Springwater Trail cleanup: A hot topic between homeless and home - KPTV - FOX 12

Springwater Trail cleanup: A hot topic between homeless and homeowners

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

In less than a week, the City of Portland will formally post notices about an upcoming cleanup along the Springwater Trail Corridor. Crews will start cleaning Aug. 1, focusing in the Lents and Brentwood-Darlington portions of the trail.

On Sunday evening, a group called Portland Tenants United held a private meeting by the trails near Southeast 82nd Avenue to find a short-term solution for campers who want to resist the sweep.

"I tell everyone, don't add fuel to the fire," camper Tim Scott said. "If you don't add fuel to the fire, the fire goes out."

Scott plans to protest and continue camping. He said he's been on the streets for more than eight years and there is no other place for him to go. Scott said he wants to speak to the mayor to offer a suggestion, which is to give campers property which they can purchase.

"Not everyone is bad out here," Scott said. "All I want to do is make a living."

On the other side of the trails is where Carol Johnson lives with her family of young children.

"Families come through [the trails]," Johnson said. "Most of them won't let kids go out by themselves anymore."

Johnson said she tries to help the campers when she can, by providing clothes or food when it’s available. However, she does not appreciate when people steal things off her property.

"They come to my water faucet by the side of my house and wash up," Johnson said.

The city announced the cleanup comes after recent public outcry and an increase of violence and fires along the trails. Mayor Charlie Hales estimates more than 400 people live along the trail. Since the announcement, social workers have visited camps to reach out to the homeless to connect them with services they might qualify for.

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