About 10 people experiencing homelessness set up a small tent community on a tiny triangle of land on North Wheeler Avenue just west of Dixon Street.
The camp has been in existence for two-weeks. This afternoon, a 24-hour notice for a illegal campsite was posted by the Portland Police Bureau.
“We’re homeless and we’re tired of being run off,” says Chrissy, one of a handful of people at the site Monday afternoon.
Paris, a camp organizer, says he thinks it’s wrong of the city to push them out. “No matter where we go, we’re going to get kicked out. Every night it’s the same thing. It’s the police, transit police, security; you name it. I don’t know where they expect us all to sleep.”
After two weeks at the location, the campers have cleared several yards of blackberry bushes and began planting crops for food. They say they need tools to get to work, but want to start building garden beds.
“All we’re trying to do is make it so people can feel safe,” says Rick, one of the campers at the site who has been homeless since he was 5. He’s now 25.
The City of Portland is currently in settlement negotiations with the Oregon Law Center on a year-and-half-old class-action lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Portland’s camping ordinance. On Sept. 9, the City Council is holding an Executive Session on the camping lawsuit.
Nearly a year has passed since City Commissioner Nick Fish’s office unveiled proposals to loosen restrictions to the camping ordinance for people experiencing homelessness who sleep outdoors. No changes have been made.
by Israel Bayer & Joanne Zuhl.