New homeless camp for women in SE Portland to come down - KPTV - FOX 12

New homeless camp for women in SE Portland to come down

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One day after tents were pitched in a new homeless camp for battered women in southeast Portland, word came they’ll be coming back down.

The camp sprung up Sunday at Southeast 93rd and Woodstock.

Organizers told Fox 12 Sunday they had been working with the city to find an appropriate location, but things were moving too slowly so they went ahead and set up camp on a plot that had been previously discussed, then taken off the table.

But Monday, the Mayor’s office confirmed the land, which recently sold, is off-limits to the group. Now, the Mayor’s office is working with camp organizers to place all of the women in the camp in safe shelters within the next 24 hours.

At that point, the camp will be closed.

Camp organizers declined to comment Monday, saying it had been a difficult 24 hours.

Mayor Charlie Hales released this statement:

"These organizations have done us a service in connecting us with these women, so we can move them to safety. However, our Safe Sleep Guidelines are clear: They cannot set up unsanctioned camps. It's not courteous to the surrounding neighborhood, and it doesn't allow us to connect these women with the services they deserve. We are moving far faster than government typically does, and we need these organizations to work with us for the benefit of our whole Portland community."

People living nearby said the camp is sparking discussions in the neighborhood, with strong feelings on both sides.

“It’s a good idea,” said Joe Jerome, who is staying nearby. “I’ve been down these bike trails and it’s a lot of trouble down there, it’s very violent for these girls.”

But Jerome said he also understood the city’s position and that the campers didn’t have permission to be there.

“They need a safe place to live, everybody needs a safe place to live,” said Carma Crimmons, who lives adjacent to the camp. “It was surprising that they chose that place because nobody on this street was notified.”

Crimmons said she had no idea people were moving in to the vacant lot across from her home until she saw their tents Sunday.

“There’s a lot of feeling that it was political maneuvering,” she said of the neighborhood discussions.

Now, Crimmons hopes the women at the camp do find a safe and permanent live in a spot where they’re allowed to be.

“Again, they don’t own that property, so now they’re going to be moving yet again,” she added. “They’re looking for stability, well, that wasn’t the answer.”

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