Camps of homeless people are popping up all over Portland, Oregon, causing more crime, drug use, prostitution, and thievery — and neighbors want the practice to stop.
According to Portland resident Ray Gordon, he and his neighbors have tried reporting nearby camps to city, county and state agencies, to no avail.
“I think it’s a big shuffling act,” observed Gordon. “They get moved, and I’ve seen a guy pushing a cart, and then a week later they come right back.”
Land owned and operated by the Oregon Department of Transportation has become a hot spot for illegal camping. According to ODOT spokesperson Don Hamilton, “We’ve got to make sure that we are looking out for the well-being of these people, but we also have to follow our obligations under the law. [That’s] to make sure that the degradation and the litter is not a problem, to make sure the neighbors are protected and to make sure these people are safe.”
A snow and ice storm in January caused approximately 100 people to take shelter in the camp, said Gordon, noting that the homeless often use his neighborhood to move in and out of the area.
“I’ve had a man sleeping on my front yard, and I’ve called the city, and the police showed up and they said there was nothing they could do,” Gordon recalled, adding, “I make sure I have a point to let them know that I am not happy that this is happening.”
Calling this an issue of “growing pains” for the city, Stacy Kean of the Union Gospel Mission wants to “compassionately connect people to the resources that they need.”
Kean said that most of the city’s homeless shelters are full, with daily waiting lists. However, she noted that many of the homeless people are refusing to stay in the shelters, because they fear and mistrust the system or organizations that want to help them.
“There are some hurdles for people to get help when they do want to get help,” said Kean, adding, “If everybody does a little bit, I think that would go a long way to helping people … ignoring it is not going to solve it.”
Gordon says that the accompanying health and safety risks to the public are being ignored by city officials.
“It’s not that nobody is doing anything about it; they’re helping,” Gordon said. “But, it falls on a deaf ear, the city doesn’t … want to hear anything.”
The mayor of Portland has declared it a “sanctuary city” for illegal aliens.
A local Portland resident, Michael Anderson, posted the following videos highlighting the problem recently, and said he was sending them to the mayor.
H/T: WACH Fox 57
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