Gresham seeing success with new unit that addresses squatters - KPTV - FOX 12

Gresham seeing success with new unit that addresses squatters, campers

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An effort by the Gresham Police Department to improve livability issues within the city is showing signs of success.

Since its launch three months ago, the department's Neighborhood Enforcement Team has cleared 32 properties of squatters, made 18 arrests for criminal trespass and cleared out 18 homeless camps, said Lt. Claudio Grandjean.

"I think it's an absolute smashing success. I don't know how else you could describe it," said Grandjean.

The NET consists of only two officers, but they are given freedom to investigate and resolve livability issues, like reports of drug dealing, squatters and illegal camping. They don't have to respond to 911 calls, which gives them the time needed to resolve what can often be complicated legal disputes between squatters and property owners.

Their efforts have been noticed by neighbors on SE 178th St., between Lincoln and Caruthers, where a home occupied by squatters for more than three years now stands quiet and empty.

"Everyone's more happy, like a weight's been lifted off their shoulders," said Aaron Woods, who has lived on the street for 10 years.

Besides squatters and homeless campers, the NET team also resolves disputes between landlords and problem tenants.

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