NE Portland shop owners at wits end dealing with homeless

Business owners say homeless crisis impacting business

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Mackin’s Auto Body in Northeast Portland can’t seem to get the help they need.

Employees say an RV has been parked outside their shop for months. Trash has piled up. They’ve even found needles.

“I think it's way out of hand. It's gotten so out of control and I think it's an embarrassment for our city,” said one of the owners of Mackin’s Auto Body Shop, Suzanne Mackin.

This week, employees even found a stripped SUV. 



“It was sitting there with broken-out windows, then we come in Wednesday it has the tires missing. We come in Thursday, the hood's half cracked open. Come in today the hood's all the way open,” recalled Frank Jozaitis, Mackin’s Auto Body Facility Manager.

“I talked to the police officer about it and he says it actually belongs to the motor home,” he continued.

Jozaitis and Mackin said the parked RV and the trash is hurting their business.

“We have customers that come in and we have vendors that drive by and they feel threatened,” said Mackin.

“It brings in a lot of bad elements to the area and we’re trying to run a business here. There are a lot of syringe needles around and stuff and we don’t want to endanger by employees,” said Ken Daron, the Shop Manager.

They said police have been called about every other week for months. Nothing has happened.

“They're telling me that there's nothing they can do because if it's classified as a homeless vehicle then because of the city [policy], they can't do anything about it,” Daron said.

“The city has instructed us to use a coffee can, to cut a hole in the coffee can and pick the hypodermic needles to remove them from our property and I don't feel that's the smart thing to do,” Mackin said.

Al Perez works at Arrow Roofing. Mackin's Auto Body Shop is between his business and the street. He said the homeless situation in the area is getting worse.

“We're seeing a lot more homeless in this area by far, than I've ever seen,” said Perez.

For a while now, he said the company has employed a security guard who patrols 365 days a year just in case.

Back over at Mackin's, folks feel helpless.

“Because the city, every person we've talked to they say you've got to contact this person or you got to contact that person and nobody wants to do something about it,” said Jozaitis.

To find out what can be done in this type of situation, KGW reached out to Portland police. They referred us to Parking Patrol at the Bureau of Transportation. People there, passed us off to the Mayor's office.

Brian Worley with the Mayor’s office responded, saying that people can report livability issues with illegal camping to the One Point of Contact system here.

If there's criminal activity, then police should be contacted.


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