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What five people say about living outside along the Springwater path

Posted by on January 19th, 2016 at 10:49 am

trail motion

A string of tents, shopping carts and a few bedrolls are visible along the Springwater Corridor near 82nd Avenue.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Last week’s post about a number of people living in tents and outside along the Springwater Corridor near 82nd Avenue has sparked a lot of discussion, but one big thing was absent from it: the perspectives of people actually living there.

“Most people out here are really good people. … It only takes a few bad apples to spoil the bunch, right?”
— Josh Hagg, who lives amid a cluster of tents adjacent to the Springwater path east of 82nd.

So on Monday, to learn more about the situation that has led some people to avoid biking on this major corridor at night, Jonathan and I decided to see what some of the people staying along the trail think about the complaints we’ve heard.

Right now there are maybe a couple dozen people, mostly men living solo in tents, along the Springwater on both sides of 82nd Avenue (this is the section of the path adjacent to the Cartlandia food cart pods). There was a couple or two and, I was told, one family with kids.

I went by around 4 p.m. Monday to talk to several of them about how they got there, what it’s like to live along the corridor and the relations between people using the corridor and people sleeping near it.

Here’s what they said.

Mohawk Craig
mohawk craig

Craig said some people live outside by choice and others don’t.

The man who gave his name as Mohawk Craig was standing with his bike next to his tent when I arrived, just across the path from the Cartlandia food cart pod west of 82nd. When I told him I worked for a blog about biking, his first reaction was to tell me that a pothole had opened up nearby and that he’d almost wiped out on it.

“I’m a vet and trying to get into housing… Some people aren’t here by choice, you know what I’m saying?”
— Mohawk Craig

Of the five people I talked to living outside, Craig was most likely to start saying things I couldn’t follow, but most of what he said was straightforward enough.

Craig said he’s been living in the area off and on since summer, minus some time in a “recuperation” home after a medical procedure.

“I’m a vet and trying to get into housing,” he said. “They want you to jump through a bunch of hoops. I gotta get on the ball on that. Right now I’m helping take care of these people. … Some people aren’t here by choice, you know what I’m saying?”

Craig said that some people on the trail, including himself, try to clean up after themselves and their neighbors, but some people don’t.

“Sometimes people dig into a bunker or whatnot,” he said. “Some people take it way overboard. That down there [he waved eastward] they need to go to jail.”

I told Craig that some people aren’t comfortable using the Springwater right now. He seemed to understand that.

“There’s freaks anywhere you go,” he said. “It ain’t everybody.”

“It’s the same on the other streets that it is walking down the trail,” he said. “It’s worser on the sidewalks.”

trail field

Craig said he had called the police once when there were some “dudes picking fights” and a man who he said was drunk jumped the Cartlandia fence and “started bashing in windows.”

Though Craig clearly thought that was wrong and stupid, he also mentioned that homeless people’s property had been bashed in, too.

“The cops came through here and they tore the shit out of this place two to three weeks ago,” he said.

Craig said he thinks there should be more space designated for long-term camps.

“Like, that big field out there, we could put up some boards to make it nice,” he said, gesturing south. “There’s a lot of places, you know. Give a spot. Give an area.”

Short of that, he’d like to have somewhere to poop.

“See, like this guy up there taking a piss,” he said as a man 50 feet away walked a few feet uphill from his tent to face the fence. “Where else is he supposed to go?”

Josh Jones
josh jones

Jones said that if people keep their tents clean and stay quiet at night, no one seems to mind him living outside.

Jones said he’s 29, originally from Tacoma, and living in Portland because his biological father (who he didn’t know because he grew up in the foster care system) lives near Harney Park.

He said he’s been living on the Springwater for “six years on and off” because, in that time, his father had kicked him out “35 or 40 times.”

Like Craig, Jones said he spends a fair amount of time each day picking up garbage around his tent and his neighbors’.

“As you see, mine is probably the cleanest tent you’ve seen here,” he said. “As long as we’re not making a disturbance to the neighborhood, as long as we keep it tidy and aren’t loud at night time, pretty much people are OK with us.”

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I asked Jones why he thought people were living in tents. “The economy — people losing their jobs,” he said. “Natural course, I guess.”

I told him some people don’t feel safe biking on the Springwater, and asked what he thought of that.

“Overreacting,” he said. “I’ve never seen a violent encounter around me since I’ve been out here.”

He also said he wasn’t aware of any recent police bust.

“There’s still lots of good people out here, actually,” he said. “It doesn’t happen to everybody, I guess. … As I usually say, it happens to the best of us.”

Sherine Dawson (not pictured) and Luis Solorio
luis solorio

Dawson said she didn’t want to be in a photo because she didn’t have her makeup on. Solorio, her boyfriend, is pictured.

Both Mohawk Craig and Jones had told me that the bigger camps were east of 82nd, so I headed there. There were a similar smattering of tents and shopping carts, some with piles of garbage around them, plus a couple bedrolls (I think) in the open when I got there.

“Sometimes I don’t even want to come out of jail because I know this is what I am going to come out to.”
— Luis Solorio

Dawson and Solorio had set up camp along the back of a shed, about 25 feet up a muddy trail from the path. They were sitting outside when I got there.

I asked what brought them to live here.

“Pretty much not being able to keep a job because of my addiction,” Solorio said. “If I’m not out there, I’ve been in jail. … It’s been like that for the last two years.”

“Sometimes I don’t even want to come out of jail because I know this is what I am going to come out to,” he said.

“Every day I wake up and the first thing I think is: How much [heroin] do I have? And am I going to flip this trick and is that going to be enough to keep me well?”
— Sherine Dawson

I asked the couple whether they think the Springwater camps could be solved through some general public action or whether it just comes down to a collection of personal problems for the people there.

“I think it’s personal,” said Solorio.

Dawson agreed.

“All this is because everyone has addictions, that’s what it is,” she said. “Everybody out here has addictions. Maybe not all.”

Dawson said she has a job at a bakery and also works side gigs; last weekend she installed carpet at an auto shop. She said she makes enough money not to be homeless but has been using drugs since age 11. She currently uses heroin, and said she spends almost all her money to feed that addiction.

“Every day I wake up and the first thing I think is: How much do I have? And am I going to flip this trick and is that going to be enough to keep me well?” she said.

They said their addictions have led to problems that have then made it harder to get their lives in better order.

“I didn’t pay my phone bill,” Dawson said. “Too busy buying heroin.”

Solorio said he’d been working for the taco truck in Cartlandia until one of Cartlandia’s owners found out that he was homeless. At that point, Solorio said, the man 86’d him from the property, effectively firing him. He said he asked what he’d done but didn’t get an answer.*

I told them that some people don’t feel safe using the Springwater. Dawson didn’t seem surprised but she did seem puzzled.

“What exactly is it that they have a problem with?” she asked.

I asked the two if they ever felt personally unsafe because of other people camping or police or anyone else.

“Everybody knows me, so no one will fuck with me,” Dawson said. “So I guess I feel safe.”

Solorio corrected her.

“Everybody knows us,” he said. She nodded, seeming to agree.

Josh Hagg
josh hagg

Josh Hagg is one of several men living in a cluster of tents east of 82nd Avenue.

A bit east of 82nd and north of the path is the largest cluster of tents, about six or seven, tucked behind some bushes around a small common area. I wondered if it was the spot Mohawk Craig had been calling a “bunker.” Most but not all of the men staying there when I arrived seemed to be in their 20s or 30s. I asked if I could interview someone.

“If people are hurting your community or family, I think you should tell them to leave — they’re bad.”
— Josh Hagg

Two men came over but Hagg was the one who talked to me longest. He said he is 37 and has been living outside for seven years. Hagg also painted by far the rosiest picture of the situation, which he said has been changing for the better.

“It seems like the community is coming together,” he said. “Last year it’s been getting a lot better. … Just people coming together, working it out for each other.”

I told him that some people don’t feel safe using the Springwater and asked if he thought there were troublemakers there.

“There’s probably just like a couple,” he said. “Most people out here are really good people. … It only takes a few bad apples to spoil the bunch, right?”

Hagg said he thinks the solution to problems like that is to drive troublemakers away.

“If people are hurting your community or family, I think you should tell them to leave — they’re bad,” he said. “Folks who are in a house, people who are outside, everybody should come together on that, if someone is being wrong. Everybody wants the same thing, they’re just having a hard time talking together.”

I’m not sure about the rest of what Hagg said, but that much, at least, definitely seems to be the case.

*Cartlandia owner Roger Goldingay says Solorio was not excluded from his property because he lives outside. Goldingay says he witnessed Solorio committing a crime while on the job.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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jenkins
Guest
jenkins

Wow, I’m really impressed with this article. It is quite commendable that you went ahead and talked to the folks down there and got their perspective.

stasia:)
Guest

Thanks for taking the time to actually talk to the real live human beings who so many of us are so intent to dismiss. I bike the Springwater every day to get to work and, like many of these five people say, have found that though there are maybe a few people who make trouble from time to time most everyone in this world is just trying to get by with dignity, the best they can.

Adam
Subscriber

Terrific reporting as usual, Michael! It’s good to get the other side of the story and foster compassion for our fellow human beings.

Ben Schonberger (@SchonbergerBen)
Guest
Ben Schonberger (@SchonbergerBen)

This is an outstanding journalistic response to the unwarranted criticism of BikePortland as unsympathetic to homeless camps on the Springwater. Very well done.

Eric
Guest
Eric

I haven’t been that far East on the Springwater in a long time. It’s interesting to hear what’s going on out there.

On a slightly connected note: the periodic homeless camp under the West end of the 405 bridge in NW Portland is back. If your bike goes missing check there. I commute through those blocks and often see multiple people “working” on multiple bikes at a time.

dwk
Guest
dwk

Excellent job, thanks…

SE
Guest
SE

Good job MA. Did you see all the broken glass that I keep reading about ?

Tim
Guest
Tim

I suspect the ones causing problems would be less likely to talk. The self selected sample may inevitably be biased, but it does point out the need to treat people as individuals, and hold criminals accountable for criminal behavior, not communities. It would also be interesting to hear interviews with people in the area who are not homeless.

Charley
Guest
Charley

This is how the elite win: they quietly enjoy the bounty, while forcing the rest of us to fight for the leftovers. Whether in terms of space to live or space on the roadways, the primary users get places (housing, dedicated roadways) and the secondary users get to squabble over what the elite deign to donate to us. This is how they keep us occupied, keep us from rising up and advocating for change.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Best Oregon journalism of the year.

Josh Chernoff
Guest
Josh Chernoff

While its good to have an understanding of the “why people commit crimes”, regardless it still cant excuse it.

If there is illegal dumping, we need to follow up on it. Why? well whos stopping someone from just driving a truck down there and dumping if all the campers are too? How do we know its not already happening?

If there is mobs of people harassing others, there should be a police investigation followed by resolution. We know stolen bikes end up down there.

If there is traps being set for commuters on the trails, there should be a police investigation followed by resolution.

If there is public illegal drug use and prostitution happening, there should be a police investigation followed by resolution.

If there have been numerous reports made about the safety of others on the trail in any context, there should be a police investigation followed by resolution.

All of the above should apply regardless of your house status. Period!

The homeless maybe the symptoms of a bigger problem but is the solution to ignore their illegal actives because you want to blame their behavior on a root cause? At the end of the day no one made them drug addicts but them selfs. I’m an not gonna blame the system for lack of capacity for the transgression for a legal adult regardless of their background.

And if you truly think its ok to justify illegal activity based on someones background drug use then just wait for all the iraq/afghan vets to break bad.

I say shut the whole trail down and kick everyone out till we get a grip. If we as a community can’t uphold this trail we don’t deserve it.

Shawn Small
Guest

This story is great and I thank the BP folks for doing it.

On my stolen bike adventure (plus recovery) I learned a lot about the internal’s of the bike theft community. I met a lot of characters that were great people just in some tough times. They also spoke quite strongly about bike theft and violence within their camps and community from police, other vagrants and “vigilantes.” It really made me rethink my view of some of the folks in these camps.

Thanks BP crew!

Eric
Guest
Eric

I don’t so much mind them being there, it’s the open air chop shops and piles of bikes/parts that get my goat. Is there a tip line for the Police bike theft enforcement unit?

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Good reporting, but I didn’t feel we were missing this perspective. WW, The Mercury, OPB and the O (to the tune of a multi-multi-part series) have all done several sympathetic “in first person” stories on Portland’s homeless campers. What I feel are lacking are the voices and stories of neighbors of encampments, victims of harassment and crime–would love it if you’d talk next to the folks whose homes are bordering the Springwater Corridor.

It sounded to me in this story (and others) like many of the people interviewed were admirably honest about what brought them to where they are. In my experience, dealing with active users is really difficult, and (no revelation) drug addiction’s at the root of most theft crimes. My brother embezzled from a family member (his employer) and his business, among others, to support his main habit. Charming as all get-out, and willing to do anything to feed it.

I feel sympathy for the addicted but have seen firsthand that you’re helping no one if you let slide or overlook offenses against others, in the name of ‘compassion.’ In fact, that route can lead to more real destruction and harm. Again, not news, but you really can’t force someone to be ready to deal with their addiction–it has to come from them. But they can run out of places to go in the meantime, as family/friends get burnt out and robbed/endangered too often and (understandably) don’t want to continue to be victimized. I don’t know what the answer is, except more addiction/rehab facilities and support services. But too many addicts will have nothing to do with them.

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Guest
kiel johnson

I was talking to a Dutch guy about how they justify all the bike valet services offered around town. His reply was, “it is part of a job program for people who would be homeless”. Would love to have something like this for portland. Instead of downtowns clean and safe how about a Green and Safe program that offers jobs that promote sustainability? Bike valet stations, recycling stations….

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

On top of the issues of good people on hard times, bad people doing bad things, and people trying to use a transportation corridor, there are millions of dollars being spent to restore the damaged watershed of Johnson Creek. Much of that money comes from the power generating concerns (Bonneville Power, PGE, Pacific Corps) who have irreparably damaged other habitats where threatened and endangered species live. By restoring watersheds where there are no dams, the companies (try to) compensate for the damage caused by their dams. This participants of this blog have great sport mocking the plight of salmon. These species however are worth protecting and restoring. They are emblematic of the Pacific Northwest and indicator species to the health of a river. The Johnson Creek Watershed Alliance are stewards of this watershed trying to make areas along the Springwater Trail nice and undo damage to the creek that is a result of thoughtless land use.

Allowing uncontrolled camping along the trail is thoughtless land use. Urban campers treat the river as a sewer and garbage dump. Shopping carts, sleeping bags, plastic, and all manner of refuse finds its way into the creek. Hundreds of volunteers spend thousands of hours working on this river, as a labor of love and to watch their efforts unraveled by cheap and lazy public policy that results in sloppy campers is aggravating. Most people who camp leave nothing but footprints, but the impression of these urban campers is that they cast garbage thoughtlessly and wreck nice things.

Captain Karma
Guest

I have never had a problem with the campers along the trail, but have had issues with clean, well fed, well housed punks from the burgeois class throwing rocks and gravel at riders.

redtech116
Guest
redtech116

I for one would like to see more restrooms on the springwater trail..
I fine is amusing that there is a main sewer line under most of it and like only 2 or 3 restrooms on the whole trail. same goes for the fairview section.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Mohawk Craig is the only person of those interviewed, that mentioned having called in to the police, a disturbance created by some of the campers. What was the response to that call? It’s to his credit that he at least made the call.

The other people interviewed, made no mention of being aware of what, as described in past stories to bikeportland, seemed to be quite serious incidents of harassment and threats made by certain campers towards people legitimately using the Springwater MUP. If the people camping on the borders of this path aren’t going to police bad behavior of people living among them, someone else is likely to step in and do so in ways that may not like, such as the police sweeps.

Without the campers having some sort of safe and sound community policies, including enforcement, opening up a bigger camp on a nearby field similar to the one shown with a big steel electrical tower, in one of the pictures to this story, more room to camp, with facilities, doesn’t sound like the kind of remedy that will end the hostile confrontations on the Springwater.

Expand the Right to Dream II, and Dignity Village settlements appears to be what some people commenting here believe the Portland community, meaning residents of the city as a whole…should offer as a response to problems with campers on the Springwater. That’s a wonderfully compassionate idea, but in terms of it possibly being a realistic means of resolving problems on the Springwater, it seems very shortsighted.

Sio
Guest
Sio

This just sheds light on what I’ve been feeling about these guys. I hadn’t really felt fear about the sitch until the hulabaloo blew up on the previous article. I have to hold back tears when I ride by them. I feel like we shouldn’t automatically get on the defense with this. Can we get together and bring them food and supplies instead? Go out on our bikes, all together as a big group so there is no fear. Maybe even ask the PPD to come with us. Bring them food, water, toiletries blankets.

redhippie
Guest
redhippie

That is funny, I get the feeling that is part of the justification that Oregonians have to pump their own gas.

kiel johnson
I was talking to a Dutch guy about how they justify all the bike valet services offered around town. His reply was, “it is part of a job program for people who would be homeless”. Would love to have something like this for portland. Instead of downtowns clean and safe how about a Green and Safe program that offers jobs that promote sustainability? Bike valet stations, recycling stations….Recommended 7

Scott Kocher
Guest

Living in these conditions along (or in) our MUPs and parks and sidewalks isn’t fair to anyone. We need to keep turning up the volume. “We’re working on it” isn’t an excuse any longer.

Scott Kocher
Guest

With this great article reminding us how much BP does for our community it’s time to ask: What have we done for BP lately?

Jan V
Guest
Jan V

Thank you for helping us see and rethink these issues.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

Anyone else have compassion fatigue by now?

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

People living outside is a fact of a city. Deal with it and incentivize people to conglomerate in a single location. The army lives outside and nobody wines. Why? They have showers and shitters.

Kevin Wagoner
Guest
Kevin Wagoner

This is a really good piece. Thanks for giving them a voice.

Waiting
Guest
Waiting

Xlnt! Thank you BP & Michael! Way to represent.

I can’t ride anymore, but I would love to support a socks and sandwiches run out there. Talk about a truly bike-dependent community! Nobody is more so. I would love to hear strategies for giving those communities access to donated bikes so nobody needed to steal to get their mobility needs met. Somebody should create a centrally located bike version of Sisters of the Road.

In addition to a BP sponsored soup and sock run, people can think about these kinds of things that are easy to carry on a bike: batteries, tarps, Sisters of the Road meal tickets, snack bars, trash bags (don’t laugh), instant coffee, handiwipes, innertubes, lights.

People in that deep with addiction need longer term treatment, probably inpatient with transition assistance. You have to sign on to their specific Christian devotional thing to get that from a church program here, and abandon your family, pets, and all. Imagine trying to do an outpatient thing commuting from there? Very hard.

You don’t need to provide all the supplies yourselves. There is a guy doing what he calls “The Garage Project” which warehouses stuff for distribution to homeless. If you follow the FB groups around this support work calls come through with donated stuff available for distribution.

Housing First is the evidence based, humane solution, and the idea that you can harsh people into solvency and sobriety is ridiculous. Demand adequate public housing with support services.

Eli
Guest
Eli

Michael, you are a true journalist. Thank you so much for always raising the bar and taking on challenging but important stories.

SurleyDave
Subscriber
SurleyDave

We’ve been talking about the homeless camps quite a bit lately. Thanks for the perspective of people outside. It’s a good reminder that addiction is not the only reason people are camped out.

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

So has BP once again done another apologist piece for people who victimize others?

Lance
Guest
Lance

I worked in Portland Parks for almost 30 years, over half of it in the downtown core and ‘dealt’ with homeless people on a daily basis. Your article is accurate in that people, homeless or not, are all across the spectrum. Most of them are respectful and don’t want to bring unwanted negative attention on themselves. There are of course exceptions. Yes a significant chunk of them seem to have drug/alcohol problems which can be problematic. All of them live in situations where hygiene and sanitation are a big problem as there are next to no facilities available regularly to them. This alone tends to make the general public wary of them. Most of the public tends to avoid them. Some portion of the homeless have poor ‘social skills’ and whether intentionally or not behave in ways the public may find inappropriate, aggressive or threatening. Many come from bad home situations, others suffer PTSD from their military experience while others lost their jobs through either the economic down turn or their own personal mistakes. All of these things stand in the way of these people getting back on ‘track’. They, as a group, have relatively few resources to draw from. Having said that there is also a group that seems to have ‘given up’ and is angry. These are the people who caused us problems in Parks because of their littering, vandalism and general disrespect for others and property. It’s a complex problem. Most of the homeless are certainly deserving of a helping hand. It would be ‘evil’ and wasteful to group them all together and ‘throw them away!’
Just remember that all people share the same basic needs and that the homeless must take care of all of theirs directly. Healthy food, clean water for drinking, toilets, showers, laundry facilities, a place to safely store our possessions…. When you live on the street all of these things become a bigger deal and will require more of your time and effort. For the rest of us we have homes in which these needs can more conveniently and securely be met. Blame them if you must, but if people are to regain their places in ‘society’ they will need these things. Once lost without friends or family in the position to help, without adequate income, suffering dependencies, without an address, with possible ‘mental’ issues and most certainly with issues around self-image and confidence, all of these people face an over whelming uphill struggle. As a society we need to be asking ourselves what we can provide, what each of us as human beings have a right to. There are those on the streets who despite all that has befallen them still hang on to their dignity, others have lost even that. What does it say about us as a people when we choose to not do what we can?

Charles Ross
Guest
Charles Ross

I’m 64. During the holidays I throw packages for a large package delivery company. I’ve done this for many years. Base + bonuses adds up to @ $14 an hour for this very temporary, very unskilled job.
This temp job is what gives an individual entree into a permanent position. Those permanent delivery positions pay 80K plus a year, plus benefits.
Even at my advanced age, I’ve been offered a permanent position several times; at least, I’ve been encouraged to apply.
My knees hurt. My back hurts, I’m looking at Medicare options right now.
If I can do this work and attract offers for a permanent position, these five individuals can do the same.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

I’m ashamed that everyone of these people has more style in clothing than I do.

suicidarida
Guest
suicidarida

Portland is very accomidating to the homeless. That is why so many homeless come from out of state to camp here.

SE
Guest
SE

suicidarida
Portland is very accomidating to the homeless. That is why so many homeless come from out of state to camp here.Recommended 0

I read somewhere & saw newscasts that there was a hospital in Nevada that didn’t want to care for indignant or homeless patients and so would … buy them bus tickets to Portland.

SE
Guest
SE

SE

suicidarida Portland is very accomidating to the homeless. That is why so many homeless come from out of state to camp here.Recommended 0

I read somewhere & saw newscasts that there was a hospital in Nevada that didn’t want to care for indignant or homeless patients and so would … buy them bus tickets to Portland.Recommended 1

here’s a couple of links.

Leave the patients to us: Is Nevada unloading its mentally ill in Oregon?

http://news.streetroots.org/2013/10/04/leave-patients-us-nevada-unloading-its-mentally-ill-oregon

Nevada hospital’s ‘patient dumping’ extended to Oregon

http://www.mentalhealthportland.org/nevada-hospitals-patient-dumping-extended-to-oregon/

wish MA would have asked them if they came from other states ?

Josh Chernoff
Guest
Josh Chernoff

For all of you who state that we should have empathy for the transgressions of the camper because of their drug addictions I have a question for you.

Should we also extend the same empathy to the people who’s transgressions towards the camps are possibility the result of being victimized by the campers?

http://koin.com/2016/01/20/reward-offered-in-homeless-tent-arson/

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

apropos article to this: “Papa Doc, 44, knelt beside his bicycle, wrestling to attach the tow-behind cart that carries his belongings. His hands show the wear and grit of decades without a domicile or the basics it ensures. He had just eaten a hot meal provided by an outreach group, but the last time he’d thoroughly washed was unclear.”
https://medium.com/the-development-set/no-toilets-for-the-homeless-55b3b073e919#.v86bje122

Grandpa
Guest
Grandpa

This post is a response to Cora Potter’s photos of camper cast garbage in Johnson Creek. I put the reply here at the end of the thread so it won’t be lost in the middle.

The efforts of Johnson Creek Watershed Council to recreate a natural setting around Johnson Creek could do more than enhance fish and bird habitat. Areas that function, look, sound and smell like natural areas are a balm for the spirit. Persons of little income (or no income) can get soul renewing recreation by being in such a place. The sound of splashing water in a shady riverbend on a hot day can transport a person away from their daily concerns. To cycle through such a place would be renewing in a brief, concise passage.

The campers who are trashing the commons are not just making a place ugly and counteracting habitat restoration, they are eliminating low cost, high value recreation. They are taking something of value from people who have NOT given up on being part of society. They are taking something away from working people who may have few high value recreation options.

It is a complex problem, but although the campers may be societal victims, they in turn, are victumizing people who are playing by the rules.

Matt P
Guest
Matt P

Thanks for doing this. Sick of hearing scared rich people whine about where people with nowhere to live decide to sleep at night.