Beaverton man: 'Homeless doesn't mean I'm worthless'

Beaverton City Council is discussing a ban on camping on public streets

Cole Miller and KOIN 6 News Staff - BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) -- A Beaverton man wants to put a human face on a growing issue in the city -- homeless camping on public streets.

Josh Kelvin said he's been living in an RV with his wife, 3 kids and dogs for 9 months after they were kicked out of their apartment. The family had lived there for 7 years but he said when they couldn't make one month's rent, the complex managers wouldn't work with them.

"Our life has been in turmoil since. We want out of the situation, we don't want to be on the streets," Kelvin said. "Its extraordinarily embarrassing and disheartening."

Kelvin and his family aren't alone. The street they park on is lined with RVs and people camping, drawing complaints to police and city leaders about piles of trash and drug use.

"What happens in these problem areas is the footprint grows over time and it can really spread out beyond the public right now," Lt. Keith Welch with Beaverton police said.

Beaverton city leaders held a work session Tuesday to discuss a ban on camping on public streets. Some people are bringing up concerns about the way the ban is written. It's pretty broad, defining camping as where someone sleeps with bedding.

Police said there would be contact with anyone in the right of way 3 times before action would be taken. Some city council members said during the hearing that they want to see a 72-hour rule in place in order to vote for the ordinance. That means someone could be parked in the same spot for 3 days before being forced to move.

Kelvin told KOIN 6 News they don't have anywhere else to go and this camping ban would have a huge impact on them.

Kelvin said he's disabled and his wife works full time but it's not enough to get a new place to live. Kelvin would urge the city leaders to find a way to make rent more affordable instead of banning camping.

"I don't feel like a human anymore," Kelvin said. "Just because I'm homeless doesn't mean I'm worthless."


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