Residents of RVs parked in N. Portland say they understand why n - KPTV - FOX 12

Residents of RVs parked in N. Portland say they understand why neighbors are upset

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The number of complaints the Portland Bureau of Transportation has received this year about run-down recreational vehicles is already more than last year, just six months into 2017.

Last year, the city received 4,111 complaints, according to PBOT. 

City officials say they installed “No Parking” signs this week on North Lombard Street in Portland to address the issue of frequent camping in that section.

On Thursday, a caravan of nine RV camps sat across the street from Pier Park.

Residents living in them say they understand why people want them gone.

“You can’t hate the community for being so cold-hearted. I mean, they don’t want to be. I’m sure they weren’t before but it’s just getting worse every day,” said Loni Hein, who has been living in an RV for more than a year.

Hein moved to North Lombard a few months ago and “cans,” scavenging soda cans or beer bottles with her fiancé just to make ends meet.

“There are a lot of people that - they’ll can. All they want is enough for a pack of cigarettes or dope or whatever, and in the meantime, they’re looking at everyone’s belongings to see what they can take,” Hein said.

Hein’s neighbor, Shené Garrison, is 24 years old and lives with her husband.

“We’re just trying to live and use this as a stepping stone to move forward in our lives,” said Garrison.

She said she moved from St. Helens a few months ago to be closer to friends in Portland. Garrison said she was one of the first campers on North Lombard.

“I just feel like we’re not really hurting anyone here,” said Garrison.

While being interviewed by FOX 12, a man pulled over in his truck and interrupted the conversation saying a person living in an RV on North Lombard stole from him.

“Everybody wants to help them but 80 percent of them, they’re out there stealing at night. Not all of them but a lot of them,” he said.  

The people living in the motor homes in north Portland say they’re just as worried about that problem as their surrounding community is.

“The people that are down here are also getting things stolen from,” said Garrison.

The city has placed neon green “Tow Warning” tags on the RVs themselves on North Lombard St.

RV residents say they know the city will eventually push them out of this area.

“I’m just here until I can get somewhere better to go,” said Hein.

According to a city policy called the Community Caretaking Tow Program, Portland police can tow an RV, but only if there is an immediate safety or health concern. 

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