Southeast Portland encampment cleared over safety concerns

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 4:55 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - After the public safety concerns of two large houseless encampments in a Southeast Portland neighborhood, the City of Portland cleared them earlier this week.

Neighbors near Southeast Powell Frontage Road between Southeast 74th and 80th Avenue told FOX 12 that sweeping two large encampment camps doesn’t solve the houseless. They said every time the camps are cleared, they pop back up. But to try and deter campers from settling back down, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), placed cement blocks on the sidewalk and in front of parking spots between Southeast 74th and 75th Avenues and Southeast 79th and 80th Avenues. One neighbor near this campsite who goes by ‘Shanta’ for safety reasons, said over the last seven years she’s lived in the area, the camps just keep growing. No matter how many times the city clears them out.

“They come back and it’s highly disruptive for those people that are barely staying alive,” Shanta said. “It’s just moving the problem to another part of the city.”

SEE ALSO: Man dead after shooting near Foster-Powell encampment, police say

Shanta said since she and her family moved into the neighborhood, safety has always been her biggest concern. The first day she moved in, her family found a man squatting in their new home. Since that day she’s seen open drug use, trash in her yard and other crime.

“We’ve seen people walk down the street with Machetes,” Shanta said. “We’re told by the police there’s nothing they can do. Certainly, some safety issues. I don’t let my kids play unattended in the front yard.”

There were also safety concerns from the encampment near Southeast 74th and 75th Avenues. It came front and center on March 9 when someone was shot and killed at the encampment. The tents and cars are gone but a memorial of white flowers remains to remember the person who died. Shanta knows the houseless crisis is complicated but she said she wants her neighborhood back.

“I try to be tolerant of people being houseless, people having really severe mental health problems,” Shanta said. “There’s just really been no good solution for this houselessness situation.”