless camp on the Kalbrenner land. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 5-acre space near SE 104th and Reedway Street is being groomed as the new home for about 100 homeless campers.

The Kalbrenner land already has a handful of campers, who will need to be out by August 1 so the city can start working on the land. After that, the city will work on cleaning up and grooming the site. It will cost the city about $55,000 to remove dirt from the area.

The sanctioned camp plan has mixed reviews from neighbors.

Victoria Wood lives nearby and says as long as there is structure and regulation, she’s fine with the camp.

“It’s kind of like that now, so as long as they continue to do that, it’ll be fine,” Wood said.

Homeless transition coordinator Mike Davis says this has been in the works for about 4 months.

“Having an organized community like this is going to be very positive because it brings the services to what the people need,” Davis said. “It teaches people how to live with neighbors once again, because they’re used to floating around.”

Angel Sanchez owns an auto body shop next to the entrance of the planned camp and is not looking forward to it.

“It’s like someone threw a pail of cold water on your back and you say ‘what the heck?’ you know?” Sanchez said.

Sanchez says he’s already dealt with theft, security issues, vandalism and other problems.

“I’m more nervous about break ins of if there’s gonna be trash. But if it’s supervised or controlled, hopefully it’ll not be that bad,” Sanchez said. “And they’ll find a place to live and move on. It’ll only be temporary hopefully, but who knows.”

Sara Hottman with the mayor’s office says the city-sanctioned and supervised camp will provide basic services including running water and electricity.

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