FAIRVIEW, Ore. (KPTV) – Heavy rain last week brought flooding to parts of Oregon, including at Fairview Lake. But gunfire from a homeless camp near a drainage pump kept crews from clearing debris and reducing water levels.

Geoff Brown said his basement flooded with a half foot of water last Thursday, ruining flooring, walls, and furniture. Brown said he and his neighbors warned the City of Portland and Multnomah County for weeks about clearing the drainage pump for Fairview Lake, but they were ignored.

"This could’ve been avoided,” Brown said. “It was a very easy solution and so now all of us around the lake are extremely frustrated."

The pump is located in Portland city limits but helps keep water levels at Fairview Lake from overflowing. Brown said a large homeless camp surrounding the pump made it dangerous for Multnomah County Drainage District employees to access it.

Jim Middaugh is the executive director for MCDD and said debris from the homeless camp surrounded the site.

"There was a variety of abandoned vehicles, campers, garbage and other material that we had to cross through to access our pump station," he said.

It wasn't the debris from around the pump that made it dangerous, it was gunfire. Middaugh said contract workers at the pump heard six gunshots. No one was hit, but he said this isn't an isolated incident. His employees have heard gunfire from homeless camps at other locations. It has left some workers anxious about going to work.

"“When you're fearful for your life, it’s difficult to do your job,” Middaugh said. “That’s why we're working in cooperation with the Portland Police Bureau and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office trying to secure these really critical infrastructure areas."

As of Sunday, Middaugh said debris was cleared so crews could get access to the pump. He said 150 cubic yards of debris was removed from the pump, including vegetation and garbage. It happened under the protective eye of law enforcement, which was stationed nearby.

Brown said while he's happy the pump is finally being cleared, it’s too little, too late.

“The frustration lies with the city of Portland not providing the support needed, on PBOT and a police level to make sure the pump was in operation," Brown said.


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