PORTLAND, Ore. – The city made good on its plan to shut down an unsanctioned homeless camp in Northeast Portland.
Police and park rangers arrived at the Four Corners Natural Area at 7 a.m. Friday. Most campers, who got a final warning Thursday, had already packed their things and moved out. But several campers and leaders of what they called the “Village of Hope” stayed on the land, until they were approached and asked to leave.
Those leaders gave praise to park rangers, who they described as respectful during the process. But campers were disappointed with the end result.
“There’s confusion, there’s frustration, there’s a little bit of feeling of loss of hope,” said a woman named Barbara, who had been part of the camp.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Amanda Fritz on Friday released a joint statement on the camp:
“We are pleased that the camp cleanup at Big Four Corners occurred without incident this morning. Park Rangers and Police acted with courtesy and compassion, and assisted the two resident campers in gathering their belongings and moving off the site. Those camping were offered shelter options. The campers and organizers were cooperative, and no arrests were made.
“Parks and natural areas are not appropriate places for building homes. Parks belong to everyone, and each has designated purposes established through community processes. We have learned from past experience that even well-intentioned, well-run camps draw other campers to the area which the organizers cannot control, causing environmental degradation that squanders previous investments in restoration work.
“The City of Portland in partnership with Multnomah County and A Home for Everyone supports a comprehensive strategy to address homelessness that includes prevention, shelter, housing placement, and services to help people get off the street and stay off the street. Last year nearly 4,900 people obtained housing, 6,139 people started receiving prevention services, and 8,532 people accessed emergency shelter.
“We thank the Park Rangers and Police for their caring response at Big Four Corners, and we pledge to continue to work towards providing shelter, housing, and services for people needing them.”