“Boulders are our most effective method for keeping illegal campers out of areas marked no trespassing.”
Like many other cities, Portland, Oregon is dealing with a growing homeless problem. In some parts of the city, they are preventing the creation of tent encampments by installing lots of large rocks.
This method seems to be effective, but it isn’t cheap.
Rachel Monahan reports at Willamette Week:
Oregon Officials Deter Portland Homeless Campers With a Million Dollars’ Worth of Boulders
Last week, a public agency dropped boulders onto a former rose garden. Neighbors rejoiced.
As part of a campaign to keep homeless campers off Oregon Department of Transportation property, the state agency has spent more than $1 million since 2013 on “rockscape landscaping”—in the common parlance, boulders—in at least six locations across Portland since 2013.
The latest spot? A thicket of rose bushes in the Goose Hollow neighborhood, at the intersection of Southwest Montgomery Street and 14th Avenue, where hostilities have escalated between homeowners and the houseless.
Neighbors attribute ODOT’s decision to safety concerns in the area—and a potential liability risk to the department if it did nothing.
“ODOT, in our opinion, came in at the right time to deeming this area as a safety risk to all (campers and volunteers) and chose to boulder the area,” says Tiffany Hammer, an area property owner who also sought the city and county’s assistance.
Hammer and her neighbors planted 90 rose bushes to discourage people who were camping on ODOT property, as first reported by KGW-TV. She says she’ll move 60 of those bushes back to the property in September to beautify the boulders.
Here’s a video report from KPTV in Portland:
Timothy Meads of Townhall has more:
ODOT spokesman Don Hamilton told the publication that, “Boulders are our most effective method for keeping illegal campers out of areas marked no trespassing.”
“These areas, especially areas adjacent to major highways, are dangerous. Illegal campers have been struck and, in a few cases, killed while trying to cross an interstate highway,” he added. “And in about 2010, a car spun off the road and killed a sleeping camper along I-405.”
The rose bushes were originally planted by local homeowners in hopes of deterring vagrants, but that attempt failed completely.
This report comes just months after an investigation showed that Portland residents call 911 on average every 15 minutes to complain about homeless people.
Portland may want to follow San Francisco’s lead and create their own ‘Poop Patrol’ as well.
The Oregonian reports:
Portland has a plan for its human poop problem
$316. That’s the average amount Portland taxpayers shell out each time a crew is dispatched to clean up human waste from city streets, sidewalks or parks, according to a government analysis.
It’s a common problem, the city found. At least half of filings with Portland’s homelessness complaint system – as many as 450 a week – include reports of human waste, its report said.
A cleanup team is not dispatched to each call, and the city didn’t report the total amount it has spent on waste removal. But the report said disposal of more than 3,300 gallons of waste – not factoring in a $200 per incident dispatch fee and cleaners’ up to $104 per hour rate – cost $26,480 alone over one year. Cleanup costs are also factored into the city’s $3.5 million a year homeless camp removal program…
Portable toilets, wrapped in local-friendly patterns like the famed Portland airport carpet or Trail Blazers colors, will initially be placed in high-need areas in downtown, Southeast Portland and outer East Portland, according to the city analysis.
Why do the taxpayers of the city put up with this?
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