During a homeless encampment in northeast Portland, a homeless couple broke into a KGW message van and stole equipment and personal bags.
PORTLAND, Ore. – A line of RVs and RVs have formed in front of a senior citizen community at Northeast Sandy Boulevard and 143rd. It moved in a few weeks after the city evicted them from Parkrose High and Middle School.
“It’s hell,” says Bambi Alvey, who has lived in the retirement home for 10 years. “I wake up every morning and I look out my window at the homeless people looking back at me through my window.”
Neighbors like Alvey said homeless people steal from them, break into their garages and run generators at night, which keeps them up.
“Every morning when I go out I look out my window to see what they stole from my garden,” added Yvonne McKown, who has lived there for eight years.
“You can’t sleep,” declared Jerome Hulett. “You get woken up every night. We don’t pay taxes for that.”
A neighbor said one of the campers threatened to burn down their homes if they called the police.
“I’m close to my breaking point. I’m fed up with that and I’m thinking about moving,” McKown said. “I just don’t feel like they have the right to come into anyone’s neighborhood, no matter where it is, and make a mess of it.”
Even when neighbors call the police, they don’t hear back. The Portland Police North Precinct Neighborhood Response Team said they never personally responded to problems at that camp.
“They handle nothing. Period,” Alvey said.
Another resident, Daniel Blacker, who raised his family in this neighborhood, added, “It feels like you’re being avoided and ignored.”
KGW also spoke to camp residents, such as Kamis Wright, who said she is between jobs and trying to get back on her feet.
“I have been to this place twice. This last time – since late June,” Wright said. She knows the neighbors are upset that she’s there. “I tell them I’m constantly trying to find a new place, I just don’t have anyone to move my trailer at the moment and I try to keep my place clean.”
Despite being part of the camp, she too feels insecure.
“There are people out here who look menacing, like they might harm you or you might be threatened,” Wright said.
As a KGW crew spoke to camp residents, a homeless couple broke into their message van and stole all their electronics and personal belongings. After about 30 minutes the police showed up, by then the things were long gone.
“At some point your compassion just runs out. You’re out,’ said Hulett.
The city said this camp is on their radar and they plan to vacate it soon.