PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Brandon Padilla Spradling’s 5-year-old daughter Luna attends kindergarten at the International School of Portland.
The school sits on a hillside next to SW Naito Parkway, right across from an unsanctioned homeless camp. Portland City Commissioner Dan Ryan announced Thursday that spot will be turned into a sanctioned homeless camp, one of 3 Safe Rest Villages throughout the city.
Many parents with children at the International School of Portland hadn’t heard about the announcement until KOIN 6 News asked them about it. Some were concerned about their kids’ safety, but others felt it might be beneficial depending on how the camp is operated.
“I know that there needs to be something humane done. I don’t know what’s the right thing to do,” Spradling said.
She isn’t sure how she feels about the news a sanctioned homeless camp will be constructed next to her daughter’s school.
“I did like that the city was going to have areas that the city has sanctioned off for them, but I didn’t know until today, until you shared with me, that they were going to be putting it on the other side of Naito,” she told KOIN 6 News.
Another parent, Ed Halla, also said he hadn’t heard about the camp going in next to the school.
“I don’t know much about it but I’m definitely for practical solutions,” Halla said. “I think we should have lots of homeless solutions. So if there’s one I’m for it.”
Asked if was concerned about the sanctioned homeless camp being close to the school, he said no.
“No concerns. If there is a solution for the homeless, that’s a good thing.”
But other parents who spoke with KOIN 6 News off-camera were very concerned about the situation. One mom called the announcement “disconcerting,” while another said she was concerned about people walking through school grounds from the camp.
“I have mixed feelings about it,” another dad said. “It depends on how well it’s run.”
Spradling said she assumes “the city is going to make sure that it’s clean and taken care of and there are resources.”
The Safe Rest Village is supposed to provide access to mental health services, something Spradling said the city needs to provide more.
“I do feel we need to be dumping more resources into mental health and, you know, treating them humanely,” she said.
She admitted she can see how it could pose a problem.
“If there is somebody that is having an espisode, whether mentally or is on some sort of substance, and then they kind of start walking or they start to get on the school property,” she said. “But I just have to trust that the school is giong to handle it in the best way that is going to be most safe for the students.”
KOIN 6 News reached out for comment from officials with the International School of Portland. At this time they have not responded.