Lents residents to city: Listening about homeless crisis isn't enough

Lents to city: Take action on homeless crisis

PORTLAND, Ore. -- After years of watching strings of homeless camps pop up in Portland's Lents neighborhood, Wednesday afternoon, Robert Schultz wanted to be clear.

Tuesday night’s town hall with Mayor Ted Wheeler and multiple city commissioners, he said, marked progress.
“We are an identified injured party as a community now,” he said.

New homeless camps along I-205 spur Lents town hall

But he added, for him, the acknowledgement of his neighborhood’s plight isn’t enough.

“So the mayor comes and says 'Wow, yeah it is bad, it is bad. Wow, we acknowledge you have a bad problem here!' What happens next?” he said.

The Mayor’s spokesman Michael Cox wrote told KGW via email there were no updates to “next steps”, relevant to complaints heard at Tuesday’s town hall.

Southeast Portland business owner Steve Spinnett is one of many who would like an update to come sooner than later. He argues the problem goes beyond simply sleeping outside.

“It's the illegal, brazen attitude out there with no fear of the law,” he said.

Spinnett owns Steve's Imports, which sits near 92nd and Flavel, right next to the Springwater Corridor.

He says these days, the trail is clear, but properties around it are not.

Spinnett says drug use is common in the area surrounding his shop. He believes prostitution is, too.
He thinks the city and police should be able to do more to crack down on crimes committed by campers.

“I don't know if it's political correctness. I don't know what it is, but it makes no sense to me,” he said. “It is more work. They're going to have to work harder.”

As Lents residents continued putting pressure on the city Wednesday, the pattern of homeless camps putting down roots and, days later, being uprooted continued.

About 20 campers told KGW were ordered by ODOT crews to move from their location along the I-205 bike path near Southeast 94th and Francis.

One woman named Jasmine said she was exhausted and had no idea where she’ll go.

“We're the only ones here trying to clean up and leave a good impression. We don't want to make it harder than it already is,” she said.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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