Goose Hollow residents fed up with homeless campers

Multnomah County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Residents in the Goose Hollow area pleaded with the Portland City Council Wednesday to do something about crime caused by homeless campers.

A comfort station brought in by the city with lockers and a bathroom has been a magnet for even more campers. 

Residents planted rose bushes on ODOT property after a fire at a homeless camp in Goose Hollow destroyed trees. (KOIN) 

Neighbors like Tiffany Hammer are also concerned about fires ignited by exploding propane tanks or other sources. She showed city commissioner a video taken last summer of a fire that took out trees in the vicinity. Residents planted rose bushes in their place but, she said, people caring for the roses have been attacked with bricks.

Hammer also said the same criminals keep showing up without prosecution, including a man she said threatened her twice.

“I went up to put the key in the door. That’s when I noticed the very same camper who broke in my house a month prior was there again. She was yelling at someone else, saying ‘The cops are coming,'”  Hammer testified. “Then (this man) came barreling over the fence with a 3-foot tree branch in his hand. He was yelling and followed us, then he got me and my son locked in our car. We were trapped in my car and he became aggressive, waving the stick at the car and striking the ground. I called 911 screaming for help.”

Police told him to leave but he wasn’t taken into custody, Hammer said. He came back 2 hours later and police again chased him off and cleared the camp. He hasn’t yet been prosecuted.

Mayor Ted Wheeler said he and police officers share Hammer’s frustration. 

“We don’t control the jail capacity, we don’t control the prosecutorial capacity; that’s the independently-elected district attorney, we do not control the court system,” Wheeler said. “They will come and do their job and they will see the person on the street a few hours later. [It’s] as frustrating to them and me as it is to you.” 

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