Neighbors say homeless moving into vacant homes in Portland

Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 10:16 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - One Southeast Portland family says they’ve had enough of their revolving door of next-door neighbors. The couple says they’re empathetic to those experiencing homelessness but have been sent over the edge.

Jacob and Beth Adams say their lives are being put on the line.

“There are fires that have been happening off and on. Major ones. This recent one actually came and set our property on fire,” Jacob Adams said.

Adams added things like this have been going on for five years, and “within 12 hours of that fire, another fire popped up. My wife was screaming, and propane tanks were igniting off from the fire.”

Adams said he was forced to buy his own fire extinguishers. He recalls multiple thefts off his property, even allegedly catching one culprit red-handed who he claims stole some of his wood.

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Adams says the list goes on and on, and that drug use, fights and the like are all too common right next door at a home riddled with graffiti, eviction notices, broken windows, missing walls and a large hole in the roof.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve talked to police, because people are screaming, or someone is overdosing. It’s just countless, countless first responders’ calls. We all have to love our neighbor no matter who they are. But at the point when they start setting your place on fire it becomes a little more difficult.”

Living beyond a tree line adjacent to the home is 83-year-old veteran Armand Martens, who said he has also been dealing with theft from those who are passing through the house.

“They hooked up a hose to my water here,” Martens said, “and about four times I’ve had to drag it back.”

Martens has also reached the end of his rope. “I felt safer when I was walking around in downtown Saigon when I was in Vietnam than I do here in Portland.”

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Both men are fearful they may have no choice but to leave the city they know and love.

“I was born here in Portland,” Adams said. “I love this city. It’s the best city in the world.”

Right now, Martens has a gripe with city leaders.

“It seems like all of the stuff they’re doing is enabling the homeless people,” Martens said.

For Adams, he said he leads with love, and understands people need a place to sleep, “but when the owner doesn’t enforce the trespassing laws, and when we call him everything’s on deaf ears. And the police’s hands are tied because they can’t vacate people because we call, but what does that do?”

Adams’ big takeaway is that he wants he and his wife to feel safe again in their own home and is calling on city leaders or the homeowner to help him to do so.