Homeless camps pop up in Laurelhurst Park

'They're coming,' said one homeless camper

A homeless camp in Laurelhurst Park in Southeast Portland, August 12, 2016 (KOIN)
A homeless camp in Laurelhurst Park in Southeast Portland, August 12, 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With the homeless sweep along the Springwater Corridor just a few weeks away, the campers are moving — to Laurelhurst.

The homeless camps are most visible along Southeast Oak Street, and neighbor Gary Fink isn’t sure what the answer should be.

“I’m a homeowner, so there’s always home value and stuff like that,” Fink told KOIN 6 News. “I’m a father, so you’re always worried about the safety of children, but on the other hand these are real people, too, with real issues.”

Mike Jenkins, also known as Pork Chop, said he moved to the Laurelhurst Park area from the Springwater Corridor. He said many others will make the same move when the corridor is swept by the city beginning September 1.

A homeless camp in Laurelhurst Park in Southeast Portland, August 12, 2016 (KOIN)
A homeless camp in Laurelhurst Park in Southeast Portland, August 12, 2016 (KOIN)

“They’re coming,” Jenkins said. “Down here in Laurelhurst Park. Put ’em on Hawthorne. I’m gonna put ’em on Belmont, I’m gonna put ’em right in front of shopping centers.”

When that happens, the Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association worries this could get worse. They told KOIN 6 News they’ve recently found human waste in garden areas, people sleeping under playground equipment and tents blocking sidewalks.

Steve Voiles lives in the Lents neighborhood — one of the city’s homeless hotspots — who said seeing the homeless in Laurelhurst isn’t surprising.

“It’ll just keep getting more and more saturated,” Voiles said. “I mean, there’s already folks sleeping near the pond and around the park, but if there’s going to be homeless people in Lents, there should be homeless people everywhere.”

It is a city-wide problem. Mayor Charlie Hales’ office said the Laurelhurst camp is scheduled for social service outreach and then cleanup in the next few weeks. It has no impact on the scheduled cleanup along the Springwater Corridor.

 

 

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