PORTLAND, Ore. -- A Southeast Portland homeowner is under investigation for allowing a homeless couple to camp in her backyard.
“I let them stay there because they’re helping me,” said Flor Hilliard. “Cleaning around, moving, because I can’t do that myself anymore.”
In exchange for helping around the property near Southeast 40th Avenue and Powell Boulevard, the homeless couple gets space for a tent and other belongings. They even get some utilities from the homeowner.
“It is strange,” said neighbor Lisa Kiraly.
Kiraly has sympathy for the couple, but she is tired of the yelling and drinking she has noticed since they settled in more than a month ago.
“I’ve actually gone to a party at that apartment complex. You can get a visual a little more, see a lot of beer cans,” said Kiraly.
Regardless of the campsite’s condition, it is illegal. The city of Portland prohibits camping of any kind on private property.
“You can have health, sanitation concerns,” said Mike Liefeld of the Bureau of Development Services. “You can have fire concerns to surrounding properties and the general public at large.”
An inspector with the city will be out to the property to investigate in the coming days. If Hilliard is found to be in violation of city code she will have a few days to get rid of her backyard guests.
“I don’t know what to do to them because they’re helping me around the house,” said Hilliard.