Some question success of ongoing PDX homeless sweeps

“No matter what we do, they come back. The problem doesn’t go away."

Some are questioning if Portland's homeless sweeps are really that effective. November 17, 2016, (KOIN)
Some are questioning if Portland's homeless sweeps are really that effective. November 17, 2016, (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The effort to clean up homeless camps in Portland continues, and it has some asking if the sweeps are really working.

A sizable homeless camp had settled at Southeast 10th Avenue and Southwest Washington Street, but on Thursday there were no tents in sight at that location.

When KOIN 6 News visited the area 3 weeks ago, the owner of a nearby building said he’d seen everything from drug deals to prostitution going on at the camp.

With that said, the City of Portland moved in earlier this week to clean up the area.

At another location near Northeast Broadway Street and Southeast 70th Avenue, crews have sweeped the area multiple times in the past 3 weeks, but the tents just seem to keep coming back.

“They did the best that they could. The cleaned up the area, and not 24 hours later, they’re back. They just picked up their tent and moved down a couple hundred yards,” said Randy Sprague, who lives near a recurring homeless camp.

He continued, “No matter what we do, they come back. The problem doesn’t go away. The problem is just not going to go away.”

Anne Liggett, who works on Southwest Washington Street, said, “It’s nice to know the city responded to the concerns, and I know that didn’t solve the problem as a whole, but it definitely for our neck of the woods made us feel a little safer.”

One business owner on Southwest Washington Street got permission to put up a fence in order to combat the homeless problem. He received permission from the city to put it up, but he also paid for it all himself.

That same business owner also plans to repair the nearby sidewalk and a few large trees that are close by if he receives the city’s blessing.