‘Homeless tapped into’ power wires in Overlook neighborhood

Multnomah County

PGE has turned off power twice

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Marci Macfarlane stumbled onto a potentially hazardous situation in the Overlook neighborhood in North Portland. A power pole in the neighborhood was illegally tapped into at least twice, creating a fire hazard.

She took video of the electrical cords before PGE disconnected it the first time. But when KOIN 6 News looked on Friday, there were hundreds of feet of electrical cords running through dry brush down to a homeless camp on Going Street.

Marci Macfarlane took video of an electrical cord she found tapped into a power pole near a homeless camp in the Overlook neighborhood, July 23, 2021 (KOIN)

“So once again it looks like our homeless people have tapped in to the wires, all the way up the telephone pole to the top,” Macfarlane told KOIN 6 News.

She said some of the wires are exposed and taped together with duct tape.

“You know there’s multiple cords spliced together and they’re not just cords plugged into another outlet, they’re cords with bare wires and duct tape wrapped around them,” she said.

She’s worried one spark could set the whole area on fire.

There was a fire at the camp last summer, she said, and added neighbors have found stolen property there on several occasions.

She reported the issue to PGE and said they disconnected the illegal wiring on July 14 and again this past Monday.

Homeless campers apparently tapped into a power pole in the Overlook neighborhood, July 23, 2021 (KOIN)

Macfarlane said she removed one ladder near the power pole. KOIN 6 News found another ladder and more electrical cords there on Friday — and Macfarlane thinks they will try to steal electricity again.

“I wish there was a solution,” she said. “I know it’s everywhere. I feel that it’s, I don’t know what the city’s going to do, but this specific camp has been a real problem for a lot of Overlook neighbors.”

PGE officials said they do see attempts to access power this way from time to time, and agree it’s highly dangerous, possibly lethal.

Anyone who sees this kind of issue can report it to PGE at 800.962.8184 

Report energy theft to PGE

Marci Macfarlane spotted electrical cords she found tapped into a power pole near a homeless camp in the Overlook neighborhood, July 23, 2021 (KOIN)

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