Laurelhurst neighborhood hopes to create "safe space" for kids - KPTV - FOX 12

Laurelhurst neighborhood hopes to create "safe space" for kids

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One Portland neighborhood says they want the city to do something to keep their kids safe amid a growing homeless crisis.

People living in the Laurelhurst neighborhood say they have seen a rise in criminal activity from the growing homeless population.

The neighborhood association wants to ban people from sleeping and camping within 1,000 feet from schools, parks and places kids tend to congregate.

Association President Scott Pratt says the reason for their proposed ordinance is merely to keep kids safe.

He says over the last year or two they’ve been getting more and more reports of hypodermic needles on the ground, people defecating in public places, and more aggressive behavior towards neighbors.

Pratt says he understands the homeless problem and has been sympathetic towards them but adds there is a small group that has mad things pretty bad. His fear is a child may come in contact with a used needle or something worse.

“That is what caused the greatest concern for people. Adults can see a syringe on the ground and know that you have to be careful with it and know the dangers that is involved. The kids see a syringe on the ground and it is a shiny object and they go check it out. That’s what’s got parents really concerned," said Pratt.

Pratt says they unveiled the proposed ordinance and sent it to city commissioners Wednesday night. He’s hopeful to get some feedback soon and feels this is a good starting point in protecting the children of the neighborhood.

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