SE Portland residents scared after homeowner attacked by nearby camper

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 5:09 AM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore (KPTV) - Neighbors living at Southeast 111th say their lives have become a living nightmare and they feel like there’s nothing they can do to change that.

Recently neighbors said they witnessed a man being attacked by a person on their street. This is something they say would have never happened a few years ago.

Gwen Ingram, who lives near a homeless encampment, said she’d never before felt how she does now. She says she’s afraid to go outside in daylight.

“When I first moved in,” she recalled, “it was like a ‘Leave it to Beaver’ neighborhood.”

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“We never had any issues until the tents started moving in,” Ingrams neighbor, Deena Closson, added.

One by one, Closson remembered tents began showing up. She alleges the occupants began sleeping in their backyards, stealing things and even breaking in.

“It’s terrifying,” Ingram said, “people scream at you, yell at you, and threaten you.”

Ingram claims police haven’t been helpful.

“We’d call and they’d ask, ‘do you want us to come?’ We’re like, ‘yes we want you come to come out!’ That’s a stupid question.”

Neighbors say they’re understanding of people having hard times that could lead to homelessness, and even admit to being empathetic to the trash and junk lying around their yards. However, now they say they feel threatened.

They claim to have witnessed children chased on their way to school.

Jovenn Pacheco, another neighbor, said he saw someone overdosing a couple of days ago. “The fire department came and literally brought this man back to life while I was holding my six-month old son in the window,” he said. “I said, ‘that’s it.’ So, I called the police. They answer and say drugs are decriminalized and can’t do anything. Call PBOT.”

“Date came, date went,” he said. “We’re looking at three months later with no movement at all.”

Ingram said that makes her feel “absolutely helpless. It’s a dark tunnel. No light. Absolutely helpless.”

Closson added that because of the continued issues, she doesn’t feel comfortable even going out and getting her mail.

“It just affects everything,” she said. Closson reflected on a time when she said she woke up to someone standing over her bed inside her home. Afraid for her life, she said she grabbed nearby bug spray and sprayed him. Then, chucked a hammer at him and he went back out the front door.

Since then she has installed a lock on her gate and added a can to it that she hopes will rattle if someone tries to jump over the fence. “Now, I hear anything, and I can’t sleep at night. I’m scared.”

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Ingram feels like they have no choice but to fend for themselves, “because there’s no one coming to help us. So, I see it just getting worse and worse and worse and there’s not solution being offered.”

“I’m not saying it’s the people,” Pacheco emphasized. He just hopes for a better life for his six-month-old growing up in the area. “It’s the safety. Make me feel safe. I don’t feel safe in the city I live in.”

“When is help coming,” Ingram asked defeatedly.

Like her other neighbors, she hopes help from the city comes soon.