Portlanders walk through, 'assess' homeless camps

Neighbors tour & "assess" homeless camps

A small faction of people in Southeast Portland say it has become their job to assess the city's homeless camps.

So around noon on Sunday, they took a walk to see what, they say, the city is blind to.

“Housed or houseless, this camping is illegal. We're in a wetlands area,” said one resident who lives in the Lents neighborhood.

They walked unannounced into homeless camps in and around the Brookside Wetlands near Southeast 110th and Foster.

It's a property owned and protected by Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services.



Many, including campers, expected the city to clear it out Saturday, but that didn't happen.

“No one should be camping here, and we're seeing firsthand the devastation and destruction,” said a Lents resident.

Some of those who showed up Sunday live near Brookside.

Others live in Lents, which contains the Springwater Corridor.

Many of these campers currently staying in Brookside used to live there.

The group found what they expected, including trash, hypodermic needles and a burned out patch of land.

People, though, were scarce.

That is, until a man's voice surfaced from inside a tent.



“A man in a tent back here demanded to know what we were doing. We told him we're walking in our park,” said Bonnie Hodge, who lives near Brookside.

Back out on Foster, some in the group were greeted by campers living in an RV.

One man, who called himself “Totem Pole” wasn’t pleased to see the group walking through.

“Hassling people like that is not going to get anything done,” he said. “We're not bad people. We're amazing people. We're very kind.”

He paused, then added, “How does it go? Respect existence or expect resistance.”

A few minutes after that, a homeless advocate showed up and talked with the group.

By 1 p.m. everyone left, except the campers, who stayed.


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