Image source: Oregon Live
Portland’s homeless camps have been increasing over the years, and now it’s affecting a family business.
Off North Columbia Boulevard is an RV storage facility that has been run by the White family since the 1970s.
In the decades since they opened their business, the White family has reported its facility getting overrun by a nearby homeless camp.
This week, Jeffrey White pointed to RVs that were broken into.
“This is one of our customers,” he said. “His storage thing was ripped off, his lock was busted.”
White said the homeless people from a large encampment next door would sometimes break in and steal from them.
The camp was visited by news outlet KGW two months ago. It was also at the top of the city’s removal list, but it remains unmoved.
As a result, nearby business owners have been clamoring that the problem is getting worse.
“It’s costing a lot of money,” said White. “We’re down ten spaces, which translates to $1,000 a month.”
According to him, the empty spaces were once occupied, but the customers took their business somewhere else due to the camp’s presence.
“We are losing sleep on top of losing money,” Tamara White chimed in.
Reaching the authorities
According to the family, they have called the police and reported to the city, but no action was taken.
“The mayor, he’s wanting people to work with him … what more can we do?” said White.
“We’re telling the police department all these shots we’re hearing, we’re telling all the theft that’s going on, my wife has emailed all the city commissioners, the mayor, and no response.”
Meanwhile, Portland said that its Impact Reduction Team assessed the property seven times in the past 60 days.
The camp is scheduled to be removed soon as each assessment led the camp to scoring well above the matrix needed for a removal.
Currently, it can be seen with tall fences, tarps, and several “no trespassing” signs that were put up after police visited the camp.
Angel Grace Brown of Grace’s Oasis, which runs the camp, said that police visited the site to look for stolen things.
Along the fences, a sign reads “no vacancies,” and Grace said that 15 people currently live there, and it’s already too crowded.
“It’s my sanctuary,” said Grace.
“I wanted it to be that for other people too. People who don’t fit into society, people who are the rejects of the rejects of the rejects.”
Grace said none of the people living at the camp has a job, with the majority living off social security.
Portland police recently visited the camp for reports of gunshots, but they didn’t find any evidence of gunfire.
The site is also known for bringing in similar calls.
According to Grace, if the city does decide to clear the camp, she won’t leave.
“I’ll chain myself to the oak tree that’s back there,” said Grace.
“They’re going to have to literally physically remove me, carry me out of here.”
Meanwhile, White sounded resigned when he said: “I don’t know what more we can do.”
“Maybe city hall can tell us what more we’re supposed to do.”
Opinions expressed by NY Weekly contributors are their own.