The City of Portland is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a year cleaning up after homeless campers, in an effort to mitigate the impact of the city's homeless crisis.
Seven days a week, crews from Central City Concern's Clean Start program drive from campsite to campsite, removing garbage.
CCC has a contract with the City of Portland and the Central Eastside Industrial Council to provide the service.
The City of Portland allocated $350,000 dollars in its most recent budget to fund the program, and the CEIC pays $370,000 dollars per year.
According to Central City Concern, the Clean Start program started with a single truck but now has four.
"Usually, they can fill it up about twice in a day," Jay McIntyre, Clean Start's business director, said. "Sometimes, it's more, sometimes it's less."
The garbage inevitably piles up again, but McIntyre said regular pickups at this point have become a necessity.
"If we weren't doing this on a daily basis, improving the livability of the city, there would be trash everywhere, and it would be awful," McIntyre said.
The program also provides jobs for formerly homeless or incarcerated workers. David Livingston said he was in and out of prison, and hooked on methamphetamine before he got clean and found work with Clean Start.
"I can relate to the people that are out here struggling with homelessness because we all share the same thing," Livingston said. "Incarceration and addiction. And that's what it all boils down to. No one seems to understand that you're just that one paycheck away from being there. "
In the month of April alone, Clean Start crews picked up nearly 89,000 pounds of trash.
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