Police, ODOT clear out Johnson Creek homeless camp - KPTV - FOX 12

Police, ODOT clear out Johnson Creek homeless camp

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Portland Police and ODOT cleared out a homeless camp at Southeast 92nd Avenue and Flavel Street on Thursday.

ODOT posted notices around the camps last week to notify the campers that they were trespassing illegally, and that they would be cleared out of the area this week, said ODOT spokeswoman Kimberly Dinwiddie.

Dinwiddie said officials consider the camp an environmental hazard for several reasons, including: human waste being disposed of in Johnson Creek; a makeshift dam created by the trespassers that is hindering salmon from making their annual passage up and down the creek; and trash, including hypodermic needles, that is posing a health risk.

"There's been a lot of talk about the environmental hazards to the creek, but actually every year there's a cleanup of Johnson Creek, and the homeless actually are involved in that cleanup every year," said Mike Davis, an advocate for the homeless.

The creek has also been used for bathing, laundry and other activities.

Crews on Thursday began installing fencing to create a secure work zone, and to deter public access to the area so further environmental repairs aren't needed.

"This property is marked no trespassing and nobody is legally allowed to be here without authorization for anything. That trespassing doesn't require 30-day notification," said Dinwiddie.

However; homeless advocates claim the land is public and the homeless campers shouldn't have been forced out without fair warning.

"We're not clear as to where the trespassing signs apply because there's a fence down there and there's been debate, and no one's come to a conclusion about who that land actually belongs to," added Davis.

A schedule hasn't been set yet for environmental repairs, which will be developed based on talks with federal, state and city agencies.

ODOT officials said personal belongings that remained at the site would be stored by ODOT for at least 30 days.

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