Portland families leaving the city to escape homelessness and crime

KGW8 aired a report yesterday about families in North Portland who have had enough of the city’s homeless camps and rising crime. Some of them are seriously thinking about leaving but some have already sold their homes and are moving further out into the suburbs, away from the problems associated with the city.

“It makes you not feel that great about living here,” said Greg Dilkes, who has lived in North Portland for 30 years. “It makes living in the neighborhood harder, not as congenial as it could be.”

Dilkes said the homeless camps along the Peninsula Crossing Trail near his home have changed the area.

“It’s the first time in a long time that we’ve actually seriously thought about moving,” he said…

North Portland neighbors told KGW at least three families along McKenna Avenue are leaving due to nearby homeless camps. Real estate broker Lauren Iaquinta sees it first hand.

“I would say the migration to the suburbs, I’ve seen quite a bit in the last two years,” she said. “Most people don’t want to have to worry about if they can leave their car parked in their driveway overnight without maybe having it broken into. It’s a pretty testy subject.”

The issues these particular neighbors are complaining about involved a bike trail called Peninsula Crossing which has become a haven for the homeless. Over the weekend, KGW did a story about the trail and the people living there which is worth a look. TT Sanchez, the “camp mom” who is supposedly in charge of the camp, says homeowners have nothing to fear from her or other camp residents. She describes the camp as one big family of people who are temporarily down and out. But at least one camp resident KGW spoke to admitted that he chose the homeless lifestyle because he prefers it. He doesn’t explain why exactly but I think you can probably guess.

North Portland isn’t the only part of the city facing these problems. Yesterday, KATU 2 published a story about people in Southeast Portland who feel terrorized by a group of homeless people living in a large treehouse adjacent to their property.

“We actually had to put up a fence from Johnson Creek all the way back to the Springwater Trail, just to keep them out of our backyard,” said [Kerry] Stickler.

He’s talking about people who live in the treehouse, about 100 yards from his home on city property. Stickler shared a video with KATU News, showing us the elaborate structure built in the trees, including a window and a staircase surrounded by fencing. He and his wife, Marysue, say a few dozen people have been living in the treehouse, and they’re not good neighbors.

“They’re right outside our bedroom window at night. We can hear them,” said Marysue Stickler. “They’re fighting. There’s [sic] guys punching women, women screaming up and down the street. It’s horrible.”…

“They threatened to shoot our dog. They’ve actually shot at us from up there when my dog was barking,” said Stickler.

Here’s a photo of the treehouse. As you can see, it’s not a small structure.

The land where the treehouse stands is owned by the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. You’d think they’d be concerned about keeping the environment near a creek free of garbage but the bureau declined to be interviewed about it when KATU made the request. This seems to be how the city operates. It can take weeks or months to get the city’s attention and get them to enforce codes against illegal camping and construction. Residents just have to put up with it or, as this clip shows, give up and leave the city.

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