Volunteers will aid homeless on Springwater Trail past sweep

Volunteers help homeless on Springwater Trail

PORTLAND, Ore. -- For months, volunteers have been trying to help homeless campers along the Springwater Trail survive.

But often there’s more to it than providing food and water. Some out on the trail are running away from abusers.

“We've been trying to get women who are domestic violence victims and pregnant women off the trail so they're safe,” said Cindy Hines, executive director of Boots on the Ground PDX.

She said they helped three victims of sexual assault get off the trail Wednesday.

On Thursday, city workers will clear campers from the Springwater Trail but volunteers said Wednesday night would certainly not be their last night volunteering.

“We’ll be working through this week and beyond as we're needed,” said registered nurse Trisha Baslar.

Like many people who care about the campers, Baslar was most worried about where they would go once they left the trail.

“We weren't told by the city or county that they had a place to go, so my job is basically to follow the people,” said Baslar.

Baslar has been volunteering on the trail since December, running triage for campers' medical needs. Hines has been volunteering on nights and weekends, handing out food and supplies.

While the days grow shorter, volunteers say the need will not wane, even if it's somewhere else.

“We are in desperate need of tents and sleeping bags,” said Hines. “Especially because the rain is coming and people are complaining of being cold at night.”


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