PORTLAND, Ore. -- Mayor Charlie Hales announced Wednesday his decision to push back a planned sweep of the Springwater Corridor from Aug. 1 to Sept.1, and runners took notice.
The delay, in what promises to be the largest homeless sweep in the city’s history, means participants in Hood to Coast 2016 will be running through countless homeless camps.
The race takes place on Aug. 26 and 27. It is expected to draw more than 12,000 runners from around the world, and part of the course goes through a large section of the trail.
On Thursday, HTC spokesman Dan Floyd released this statement about the change in plans:
As the 2016 Hood and Portland To Coast approaches, we continue to focus on the safety of our participants and volunteers on the entire 200 mile course. We're proud to showcase this route to participants from all 50 states and 35 countries, and that is why safety will always be our number one concern. One of our main areas of focus will be the Springwater Trail. We plan to hire a mobile bicycle patrol and stationary security officers that will be in radio communication with our command center, and will place additional lighting throughout the trail. We're confident that the entire 200 mile course will be safe for our participants and volunteers. We look forward to another memorable experience for all involved.
Homeless advocate Jessie Sponberg, like others, said runners have to reason to worry.
He also said Mayor Hales did campers a favor by delaying the sweep. Now, they owe him one.
“So to reciprocate his good will, I'd like to see our neighbors come out and be stewards for that and make sure that Hood to Coast goes nice,” said Sponberg.