Portland News

One Portland’s homeless camp has become a nuisance to an old business

A homeless camp in Portland presents problems to a local business
A homeless camp in Portland presents problems to a local business

Image source: Oregon Live

Portland’s homeless camps have expanded over the years, and now a family business is being affected by one’s presence.

The White family has operated an RV depot on North Columbia Boulevard since the 1970s.

In the decades since opening their business, the White family has reported that their factory has been overrun by a nearby homeless camp recently.

What happened

This week, Jeffrey White reported that the RVs had been hacked.

“This is one of our customers,” he said. “His storage thing was ripped off, his lock was busted.”

White said homeless people from a nearby large camp would sometimes break in and steal from them.

The camp was visited by the KGW news channel two months ago.

It also sits high on the town’s elimination list, but the camp remains standing.

Neighboring contractors then shouted that the problem was 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 presence of the camp meant that customers moved elsewhere.

“We are losing sleep on top of losing money,” Tamara White chimed in.

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Reaching out to the authorities

According to the family, they called the police and filed a complaint with 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 the impact reduction team has looked at the property seven times in the past 60 days.

The camp will be removed shortly as each assessment gave a field score well above the matrix required for deletion.

The camp

It can currently be seen with high fences, tarpaulins, and several “prohibited” signs that were put up after the police visited the camp.

Angel Grace Brown, of Grace’s Oasis, who runs the camp, said police had come to the site to search for stolen items.

There is a sign along the fence that says “no vacancies” and Grace said there were currently 15 people living there and it was 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.”

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Grace said none of the people who lived in the camp had a job and most lived off of Social Security.

Portland police recently visited the camp for reports of gunshots but found no evidence of gunshots.

The site is also known for generating similar calls to the police.

Grace says she won’t go if the city decides to clear the camp.

“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 looked resigned, saying, “I don’t know what more we can do.”

“Maybe city hall can tell us what more we’re supposed to do.”


Longtime Portland business says it’s losing customers due to large homeless camp

Opinions expressed by Portland News contributors are their own.