(Photo by reader Steve B.)
Over the past several months a large encampment has sprung up along the Springwater Corridor Trail near the Ross Island Bridge. People are living directly adjacent to the popular and busy bicycling path that connects downtown Portland to Sellwood and points beyond. Their tarps, shelters and vehicles (bicycles) are situated between the path and the shore of the Willamette River.
A reader emailed us some photos earlier this week, and said the encampment is “making unsafe conditions” due to broken glass, fires, and lots of garbage and other debris strewn about the area (and into the river).
The area where the camps have been set up is managed by Portland Parks & Recreation. Their spokesman, Mark Ross, says they’re aware of the issue and are working with the Portland Police Bureau and the Multnomah County River Patrol to find a remedy. “We expect to see a positive solution in the area soon,” Ross shared with us via email this morning.
This is not the first time a local agency has had to address people living along the Springwater. This past October, KGW-TV reported on an effort by the PPB and the Oregon Department of Transportation to shut down a camp on the path near SE 92nd and Flavel. In that case, crews picked up 20 tons of garbage and restored habitat damage to Johnson Creek.
In this recent case, Mark Ross said Parks has repeatedly engaged the campers and encouraged them to pack out. He says they “did not initially express a willingness to leave the area with their belongings.” Even though camping in this location is against the law per City Code, Ross said they only use law enforcement as a last resort. Instead, Park Rangers are taking a different approach: “Our efforts include offering to facilitate social services, any needed medical care, education and explanations of the no-camping rules per City Code.”
— Read more news about the Springwater in our archives.