PORTLAND, Ore. — The sounds of birds chirping and children playing filled the streets of a Southeast Portland neighborhood off Powell Boulevard Friday morning. However, this seemingly safe neighborhood isn’t always that way.
“It’s really just a helpless feeling,” said Libby Brallier, who’s lived in the neighborhood for two years.
She explained that a number of homeless camps and RVs spring up across the street from her house, remaining there for months at a time.
“Very loud fighting,” she said, describing a recent brawl that took place outside her home. “It's not all the time, but it's happened a few times — most recently last Thursday.”
Brallier’s afraid to leave her property unattended and doesn’t walk alone at night. She described a time when she had to call 911 due to intense fighting in the streets.
“I just feel uneasy, that's probably the long and short of it.”
But Brallier knows this isn’t the only neighborhood struggling with these issues.
Last week, Portland’s Impact Reduction Program received 1,803 campsite reports. They observed 385 of them and met with the campers at another 593. Sixteen were cleaned while 43 were completely removed.
The city's Impact Reduction Team told KGW they prioritize the sites that pose the greatest safety and health risk, meaning the camps in Brallier’s neighborhood are most likely at the bottom of that list.
“Just today walking here, we saw a guy just in a towel outside of the RV, just cursing,” said a mother walking her two children through the nearby park. “We’ve seen pans of human excrement and urine, and a lot of bags of garbage.”
People in the neighborhood have reported the camps to the city multiple times, but nothing changes.
“That's scary to think about, that perhaps we'll never get to a point where it seems or feels or looks manageable,” said Brallier.
The city’s Impact Reduction Team reviews every single report — regardless of how many times it’s reported, officials said.