Springwater Corridor

Two years after big sweep along Springwater Corridor, campers continue to call it home

(KPTV image)

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Two years after the big Springwater Corridor sweep, the FOX 12 Investigators went out there to see what it looks like now and count exactly how many homeless camps are along the trail.

Riding around 21 miles from Boring to Portland, FOX 12 counted the visible homeless camps along the way.

The first couple of camps were located in the Gresham part of the trail. One even had a note written on the pavement, warning people not to enter their camp.

Then in Portland, FOX 12 counted 16 camps all together, of all different sizes. A lot of them were near the Interstate 205 bridge.

“It’s pretty, it’s been pretty scary,” said one woman.

A woman FOX 12 spoke with, who wants to remain anonymous, lives with her young kids in apartments by the trail near 92nd Avenue and Knapp Street. They are the same apartments where a homeless woman is accused of kidnapping in August after court documents state she tried to take a 6-year-old girl and bring her to the Springwater Corridor.

“We’re just more aware now that that happened, but it sucks that they took the comfortableness of the girls being able to play outside freely,” said the woman.

The woman said it’s not just the people she worries about but also their trash.

“It’s just not safe finding that kind of stuff, broken glass, needles, and, you know, stuff like that for our children to see,” she said.

She tells FOX 12 she does see regular cleanups, but campers always come back.

“Within a day or within two days, there’s new homeless people taking up, you know, spots that have a little opening like, you know, the bushes behind us,” she said. “There’s always little areas where they just fill in quickly, a lot quicker than you would hope so.”

There’s no denying the trail looks much different than it did two years ago when hundreds of homeless people were ordered to leave.

Since June of this year, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office said Portland’s 14-mile portion of the Springwater Corridor is cleaned once a week. In addition, people can also report camps to the city.

The first week of October, the spokesperson said the city got requests to clean five areas of the corridor in addition to its normal cleanups.

FOX 12 also spoke with runners and bicyclists about the corridor now.

“It was better than a lot of other areas in the city I walk through, so,” said Greg Rush.

“I just think it’s more of a city issue that we need to figure out and I have more empathy for the people living on the streets than anything else, I think is my perspective,” said Denni Edlund.

Some people who live by the corridor said when homeless people do leave, they don’t always take their trash with them. FOX 12 saw signs of that when riding along it.

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