Police begin removing campers from Springwater Corridor - KPTV - FOX 12

Police begin removing campers from Springwater Corridor

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Portland cleaning crews took to the Springwater Corridor Thursday morning for one of the biggest homeless sweeps in the city’s history.

The trail has been a popular camping area for many in the homeless community.  But after concerns arose about public safety, city officials decided a changed need to be made.

Crews will sweep 14 miles of the trail starting around 8 a.m. at Southeast 82nd Avenue near Flavel and Lambert Streets.

Those living along the Springwater Corridor originally had until Aug. 1 to move out of the area, however Portland Mayor Charlie Hales postponed the sweep another 30 days after hearing testimonies from local advocates.

The mayor’s office said they made contact with more than 500 people and helped more than 150 of those people with non-housing personal care.

City officials said most of the homeless have already moved into shelters, but the mayor admitted there is certainly not enough beds for everyone.

“From what I hear the shelters are full and there’s a waiting list,” said Tim Scott, a camper who has moved to another part of the city. “A lot of people here don’t want to go to a shelter.”

Other campers said the sweep is not going to solve anything and at the end of the day, they will still be homeless.

"It seems like every time we have a shot or something's going to be okay, it's kicked out from under us," said Springwater camper Richelle Irving. "There's pretty much a low amount of hope."

The mayor’s office said crews plan to focus on areas where environmental concerns and public safety have been a problem.

Neighbors said they have been anxiously awaiting the cleanup. Many are pleased they will be able to use the trail again.

“We’d probably go again when they get it cleaned up,” neighbor Errol Schrock said.  

Some neighbors are still skeptical and are doubtful the homeless will stay away for long.

They mayor’s office said there is no official deadline for the cleanup because they plan to conduct the sweep with humanity and compassion.

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