PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hundreds of people from Southeast Portland’s Lents neighborhood attended a town hall meeting Tuesday to address trash and crime related to a new stretch of homeless camps.
Neighbors said the problems centered on camps that popped up along Interstate 205 last week, near Southeast 94th Avenue and Francis Street.
A camper named Jasmine told KGW not all campers along that stretch were causing problems.
“I can see how it could be concerning,” she said. “But we have nowhere to go. Shelters are full. We've been doing our best to pick up after ourselves.”
Neighbors said that's not enough. Some use the path to walk their kids to Lents Elementary School, including a woman named Ebelia. She told KGW she stopped after encountering several used needles on the path.
“It's so scary and there's a lot of trash,” said Ebelia’s 8-year-old daughter. “There was a man over there chopping a tree, I think for fire.”
At the town hall, city officials said they were listening and they promised to make the Lents neighborhood a bigger priority.
“Some of the issues around security and safety, we should be able to come up with some solutions together in relatively short order,” said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.