Homeless camp in North Portland to move, hopefully by October - KPTV - FOX 12

Homeless camp in North Portland to move, hopefully by October

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The entrance to Hazelnut Grove, off N Interstate and Greeley. The entrance to Hazelnut Grove, off N Interstate and Greeley.
Part of the Hazelnut Grove camp in North Portland. Part of the Hazelnut Grove camp in North Portland.
The code of conduct people at the camp agree to live by. The code of conduct people at the camp agree to live by.
Jose Serrica, one of the founders of Hazelnut Grove. Jose Serrica, one of the founders of Hazelnut Grove.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

It’s been the source of discussion – and some frustration – for months, and now Portland city leaders say a homeless camp on the city’s north end called Hazelnut Grove will be moving to a new location, hopefully by October.

It’s welcome news to Chris Trejbal, a member of the Overlook Neighborhood Association.

“Great,” Trejbal told Fox 12 Tuesday. “We still maintain it’s a terrible site for people to be camping so we’re glad to see the mayor’s office is finally taking that concern seriously and looking for a new location to put the camp.”

Trejbal said neighbors had been in talks with leaders of the city and the camp in hopes of developing a temporary permit for Hazelnut Grove, which would bring added regulation and accountability, as well as an end-date for camp operations.

However, Trejbal said the last conversation on the issue was in April.

“We were really close to having an agreement,” he said. “I think, in principal, we agreed on everything and then the city went silent and stopped returning our calls and emails and wouldn’t tell us what was going on.”

Sara Hottman, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s office, issued this statement in response Tuesday:

“Through productive conversations among the City of Portland, the Overlook Neighborhood Association, and Hazelnut Grove, the City has developed a template conditional use agreement that can be used for all City-sanctioned outdoor shelters that will provide a safe place for people sleeping outside. Because the City is actively looking to move Hazelnut Grove to an area that is serviceable, the conditional use agreement is not necessary for that location.”

Hottman said the camp’s current location isn’t easy to access, which makes servicing things like garbage and portable toilets difficult and that the city has been looking to relocate Hazelnut Grove for some time.

Camp founder Jose Serrica said people living there are open to moving and have been at the table for discussions with the city and neighbors in recent weeks.

“We’re open to negotiate to finding a suitable place we can develop into a community,” Serrica told Fox 12 Tuesday.

He said 25 people live there now.  They follow a code of conduct, encompassing things like no violence and no stealing.

Serrica said it’s a model that works and wherever they go, they will still be a community.

“This is the reverse effect of what everyone is terrified of,” he said. “Rather than vilifying people, when you do give them a space they will take care of each other and everyone around them.”

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