Rain, ODOT move homeless campers from Johnson Creek

ODOT posted notices to campers 6 days ago

Homeless tents along Johnson Creek, October 17, 2016 (KOIN)
Homeless tents along Johnson Creek, October 17, 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Tents are clustered around the walkway adjacent to Johnson Creek where homeless campers stay. For a long time, neighbors said, the campers stayed under the bridge.

But with the heavy rain over the past week — and the creek rising — the campers moved up to the sidewalk and walkway. That walkway is the route commuters use to get to the light rail stop a few blocks away.

Much of this area belongs to ODOT. Six days ago, the agency posted a notice of intent to remove the camp sometime before the end of October.

ODOT posted this notice near homeless tents along Johnson Creek, October 17, 2016 (KOIN)
ODOT posted this notice near homeless tents along Johnson Creek, October 17, 2016 (KOIN)

But neighbors don’t want to wait.

Ron, who is disabled and walks this route a few times a week, filed an official complaint with the city because he doesn’t feel safe.

“I’m not comfortable walking to the light rail,” said Ron, who asked not to have his last name used. “They harass you. It makes the whole situation uncomfortable. I’m disappointed in the city.”

He said the problem is not a homeless problem, it’s a drug problem.

“They don’t want help. They just want drugs. That’s the way I feel about it. That’s what I see,” he said.

ODOT officials told KOIN 6 News the clean up is expected in the next day or two. The City of Portland also served notice on a high profile camp at SE 97th and Foster.

Neighbors at that spot told KOIN 6 News it’s an area where heroin use is prevalent. But Willow, a homeless camper at the spot, said, “I don’t know so much about that.”

“I just want everybody to know that everybody’s not the same here,” she said. Willow said she’ll move when she has to, but “there’s not really any other place to go, really.”

That’s the same thing campers said when the sweep along the Springwater Corridor began.

A petition is being circulated to install a barrier in the area.