North Portland homeless camp and neighborhood association at impasse

Image: KPTV

Members of a north Portland homeless camp are clashing with nearby homeowners, and the head of the neighborhood association wants city leaders to shut the camp down.

The Hazelnut Grove Village is near the corner of North Greeley and Interstate Avenue, right below Overlook Park. It is fenced in, several tiny homes have been built there and 16 residents live there full time, including Jackie Hooper.

Hooper says they’ve been attending meetings with the Overlook Neighborhood Association and one of their campers was just elected to the board. But after they contacted the city to work out details about utility services, she said their good communication stopped.

“We did not go to the city, you know, sneakily,” said Hooper. “We have been working with the city so we can get garbage, water – some of the essentials. That’s what we’re trying to do is work with the neighborhood and join forces.”

Overlook Neighborhood Association Chair Chris Trejbal says the two sides had an agreement. For the last few months, they’ve been meeting to hash out a good neighbor agreement through mediation.

During mediation, they agreed that neither side would talk to city leaders. Trejbal said Hazelnut Grove leaders went behind their backs.

The camp does not have a permit and while fire inspectors have provided them with smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, Trejbal thinks the camp is a fire hazard and homes on the bluff are at risk.

“Our view has been that it’s not a good place for a camp. Let’s find a better place for Hazelnut Grove,” said Trejbal. “But from the very beginning, which was two years ago, the city has not been willing to work with us on it. They pretty much cut us out of the process.”

A spokeswoman from Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly’s office sent FOX 12 the following statement on the matter: "We are currently engaged in active conversations with both Overlook and Hazelnut Grove to find solutions that work for everyone."

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