Shallow tunnel found at homeless camp along I-405

Multnomah County

The city of Portland plans to fill in the tunnel

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland police found signs of a tunnel being dug at a homeless camp along Interstate 405 in Southwest Portland.

Officers cleared the camp near the I-405 underpass at Southwest 1st Avenue on Thursday. About 10 people were living at the site.

The shallow tunnel — more of a big hole — was carved into the hillside just below the camp.

Portland police were concerned the hole might compromise the stability of the hillside, create a safety concern to campers and drivers alike and possibly cause a landslide onto I-405.

But officials with the Oregon Department of Transportation looked at the hole and determined the stability is not compromised, there’s no safety concern to people and there is no threat of a landslide.

Evidence of a tunnel being dug near a homeless camp near Interstate 405, Sept. 5, 2019. (KOIN)

Even though the property belongs to ODOT, the city of Portland plans to fill it with dirt.

Portland Police Bureau officers told KOIN 6 News they often find evidence of digging in the hillsides along local highways.

“Looks like someone was trying to build some sort of foundation there; level out the ground to put a tent inside or bury something. Kind of a deep hole and there are no support beams for a bit there,” said Officer Tim Engstrom.

Portland police officers clear a homeless camp near Interstate 405, Sept. 5, 2019. (KOIN)

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