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‘It's not my house’: Houseless people take over vacant home in SE Portland

Some people living in a Southeast Portland neighborhood have moved out after a group of houseless people took over a vacant home, making them feel unsafe.

PORTLAND, Ore — When you drive down Southeast 113th Avenue, it seems like an ordinary neighborhood. To the people who live there, however, there's one house that stands out.

“They keep it nice and tidy on the outside so they try to blend in with the neighborhood, but everyone knows what's going on over there,” said Lily Wilde, who’s lived in the neighborhood for 10 years. 

Over the past four years, a group of people experiencing homelessness have moved into a vacant home on her street.

“You should see the people that come around here,” Wilde said. She described seeing drug deals outside the house and activity that makes her feel unsafe. “I can't look out my bedroom window without starting to sweat just because of them.”

RELATED: ‘I’m taking over’: North Portland homeless encampment charges rent for houseless people to stay

“It’s a bit unnerving at times,” said Thomas Adcock, who lives nearby. “I think it definitely brings unwanted traffic into this neighborhood.”

Adcock explained that there were two other vacant homes in the neighborhood where houseless people stayed. Those have since been cleared out and renovated, but this one remains.

“There was a chop shop down the street that had drugs flowing out the door, people stealing cars and chopping them up,” he said.

“We see drug dealing, we see drug use, public urination in the front yard,” added another neighbor. “It makes me upset the city doesn't seem to care about our neighborhood.”

KGW knocked on the door and talked with those living in the house. They admitted they don’t own the house and that they only pay the electrical bills. They said they’re just waiting for the day they’re forced to move out.

RELATED: A new study says the housing market is largely to blame for Portland’s homeless crisis

“It's not my house. I don't own this house, I know that,” said a woman who came to the door. She insisted that they were not squatters, however.

Records from Portland’s Bureau of Development Services, the department that responds to complaints about dangerous living conditions, showed the property has been cited seven times since the early 2000s. We asked them about people staying there illegally now.

“Several of the properties that we look at have had some sort of degree of unauthorized persons in them — but again, that's a matter for law enforcement to deal with,” said Ken Ray, public information officer for the Bureau of Development Services.

As for getting police to respond, neighbors say that's been an ongoing battle.

“It's like almost a lawless city a little bit, feels like no one's really listening and that kind of freaks me out a little bit,” said Adcock.

“They know my name at the police station — when I call they don't do anything,” said Wilde.

KGW called Portland police Friday about this house, and they told us to get back to them next week.

RELATED: City of Portland agreed to pay Housing Bureau Director $87,000 to resign

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