Springwater clearing begins, neighbors wonder what's next - KPTV - FOX 12

Springwater clearing begins, neighbors wonder what's next

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

As the City of Portland wrapped up day one of the clean up of the Springwater Corridor, many are left wondering what happens next. A big question is where will these homeless campers go next.

On a day where emotions could run high and anger could seep to the surface, the City of Portland says everything ran smoothly as they moved 70 to 100 people from a small section of the Springwater Corridor in southeast Portland.

“It seems like every time we think we have a shot and everything is going to be okay, it’s kicked out from under us,” one camper said.

Many of the faces camped along the trail are moving once again as the city tries to deal with the homeless crisis.

“Where do you tell them to go?” Sgt. Pete Simpson with Portland Police said. "There is no place to tell them to go, we know that, we can’t pretend to tell them there is a place to go all the time.”

Homeless shelters across the city are running at capacity, so are programs that offer transitional housing and drug treatment.

The city says the tipping point along the Springwater were environmental impacts and public safety concerns. 

Jamie Stradford lives next to the camp in Lambert field off of 82nd Avenue. He says every night there is something new going on from people fighting to shopping carts clanging down the street.

Stradford described one night when his son alerted him to a homeless man riding a bike past his house.

"He was on his bicycle and he was dragging a bat and he was threatening people and it was just scary, the whole neighborhood is just scared," Stradford said.

He says those who need and want help will take it and move one, but he fears those causing problems will be back.

“They may leave for a week, they may come back. It has been those people that have been around for a while they will probably be back.”

Just down 82nd Avenue a few blocks, Patricia Cooke has the same fear. 

In May, camps near her home were cleared out. Since then the neighborhood is indeed cleaner, but she’s worried over Thursday's clean out.

“When we heard they were going to close it up again and get the Springwater Corridor clear, it’s like they are going to come back here,” Cooke said.

The City of Portland says over the last six weeks they’ve been meeting with people camped along the trial to figure out how best to help them, saying they are handling this with humanity and compassion.

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