Homeless camp in Portland proves to be a thorn in the side of a local business

4 mins read
One Portland's homeless camp has become a nuisance to an old business
One Portland's homeless camp has become a nuisance to an old business

Image source: Oregon Live

Portland’s homeless camps have proliferated over the years, and now a family business is affected.

The White family has operated an RV storage facility that has been located off North Columbia Boulevard since the 1970s.

In the decades since they opened their business, the White family reported that their establishment had been overrun by a nearby homeless camp.

What happened

This week, Jeffrey White reported that RVs were broken into.

“This is one of our customers,” he said. “His storage thing was ripped off, his lock was busted.”

White said homeless people from a large camp next door sometimes break in and steal them.

The camp was visited two months ago by the KGW news channel. It is also at the top of the city’s elimination list, but it stands still.

As a result, neighboring entrepreneurs shouted that the problem is getting worse.

“It’s costing a lot of money,” said White. “We’re down ten spaces, which translates to $1,000 a month.”

According to him, the empty spaces were once occupied, but the presence of the camp made customers go elsewhere.

“We are losing sleep on top of losing money,” Tamara White chimed in.

Reaching out to the authorities

According to the family, they called the police and filed a complaint with the city, but no action was taken.

“The mayor, he’s wanting people to work with him … what more can we do?” said White.

“We’re telling the police department all these shots we’re hearing, we’re telling all the theft that’s going on, my wife has emailed all the city commissioners, the mayor, and no response.”

Meanwhile, Portland said the impact reduction team has looked at the property seven times in the past 60 days.

The field will soon be removed as each evaluation resulted in the field scoring well above the matrix required for removal.

The camp

It can currently be seen with tall fences, tarps, and several “no trespassing” signs that were posted after the police visited the camp.

Angel Grace Brown, of Grace’s Oasis, who runs the camp, said police visited the site to look for stolen items.

Along the fences, a sign says “no vacancies,” and Grace said there are currently 15 people living there and it is already too crowded.

“It’s my sanctuary,” said Grace.

“I wanted it to be that for other people too. People who don’t fit into society, people who are the rejects of the rejects of the rejects.”

Grace said none of the people living in the camp had jobs, with the majority living off of Social Security.

Portland police recently visited the camp for reports of gunfire, but found no evidence of gunfire.

The site is also known to generate similar calls to the police.

According to Grace, if the town decides to remove the camp, she won’t go.

“I’ll chain myself to the oak tree that’s back there,” said Grace.

“They’re going to have to literally physically remove me, carry me out of here.”

Meanwhile, White looked resigned when he said,  “I don’t know what more we can do.”

“Maybe city hall can tell us what more we’re supposed to do.”

Reference:

Longtime Portland business says it’s losing customers due to large homeless camp


Opinions expressed by Market Daily contributors are their own.

Sarah White

Sarah White is a business analyst by day and freelance writer by night.

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