PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – If you feel like you’ve seen an increase in homeless camping and trash around the City of Portland, you’re not alone.
Mayor Wheeler’s office says the COVID-19 pandemic in Portland has forced more people in the streets as they’ve lost their jobs, with homeless camps becoming more established as fewer sweeps are performed.
City of Portland staff say on average, they remove 550,000 pounds of trash and debris from various camps around the city, working 7 days a week to pick up garbage and bio hazards.
Portland’s Office of Management and Finance says more camps and garbage are present because they’ve stopped sweeping homeless camps. The sweeps would force the homeless to move along and collect and personal property left behind for storage. The city is required to collect and store anything that isn’t obvious trash.
The Office of Management and Finance says right now, it’s seeing a huge substantial increase of items claimed as personal property, including furniture, building materials, and bikes, and because camps aren’t being broken up, more of that stuff is piling up as camps grow.
On Tuesday, FOX 12 spoke with the city’s Bureau of Development Services. The bureau deals with homeless camp complaints on private property. It says recently, it has seen an increase in complaint calls.
“We’re focusing on the nuisance conditions around camps,” Ray said. “We’re not cleaning up or evicting tent campers themselves. What we’re focused on is trash and debris, human waste, other unsafe conditions on private property.”
The Office of Management and Finance says they haven’t noticed a spike in complaints about camps on public property. Since April, they’ve received an average of 750 complaints each week.
The city says it no longer puts out dumpsters for the homeless because that program was unsuccessful, partly because people with homes were using them to dump their unwanted items as well.
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