Portland man says houseless neighbors saved his life, then forced to move

Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 9:13 PM PST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - A Portland man credits his houseless neighbors for saving his life during an attack.

FOX 12 spoke with that man who said he feels less safe now that those neighbors have been forced to move.

The neighbor said eight houseless people used to live on this block up until a couple of days ago. He’s upset by this, telling FOX 12 they kept the street clean and also safe.

Jakob Hollenbeck said he moved to the Pearl District in Portland earlier this year to be close to work.

“I’m working as a paralegal, so I’ve been able to walk there,” Jakob Hollenbeck said.

But as he was walking home last Monday night, he quickly found himself in a scary situation.

“He got really belligerent and had a shard of glass in his hand,” Hollenbeck said. “[He] threatened to kill me.”

That’s when he said his houseless neighbors jumped in to protect him.

SEE ALSO: Ice storm for I-5 corridor and metro area Friday, then warming for some of us Christmas Eve

“Two of the guys who live there, jumped out of their tents and rushed in front of me and protected me,” Hollenbeck said.

He said a group of eight houseless people who lived in front of his home for months were some of the best neighbors he’s ever had.

“They would sweep up the street almost everyday,” Hollenbeck said.

“We managed to clean everything that needs to be cleaned,” Mo Smith, one of Hollenbeck’s former houseless neighbors, said. “Our neighbors are really quiet, and they don’t have any complaints about us.”

Hollenbeck said four days after he was attacked, he found out his houseless neighbors were being forced to move.

“The city had posted notice that they had 72 hours to vacate the area,” Hollenbeck said.

He said after his friends moved away, that same person who’d attacked him came back on Tuesday.

“He smashed our window and put some of his stuff on our doorstep,” Hollenbeck said.

SEE ALSO: 3-legged deer tangled in Christmas lights rescued by Oregon wildlife officials

Portland police said they responded just before 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday to reports of smashed-out windows in the basement of the house. And officials said they arrested 49-year-old David Diaz for vandalism.

Jakob said he’d like to bring awareness to the lack of options for houseless people, especially for those neighbors he’s gotten to know and credits with saving his life.

“One of the ones who protected me actually said this is the third time he’s had to relocate in six months,” Hollenbeck said. “And so, to constantly have to start and restart.”

Jakob said he did reach out to the City of Portland, and eventually did hear back from the city after his houseless friends relocated, and said the only reason he thinks might’ve led to them being moved is the size of the group may have fallen under the definition of a “large encampment.”