PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Mayor Charlie Hales announced he will delay the scheduled homeless sweep along the Springwater Corridor by one month, to Sept. 1.
"That doesn't mean we're not going to be doing anything out there," said Hales. "We're sending outreach workers out there, and that's going to continue."
Hales said dumpsters will be placed along the trail to help collect garbage.
Hundreds of homeless people have been camping along the Springwater Corridor for months. The popular recreational trail runs through Portland, Gresham and Milwaukie, and has become the center of Portland’s homeless crisis.
Earlier this month, the mayor announced a massive sweep would begin on Aug. 1. He said the city needed to act because the number of homeless people in one place created too many public safety concerns and too much environmental damage.
Hales’ plan came after months of complaints by people living and working near the corridor. Reports of illegal dumping, excessive trash, violent attacks and even fires led to the mayor's announcement.
On Monday, homeless campers and advocates met with Hales asking that he cancel or delay the sweep. The meeting followed a tense weekend of heated confrontations between homeless people and area homeowners on the trail.
The mayor's office says the city is aware that there are currently not enough shelter beds for the hundreds of campers who will be displaced by the sweep.
"We don't have enough shelter beds," Hales said. "It's the humane thing to do."
Homeless people along the trail and advocates are happy with the mayor's decision.
"I was jumping up and down and crying because this has been a really tough battle for them out here," said Amanda Reese, a homeless advocate with Rose City Backpacks of Hope. "They've been scared."
"We just want to see something get done. I mean a month, that's a win. That's a win for us," said Jason Pilcher, who is homeless with his wife.
No trespassing signs will be placed along the trail, warning that trespassing will be illegal starting Sept. 1, the mayor said.
“This is big. These people are fragile,” said Hales.
This breaking story will be updated.