PORTLAND, Ore. -- Homeless campers living in Southeast Portland’s Brookside Wetlands near Johnson Creek are staying put for now.
They, like many, expected the city to sweep them out Saturday morning, but that didn’t happen. And it may not for a while.
They call it Camp Amanda, a hidden clearing in the Brookside Wetlands near Southeast Foster Road and 110th Avenue.
It’s been home to well over a dozen homeless campers, pushed from Portland's Springwater Corridor last month.
During that time, those campers have been waiting for the city to swoop in and sweep again.
They thought Saturday morning would be the deadline. They were wrong, and they were relieved.
“Right now we can breathe for a moment,” said camper Jackie Hooper.
That’s because Hooper and her fellow campers are adamant that the city has to give them more time; at least 60 days.
They plan to use it to find a new campsite, where they want to live with the city's permission.
“By late 2017, we hope to be able to put tiny houses on the property and have a fully functioning kitchen,” said Hooper.
But Hooper knows those hopes are not a given.
That land, which is situated on part of the Foster Floodplain and near Johnson Creek is owned by the city's Bureau of Environmental Services, and in the last month, questions about campers damaging the environment have come up repeatedly.
Sometimes those questions are centered on nearby beaver dams. Sometimes they’re centered on trash and human waste being discarded so close to the creek.
Hooper says campers are clean, careful and glad they get to stay, for now.
“We feel like if we stand our ground, people will listen to us,” she said.
KGW also spoke to neighbors who live near the Brookside Wetlands. Many said they were also under the impression campers would be moved out of the park Saturday morning.
Mayor Charlie Hales' Office released the following statement on the camp:
The City has not sanctioned any camps on the Springwater Corridor, or given any extensions other than the original start date that was moved to Sep 1 under the MOU with the Oregon Law Center. This includes the Brookside Park and Foster floodplain areas. There's been increased, intensive social service outreach to connect the remaining campers at that location to services and indoor shelter options so cleanup crews can begin work in the area. My understanding is that continued Friday, and possibly over the weekend with social service worker availability. Please note, cleanup work continues along the entire 14-mile section of the City's portion of the Springwater Corridor.