Homeless camps pepper Springwater Corridor

Homeless camps pepper Springwater Corridor

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by Mark Hanrahan, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on June 24, 2014 at 6:10 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 24 at 9:10 PM

PORTLAND -- Tucked away a few feet off of the Springwater Corridor, stands Marc Cordova’s tent.

He said he’s been in the wooded area near Southeast 87th Avenue and Flavel Street for the last 3 weeks, and homeless for more than ten years.

According to numbers released by Portland Parks and Recreation, rangers documented 60 homeless camps along the 21-mile-long trail between March 10th and June 13th of this year.

Along with those camps have come problems, according to neighbors.

“There’s no excuse,” said Colette Batman. “There’s none.”

Batman said property crime, drug use and intimidation are just a few the issues she and other neighbors constantly deal with.

Cordova couldn’t say exactly why he chose to camp off the Springwater Corridor, but he’s far from alone.

“I never thought I’d be homeless until 2002 and it's been a struggle ever since,” Cordova said. “Between addiction and recovery and prison, you know.”

Just yesterday, Batman said, a homeless person on a bike slapped her back while she walked her dog on the trail.

“Bottom line is the bike path is useless to me because I’m scared, frightened,” she said.

Other neighbors share her frustration.

”A lot of theft goes on in this neighborhood,“ said Larry Eppler, who regularly walks his dogs on the Springwater Corridor. “The people that inhabit these camps and all are a major part of it.”

Parks rangers and police regularly patrol the Springwater Corridor, but both agencies note that there’s no easy solution to the issue.

“We can’t solve the homelessness in the area. And, certainly that does drive some of the crime – not all of it,” said Portland police Sergeant Pete Simpson. “What we’re encouraging people to do is to continue to call the police.”

City Commissioner Amanda Fritz said aside from the Right to Dream Too camp in the Old Town neighborhood of downtown Portland, there’s no other place for people who live outside to go.

As for Cordova, he said he’ll be packing up and leaving his camp soon.

On Monday he received a letter from the city’s office of Environmental Services stating that he must remove his belongings.

“I don’t know where to go next,” he said.

Neighbors, still discouraged, said it won’t be long before someone else takes his place.

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