Endless Homelessness in Portland

Homelessness, with no end in sight in Portland.

Despite city cleanups, the tent cities keep cropping back up.

Lobo is packing up his belongings.

He’s stuffing socks and a sleeping mat into his backpack. He’s been experiencing homelessness for 31 years.

“I’m getting ready to leave because we’re not allowed to be anywhere,” he says.

He’s sitting outside a business on SW Washington Street.  City crews tell him he has to move.

“It’s demoralizing.”

Jackie is sweeping outside her tent.  She also was swept from another campsite. “At this point, it kind of just seems like a routine, you know, so I don’t really think too much about it,” she said. “I don’t go far, you know, I just go somewhere where I can sit down and try to think for the next move.”

Josh Barrett works at the Portland Outdoor store nearby. “They just go around the corner and set up right over there, same situation,” he said. “It’s like, that business gets a break from it and then they just move it, so it’s like, ‘when is it our turn again?'”

City leaders tell news partner KGW homelessness is not a crime, and clearing campsites is only a temporary solution, but their goal is to minimize urban camping’s impact on the community.  They claim to only remove campers who violate health and safety guidelines.   For example, the city likely wouldn’t remove a site that has fewer than eight tents, clear walkways and remains clean, with no conspicuous drug use.

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