Seniors in Lents feel unsafe as homeless camps pop up

Resident said homeless man assaulted him by striking him with a ladder

Residents of the Lents neighborhood say they're concerned about new homeless camps popping up, May 21, 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — People in the Lents neighborhood are demanding help from the city as new homeless camps continue to pop up in the area.

Many locals think park rangers have done a decent job keeping homeless campers out of the Springwater Corridor, but they haven’t been able to stop campers from setting their tents up off the trail and in local neighborhoods.

Residents of the Lents neighborhood say they’re concerned about new homeless camps popping up, May 21, 2017. (KOIN)

The neighbors, many who are seniors, say the people living in the homeless camps aren’t just leaving trash, but have reportedly attacked people in the community.

Ken Herman told KOIN 6 News a homeless camper near his home on SE 97th Avenue and Glenwood Street physically assaulted him by striking him with a ladder.

Moreo Gonzalez said he was with Herman when the camper hit him on the leg.

“We tried to get them to go and they told us there wasn’t anything we could do about it,” Herman said. “The city doesn’t enforce any laws.”

Herman said the camper who assaulted him eventually left, but he said it’s been an exhausting daily battle to keep other people from setting up tents nearby.

“I’m just tired,” neighbor Debora Kool said. “I work hard, I’m older and I’m tired of picking up and cleaning and doing this. There has to be a better way.”

The neighbors say they’ve contacted police and the mayor’s office several times, but they feel nothing has been done. Many say they feel afraid to walk outside.

KOIN 6 News reached out to police but have not received a response.