PORTLAND, Ore. -- Norman Chusid goes way back in the Buckman neighborhood.
His family has owned Ankeny Hardware for 68 years. Norman has worked there for 54 of those years. He loves the area, but says the city has allowed it to become a dumping ground for the homeless.
“This has become, sadly, the septic tank of Southeast Portland,” said Chusid, who adds that he is compassionate about the lack of housing in Portland.
He points to the streets surrounding his store, on Southeast Stark Street and 11th Avenue. Homeless campers line the sidewalks, with the debris that comes with them. “Old mattresses, old clothes,” said Chusid. “I walked by, there was a couple of rats I saw running around.”
Chusi says the problem has worsened since the sweep of the Springwater Corridor, and that the city is unresponsive.
“The best response is no response,” said Chusid. “They don’t do anything.”
Nearby, 64-year-old Barbara Gomez sits camped under a tarp on the sidewalk. She says the homeless always have to be ready to move.
“It’s like every two weeks,” said Gomez. “They’re asking you to pack up and move, you have nowhere to go except to another block, and every day there’s more people out here.”