Angry Lents neighbors protest at mayor’s house

Dozens gathered to express their frustrations over the Springwater Corridor

Protesters gathered outside Mayor Charlie Hales' home on August 6, 2016. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Mayor Charlie Hales may only have a few months left in office, but many Portlanders are angry with him for his handling of the homeless problem along the Springwater Corridor.

There was no answer when protesters knocked on Hales’ door — KOIN learned he is out of town this weekend for his daughter’s wedding — but that didn’t stop dozens of protesters from making their point outside his home.

The Springwater Corridor was once a popular spot for jogging, walking and biking but has morphed into a large homeless camp.

Robert Shultz with Lents Active Watch was among those protesting.

“The impact of these choices that are happening at the mayor’s office? We bear it,” Shultz said.

More on the Springwater Corridor 

Shultz says he’s seen an increase in crime and many are not happy that the mayor’s office has delayed sweeping the camps along the corridor to September 1.

“We’d like them dispersed, in a reasonable fashion, to other neighborhoods that can absorb some of it as well,” Shultz said.

Thomas Legg, who lives next to Corridor, says they’ve watched things get worse there and neighbors are sick of it.

Thomas Legg (left) and Robert Shultz stand with signs in front of Mayor Charlie Hales house on August 6, 2016. (KOIN)
Thomas Legg (left) and Robert Shultz stand with signs in front of Mayor Charlie Hales house on August 6, 2016. (KOIN)

“We did a cleanup about 12/13 months ago. We picked up a ton of garbage,” Legg said. “At that time, there were 12 to 20 tents along a half mile section. Now there are closer to 500.”

These protesters want someone at the mayor’s office to hear their frustrations.

“His office ultimately are the ones not returning our calls. Not allowing us to be involved,” Shultz said. “So why not go to the boss?”

Sara Hottman with the mayor’s office said the mayor is trying to balance the needs of the Lents and Brentwood-Darlington neighbors with the needs of those sleeping outside in the Springwater Corridor.

The extra months allows for more outreach to those who need help moving away from their camps, but in the meantime there are increased police patrols in the area and workers are distributing trash bags to begin cleanup.

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