PORTLAND, Ore. -- Mayor Charlie Hales is planning a massive cleanup for Portland's Springwater Corridor next month, a move that could curtail homeless camping along the trail.
Hundreds of campers live along the path, which has been a focal point in the city's ongoing homeless crisis.
As first reported in The Oregonian, the cleanup project will begin on August 1 and "No Trespassing" signs will be posted along the corridor. It is unclear where the campers will go or what the ongoing enforcement plan will be for the area.
"Things have developed on the Springwater to a point that we now think we have to act," Hales said in a video interview. "And that is a combination of the number of homeless people living there, the environmental damage that this critical green ribbon through the city is suffering, and the rising number of public safety concerns and actual public safety problems, all gets it to a tipping point where we have to say, 'The Springwater's going to have to be off limits.'"
He said the cleanup project will start in the Lents and Brentwood-Darlington neighborhoods, where the Portland Police Bureau estimates nearly 300 campers are currently staying. Other reports have placed the number as high as 500 people in different locations along the trail.
The popular recreational trail runs through Portland, Gresham and Milwaukie creating jurisdictional challenges as different agencies and organizations have tried to address the homeless issue.
Neighbors have repeatedly complained about the impact of the homeless camps, both from environmental and safety perspectives, and police have been called repeatedly to investigate possible crimes.
"That would be terrific," said neighbor Amelia Juarez of the cleanup. "At least we could go out and walk in our trail."
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