Section of Springwater Trail bouncing back months after sweep - KPTV - FOX 12

Section of Springwater Trail bouncing back months after sweep

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

With spring upon the Northwest, the trees are budding, the grass is growing and the flowers are blooming. In spots along the Springwater Trail in southeast Portland, the sides of the trail look completely different than what they did in the fall. 

Last summer, the Lents neighborhood and city worked to clear sections of the trail that had become overrun with homeless campers. 

On Sunday afternoon, those who live near the trail between Southeast 92nd Avenue and Southeast 102nd Avenue walked the trail to see how it fared over the winter. 

“It is really actually a beautiful place,” said neighbor Thomas Legg. “There are a lot of cyclists out here and it is a great place to walk.”

He walked with FOX 12 along the stretch of pavement. He pointed to spots where the camps used to be and how the grass has begun growing in the place.

Legg says it took a lot of work to rid the area of garbage and drug paraphernalia. 

Over the last year, he says he has made several trips out to the trail to talk with those who had set up camp.

“We come out here and talk to these people,” Legg said. “I became friends with a man named Frederico and he actually lived right here.”

Legg says Frederico had fallen on hard times and just needed a little help to get back on his feet. He says he owned a dog that he would often bring him food. 

From what he knows, Frederico has begun to bounce back but has not heard from him in several months.

“I’ve looked for him, but he got into housing, I believe that he is housed but I have not seen him since late last summer, so I wish him well,” Legg said. 

Not all the stories Legg tells from the trail are happy ones. He pointed to a spot where a woman lived with her daughters. He said one day she died. Her kids left a memorial on the trail, writing in pink and purple letters, “RIP mom.”

With this section of trail now cleared of camps, there is fear that the rumblings of budget cuts could lead to less homeless outreach services or park rangers. 

“The fear is, the word that coming down from the pipe is the budget may be cut in May or June, so it is going to be another different battle,” Legg said.

Neighbors say they understand how complex the problems and issues around homeless are but add they like the way things have been going along their section of the Springwater Trail.

They say they are remaining optimistic as they wait to see what happens this summer.

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