TROUTDALE, Ore. – A cleanup is underway at the Sandy River Delta National Scenic area, where people have been reporting dozens of illegal campsites and piles of garbage.
The Sandy River “Thousand Acres” area is a popular place for people to fish and walk their dogs. But over time, a homeless camp in the area has grown so much that deputies say it’s too dangerous.
Deputies found piles of garbage, burned batteries, needles, and other drug paraphernalia in the area.
“One of the big risks is safety to the community,” said Sgt. Brandon White. "We've arrested a few people at this campsite who had warrants. One had a weapon."
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Homeless Outreach and Programs Engagement reached out to the campers, offering care packages from churches and other resources. Then campers were told on Friday they would have to pack up and move on.
The HOPE team mission begins with a compassionate "outreach first" approach before any enforcement of the unlawful camping ordinance, White said
“We've been out here several times, giving gift packages for local churches, giving blankets and food,” he said. “They know it’s coming and we are trying to provide options to them. We understand that it’s tough right now, and we're trying to respond as compassionately as we can."
At the same time, everyone is keeping a close eye on the Sandy River, the water is flowing over the banks, near the campsites. It's another reason, deputies say it’s time for the campers to move on.