PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Kate Kirkpatrick has lived in Portland for nearly 40 years. She and her family live near SE 53rd and Hawthorne. But she said her daughter, who recently graduated from high school, moved to a small town in Oregon because she doesn’t feel safe walking in Portland, especially to the bus stop.
She said her daughter even stopped going to physical therapy appointments because the doctor’s office was close to a homeless camp. The criminal behavior they continually saw became too unsettling.
“In my experience, what we’re seeing there really goes beyond homelessness,” Kirkpatrick said. “We didn’t feel safe going back and forth there.”
The Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association met Monday night and pledged to help distribute supplies to the homeless community. This comes on the heels of Burgerville closing one of its locations in Southeast Portland because of “deteriorating conditions and continuous crime.”
Kirkpatrick doesn’t believe homelessness is the issue. The issue is crime.
She said she has a friend who’s been homeless who didn’t break the law and had to hide from those in the homeless community who do.
“She’s had to go into hiding places. They have to hide from what’s going on there because what’s going on there is drugs and violence,” she told KOIN 6 News. “Anyone who doesn’t want to be a part of that violence has found elsewhere to be right now.”
What does she think the solution is? Prosecuting the criminals.
“It’s kind of like, maybe, not a tale of two cities,” Kirkpatrick said, “but a tale of two houseless populations.”