Parents raise concerns over homeless camp by N. Portland school - KPTV - FOX 12

Parents raise concerns over homeless camp by N. Portland school

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Concerned parents are asking the city why a group of run-down RVs seems to be allowed to camp next to a Portland elementary school. (KPTV) Concerned parents are asking the city why a group of run-down RVs seems to be allowed to camp next to a Portland elementary school. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Concerns surrounding a homeless camp set up feet away from a Portland school have some parents upset. 

The camp is on Cook Street near North Borthwick Avenue and includes run down RV’S that seem to have a flow of people moving in and out of them.  

A number of parents are worried the camp is too close to Boise Eliot, an elementary school with students ranging from PreK through 8th grade.

A photo snapped by a concerned parent shows a man in a clown mask stepping out of one of those campers recently, and the parent claimed that man was waving at kids as they walked by him on the way to school.

It’s a disturbing thought to some families, who have since re-shared the photo online to warn people about the situation.

“I think it’s pretty creepy that there’s someone in a costume waving at kids. Clowns could be any kids biggest fear,” Ivan Gonzalez, whose younger sisters go to the school, said.

“I’ve personally seen people doing drugs over there and it bothers me that it’s right by my daughter’s playground," parent Myranda Barnes added. “My husband called the mayor’s office to see what options we have.”

Officials with Portland Public Schools said they’ve reported the camp to police and officers came to check things out. The district added that police are now also keeping an eye on the camp, and their staff monitors the area while kids are out on the playground.

According to Portland city code, vehicles that appear to be inoperative and are stored on the street for 24 hours can be ticketed or towed.  

FOX 12 spoke with a group of people this afternoon who say they live one of the RVs, and they claim the man in the clown mask is not staying there. None of the people wanted to go on camera, but they claimed they have permission from the city and the Boise Neighborhood Association to be there.

Former Neighborhood Association Board Member Stephen Gomez said neighbors discussed the issue in March at their meeting, and added that he is sympathetic to their situation and that he has even brought them water, propane and food. 

Parents said they understand the group needs somewhere to stay, but they question why it’s ok for that place to be by a school.

While the Portland Bureau of Transportation said they would look into the situation, they had not contacted Fox 12 with any further information as of Monday evening. When asked for comment, Mayor Charlie Hale’s office referred FOX 12 to their Safe Sleep Policy:

Staff added that their team that works on homelessness issues is working to move the RVs to a safe location and they expect to finalize the move, “shortly.”

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