PORTLAND, Ore. — Some neighbors who live near the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Facility in Southwest Portland say they no longer feel safe and are fed up with protesters.
“I'm very frustrated,” said Charles Williams, who lives in a building near the protesters. “I'm frustrated with the protesters because I think that they're sending the wrong message.”
People who live near the ICE Facility said protesters have changed their neighborhood. Many neighbors feel threatened, so much so, they asked not to be identified.
“This is our home, we love where we live, and we used to be able to walk all around this area,” explained one woman who lives nearby, but asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation. “I walked past there the other day to have to get up on Macadam and honestly I didn’t feel safe.”
Neighbors complain of loud noises, blocked traffic, and the smell of the encampment.
“It's very noisy, people are acting very threatening toward residents, there are actually people coming from the camp and they're urinating on the building,” the woman said.
“It literally stinks walking through there, it's a garbage dump, and it keeps getting bigger and bigger,” said another neighbor who asked not to be identified because of safety concerns. “They keep building things, I don't understand that.”
Neighbors said they also do not understand what is being accomplished and said what started as a protest, now seems like a homeless camp.
“That's all they are, they're homeless, there's no ICE people here anymore that's over with,” the neighbor said. “It's turned into more of a homeless camp with people, just lost their focus over there and it's not the focus of immigration anymore.”
“I think that this all started for children, but then I think it got lost with the violence, the threats of violence, just the yelling and the screaming, the use of children is just wrong,” Williams explained.
Many in the neighborhood said protesters are not accomplishing anything by threatening violence and yelling.
Protesters say the camp is not a homeless camp and that everyone is here to abolish ICE.
“It's opening up a conversation about abolishing ICE and actually taking steps toward getting this agency out of Portland out of our country,” said JC, who is part of the protest and would only give his first name.
“It's not a homeless camp, it's not a place for refuge, it's a place for us to focus on shutting the building down,” explained protester Maqueal James.
Protesters also said they have not threatened anyone.
“We’re not here to harass our neighbors, we’re not here to yell at food cart owners, we’re not here to yell at these people, we’re here to get this building out of our city and out of our country,” JC said.