• Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

Pamplin Media Group – Businesses and residents complain about homeless camp crimes

ByDebra J. Aguilar

Sep 15, 2022

Concerns from different parts of the city; the police are accused of not having reacted.

Businesses and residents in different parts of Portland are complaining about crimes they say are being committed by people living in nearby homeless camps.

A decades-old North Portland small business says a nearby homeless camp is causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage due to thefts, and they’re not getting any help from the city.

The goal of Curt’s RV Storage in St. Johns is to give people a safe place to store their RVs, but the company tells KOIN 6 News that the well-established homeless camp nearby prevents them from doing their jobs. .

The camp is built with boats, numerous RVs, BBQs, pop-up tents, propane batteries and a water tank.

“They came in, they took a brand new RV and pulled it out the door. They’re really bold. They don’t care,” said Tamera White of Curt’s RV Storage.

“They need drugs. They have to have them. And so to feed that habit, they have to steal stuff,” added Douglas Bartee, who also runs a small business near the camp.

The business owners of the RV storage business say the constant criminal activity of theft and break-ins on their land has cost them more than $100,000. They told KOIN 6 News that even their brick wall didn’t stop anyone from getting through, and they constantly find ladders of people climbing on either side.

From noise and partying at all hours, to stolen cars being separated and shots being fired at night, the business is at a loss, which is why she started installing jersey barriers to block her door at night in last resort.

“It’s frustrating,” Bartee said. “And for Curtis and this family business here, it’s quite devastating because they find themselves in a situation where people can’t be trusted to have their goods stored here.”

“I wish the city could step in and do something,” White added. “I want the police to fulfill their obligations and arrest those with warrants.”

The City of Portland said it has completed seven risk assessments at this site since the beginning of July and, due to the high number of vehicles, the city said it is requiring the Division of Law Enforcement on the Portland Bureau of Transportation parking lot plays a prominent role on the site. cleaning and removal. The city also said it prioritizes sites based on the risk the sites pose to the community.

A Portland Police Bureau sergeant from the North Ward told KOIN 6 News that the camp was of concern and definitely on their radar. However, police admitted they are mired in four other mass camp clearings in North Portland at the moment, including both Cross Levee/Columbia Slough and the Big Four Corners Natural Area.

“Cross Levee/Columbia Slough is almost done. We will have to do some follow-up work over the next few weeks, but the bulk of the work is done,” said Heather Hafer, communications strategist for the Street Services Coordination Center.

“We plan to start Big Four Corners next week, but this project will take several weeks to complete,” she said.

Police and the city say that as soon as they are done addressing these camps, they will check out the camp again near Curt’s RV Storage.

In southeast Portland, neighbors are growing increasingly concerned about problems on their streets, complaining of what they believe to be drug trafficking and streetside prostitution in the Mount Scott- Arleta.

Some neighbors told KOIN 6 News that they can temporarily manage people parking in their neighborhood, but organizing criminal activity is too much.

A landlord who lives in the Southeast 72nd Avenue and Martins Street area said he was upset about what he believes to be drug sales and prostitution at an RV and campsite -car illegally parked in the neighborhood for weeks. He wished to remain anonymous out of fear for the safety of his family.

He also said a neighbor recently sold his house because of what was happening. He called the Transport Office and the police, but said the evening activity continues:

“For the past two months, the prostitutes have moved into a trailer next to the motorhome,” the man said. “The sex, the drugs, all the people he attracts are just more than we can handle.”

And in another southeast Portland neighborhood, a man living in a homeless camp threw objects at cars from a bicycle, smashing their windshields as they drove.

After two people shared their own stories online, other neighbors came forward to say they had also been targeted in the Sunnyside neighborhood, just west of Mount Tabor.

The attacks come out of nowhere, according to the victims. Steve Magnuson was driving along Southeast 49th Avenue near Hawthorne Boulevard last weekend when a man on a bicycle shattered his windshield – all captured on dashcam.

“He got up and kind of leveled off and just took a big hit with a rock or something hard, right into my windshield,” Magnuson said, who went on to add that he hadn’t seen where the man had gone but later found the same bike with a cart attached at a nearby homeless camp.

When he contacted police, they said they recognized the suspect, identifying him as 51-year-old Robert Casey McClatchey. He has a long criminal history according to court records, including a similar case from 2021, involving the throwing of heavy objects at a windshield. Police say McClatchey also faces second-degree criminal mischief in the case and is expected to appear in court soon.

Magnuson says he was also frustrated with the seemingly weak charge for the crime, but at the same time expressed sympathy for the homeless and said he recognizes they need help and up to If that happens, cases like this will only continue.

“I know the system isn’t working for them. Just to have a steady job, you have to have a functioning brain and be ready to go to work and function at your job,” Magnuson said. “That’s too high a bar for a lot of people right now, and unless that changes, things are going to get worse.”

KOIN 6 News is an information partner of Pamplin Media Group.


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