In a city known for it’s unique neighborhoods, bike-friendly commutes, and locally-owned businesses, some Portland, Oregon residents have become so terrified of the homeless crisis plaguing the area, which is now spreading into the suburbs, they have resorted to selling their homes – but realtors are struggling to offload them.
Photos by DailyMail.com show how some of the most charming, trendy and expensive neighborhoods of the Pacific Northwest city are now overrun with tent cities crowding residential sidewalks and littered with trash.
The Democratic city has one of the most deserted downtowns in the United States as soaring crime rates and homelessness are scaring away both locals and tourists. But now the crisis has spread beyond the downtown area and into the quiet suburbs, forcing many to leave.
These homeless camps are now becoming a permanent fixture in the suburbs, with the city being forced to conduct sweeps on a regular basis.
The latest sweep took place a week ago as Portland’s Rapid Response Bio-Clean team cleared out a large homeless camp at Southeast 80th Avenue and Rhine Street, according to KGW8.
The site – located at the corner of the South Tabor and the Foster-Powell neighborhoods – had been reported by residents countless times this summer, but nothing was ever done. Until now.
But it’s a little too late for lifelong residents Bruce and Rebecca ‘Becky’ Philip who told DailyMail.com that they’re ‘done with Portland’ due to the increasing number of homeless camps that have trickled into the suburbs from downtown.
‘I’ve been here 65 years but I’m done,’ Bruce Philip said. ‘I’m done with Portland.’
‘What’s there to say, they move in, take over the neighborhood, do their drugs, play their loud music, and make a mess,’ he said, adding that the homeless crisis has ruined not just a few neighborhoods, but all of Portland.
The couple also pointed out that the sweeps of the homeless camps – like the one held a week ago on Monday – are not the final solution and have not changed their minds about moving.
‘The city comes in and cleans it up and then two weeks later, they come back,’ Bruce Philip said. ‘It’s a vicious cycle, and I’m done.’
Local realtor George Patterson told DailyMail.com that the homeless encampments encroaching on residents’ front lawns is a topic that comes up with his clients ‘every day’, and that deals are falling through homes for sale in the area.
In one case, an early offer for a three-bedroom home asking close to $700,000 near a sanctioned homeless encampment, called Multnomah Village.
‘We had early offer on a home, but it fell through and there was some concern there with the Multnomah village site,’ Patterson said.
‘I can say [homeless encampments] are definitely affecting the property values.’
Tents surrounded by trash line residential streets in multiple neighborhoods in the city of Portland, as it wrestles with an out of control homeless population which is now spreading out from the downtown area into the surrounding suburbs
A homeless man is seen next to tents, a shopping cart and stroller full of belongings and trash. Homeless encampments have been popping up along residential streets in several Portland neighborhoods
Two people are seen rummaging around in their belongings near a van that’s parked on North Syracuse Street where several homeless people have set up camp in tents or parked vehicles
Tents crowd the sidewalk that is littered with trash from homeless communities setting up camp in areas spread from downtown Portland now out through the suburbs
Resident Bruce Philip and his wife Becky are moving after becoming fed up with homeless people setting up camp on their street. ‘We’re done with Portland,’ she said
Philip’s wife Becky echoed her husband’s sentiment when KGW8 spoke to her during Monday’s sweep.
‘I’m not going to hold my breath,’ she said. ‘We’re done with Portland.’
So after nearly two decades of living on Rhine Street and more than 60 years of living in Portland, the couple put their $300K house up for sale and plan on moving to Vancouver next month.
‘Our number one reason is because of the homeless,’ Becky Philip said. ‘We’re sick of it. We’ve had many camps moved out of here and as soon as they clear them out, they move right back in.’
Nathan Lamb, another resident who also lives on Rhine Street – just three doors down from the Philips, told KGW8 that his six-year-old son, who has a disability, can’t always safely access his school bus because of the camps.
‘At 8 in the morning there are folks that are smoking meth, they’re shooting up, there’s domestic violence,’ Lamb said. ‘It’s absolutely absurd.’
Lamb described having to maneuver around slumped over addicts just to get his son to the bus.
‘A couple of times we had to come out with slumped over individuals and say, “Hey! My son’s handicap bus is coming in about five minutes, can you please move along?'”
Lamb added that residents have been complaining to the city about the camps, but nothing was being done and he felt the homeless community had more rights than they did.
‘It’s absolutely remarkable that no one responds,’ he said. ‘No one seems to care. Obviously, we feel that these individuals get more rights than we do.’
According to the Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program, the city received 3,140 new campsite reports last week. There were a reported 1,180 along Southeast Powell Boulevard, which is about a block away from the Southeast Rhine camp. It was reported that 14 camps were cleaned and 64 were removed 64.
A local realtor told DailyMail.com that homeless encampments that are encroaching on residents’ front lawns is a topic that comes up with his clients ‘every day’, and that deals are falling through homes for sale in the area
A tent is set up directly across from a home in the quiet suburbs of Portland
Tents line the streets in the Portland suburbs where residents say they are fed up with people lingering and doing drugs
Tents are creeping into a resident’s yard in Portland. Residents have been moving to escape the escalating homeless crisis
Authorized encampments sites have been built, but cannot keep up with the rising number of homeless people in the area.
One local, a US Navy veteran, told DailyMail.com that the sites are a good solution, but not the only solution, as they seem to be drawing other homeless people, who end up sleeping on the sidewalks and yards nearby when there is no room at the site.
Jim Hines, 74, who lives near one of the sites in Multnomah Village, says it is kept clean, but is close to a school, which continues to be a concern for local residents.
‘I feel for those out in Laurelhurst,’ he said, referring to a neighborhood in Southeast Portland where property values are highest. Yet, homeless people have set up unauthorized camps on sidewalks outside of homes valued anywhere between $500,000 to $1 million.
‘They need to do something about it, and nothing is being done,’ he added. ‘There’s no easy solution.’
A map shows the various homeless encampments across the city of Portland
A homeless person is pictured going through a bag of items as trash, belongings and clothing is strewn on the ground
Tiny white structures are crowded together in a lot at one of the homeless encampment sites in Portland
Tops of the structures are just barely seen over the wooden fence in place as a barrier between the village and neighborhood
White structures are spaced closed together in lots throughout Portland. While many of them are full, and hard to access due to an extensive application process, others in the homeless population would rather be outside than in the tiny structures
Taylor and Sebastian, residents who lived in the Peninsula Trail area say part if the problem is that the homeless have nowhere else to go.
Taylor added that the recent sweeping of the homeless camps is causing a bigger problem because it forces the communities to leave behind their belongings and trash, and they’re never really settled, yet they return days later.
‘They sweep, they go down the street, three days later they come back- and what happens is when they’re constantly swept, is they leave a lot of stuff behind, then it becomes really sh***y, the problems become worse, they become more distressed, issues for them are worse, issues for the neighbors are worse because it becomes messy – they lose belongings, addiction gets stronger, it just gets worse and worse.’
Taylor said that if there are not enough options for the homeless community, then they should be allowed to stay in place if they aren’t bothering anyone.
‘If there’s really no other place for them to go, let them stay and grow roots because it’s going to be better then continuing to sweep them,’ she added.
‘We’re upset about it, but not at the victims. There’s a larger problem here – the housing crisis. Rather than addressing what they need, they just sweep them away.’
While some homeless residents say they cannot get into the authorized sites due to availability, others prefer the outdoors rather than being trapped within four walls.
‘We are the most harmless people you’ll ever meet,’ TT Sanchez, who lives in one of the camps along the Peninsula Crossing Trail, told KGW8. ‘They shouldn’t be scared of us for what? Because we live outside? That’s the only reason you should be scared of us because we live outside, so if we lived in four walls and a house and stuff would you still be scared of us?’
A man sits in the open door of a vehicle that’s parked along a residential street. Belongings are piled high atop the van
Tents are lined up along a residential street in Portland, with belongings strewn about and piles of trash in the roadway
Two homeless people are seen hanging around their tent setup with a cage structure on the streets on Portland
A person cools off with installed misters while at Queer Affinity village on the Naito Parkway near downtown Portland
DailyMail.com spotted many For Sale signs in neighborhoods all over Portland just within the past week.
‘It makes you not feel that great about living here,’ Greg Dilkes, who has lived in North Portland for 30 years, told KGW.
‘It makes living in the neighborhood harder, not as congenial as it could be. It’s the first time in a long time that we’ve actually seriously thought about moving.’
Local real estate broker Lauren Iaquinta told KGW8 the issue can be unpredictable due to homeless people settling down wherever they want, adding that It varies by neighborhood.
‘It’s neighborhood by neighborhood. You can be driving through North Portland, and you’re in this lovely area where there’s no issues, and then you can make a turn around the corner and have homeless camps there,’ she said.
‘Most people don’t want to have to worry about if they can leave their car parked in their driveway overnight without maybe having it broken into,’ she added.
Iaquinta said the change in Portland is noticeable and called the worsening conditions ‘kind of sad.’
‘I’ve been doing this for 10 years here in Portland, and it’s changed quite a bit,’ she said.
One solution the city offers is the Safe Rest Villages program, which is designed to provide monitored spaces for homeless people to live until they are back on their feet.
One solution the city offers is the Safe Rest Villages program, which is designed to provide monitored spaces for homeless people to live until they are back on their feet. Tiny white structures are part of these viallages
The Multnomah village facility in Portland can be seen by many residents who live in homes on the hilly land nearby
There are tents scattered down random suburban streets and crowded into empty parking lots
Some homeless select to set up camp near fast food joints and pharmacies where they can beg for food or money
The website describes the program as ‘an assortment of alternative shelters available to serve as an improved point of entry for Portlanders on the continuum from living on the streets to finding stability in permanent housing.’
Matt Lembo, a board member for one of those shelters called Beacon Village, said ‘we have to recognize the real scope of the problem. It’s multifaceted. It’s not just a housing crisis, it’s not just a humanitarian crisis, it’s also a drug crisis. It’s all of these things.’
Portland declared a state of emergency on homelessness in 2015 and has extended it five times since then. The measure, now set to expire in 2025, reduces the bureaucratic red tape surrounding the creation of homeless shelters.
Despite the city’s years-long emergency measure, the estimated number of people experiencing homelessness spiked 25 percent in the Portland area between 2020 and 2022, according to point-in-time counts reported to The Department of Housing and Urban Development. Further south on the California state line, largely rural Jackson County reported an increase of 72 percent during the same period.
Oregon’s homelessness crisis has been fueled by a housing shortage, the coronavirus pandemic and the highest drug addiction rate of any state in the nation. Federal data from the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that nine percent of teens and adults in Oregon had illicit drug use disorders in 2020.
The state has wrestled with a debate over the best way to reduce homelessness. Some business groups have called for more encampment sweeps and stricter enforcement of anti-camping ordinances, while others want more investment in social services and affordable housing.
A lone tent is pitched on the grassy side of the sidewalk in a residential neighborhood of Portland as homeless camps are being swept, and the homeless community moves further from downtown and into the suburbs
A homeless person is spotted wrapped in a blanket and tarp next to a tree in a Portland park. Locals say grassy areas and parks are popular places for the homeless as many would rather camp outside during the mild weather than be in a shelter
Tents are pitched alongside a street not far from a school. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler plans to ban encampments within 150 feet of school buildings and along routes where students are likely to be walking to school
A man rummages through a bag next to a tent and shopping cart full of belongings and trash. Several unauthorized homeless camps are springing up on grassy areas next to sidewalks in residential areas of Portland after being pushed from downtown
More tents are set up between the street and a park in a residential area of Portland – as the homeless community moves from the downtown area into the suburbs were there’s plenty of shade, nature and space for the tents
A trailer covered with a tarp on North Ida Avenue. Residents say grassy areas are popular spots for homeless to set up camp
In the Laurelhurst area of Portland where property prices are at the highest levels, homeless encampments have popped up on the sidewalks.
The area, one of Portland’s most popular neighborhood, which is full of charming homes and manicured lawns, is now crowded with nightly colored tents and piles of trash.
Most of the camps are situated on the outskirts of Laurelhurst Park, where residents are often seen hanging out and playing frisbee.
Several homes are up for sale, including at least two with a more than $1 million price tag.
In the Laurelhurst area, where property prices are at the highest, homeless encampments have popped up on the sidewalks
Many of the homeless community are drawn to the residential neighborhoods for their parks
University Park Neighborhood (Peninsula Crossing Trail)
Along the Peninsula Crossing Trail, a once popular bike path, has become home to a large population of homeless people including some who suffer from mental illness and some who use drugs. The drug crisis in Portland, especially among homeless communities, has become unmanageable for authorities in the area.
In the University Park neighborhood, also known as Peninsula Crossing Trail, modest houses topping out at $825k are now hidden by camps that have been set up on sidewalks and any grassy area available.
Home to the University of Portland, a well-known private Catholic school, student and faculty housing make up most of the real estate. There are also several sought out private and Montessori schools. Adidas Corporation is a large area employer as is the Swan Island industrial area.
One of the encampment sites known as Peninsula Crossing Village doesn’t exist in tiny house form but is instead a scattered collection tents and vehicles on grassy areas.
Photos by DailyMail.com show people living in their cars across the street from a private residence on Amherst Street and more are camped in the green area at the end of Syracuse, home of local business The Belmont Goats.
In the University Park neighborhood, the Peninsula Crossing Trail, a once popular bike path, has become home to a large population of homeless people including some who suffer from mental illness and some who use drugs
Several people are camped out in their cars, RVs and tents along the North Syracuse Street near the Peninsula Crossing Trail
Parked vehicles covered with tarps are seen along North Syracuse Street near Peninsula Crossing Trail. Belongings are trash is strewn on the pavement and in the yard of someone’s private residence
A makeshift home out of a tent and other supplies is seen in a grassy area at the end of North Syracuse Street. Chairs, tables, storage containers and other belongings are packed in beside the tent
In the Multnomah area of Portland, the heart of the neighborhood is called Multnomah Village, home to unique gift and antique shops, cafes, art galleries, and coffee shops, is now home to the Multnomah Village facility, an authorized homeless encampment.
But just 1-2 miles away, DailyMail.com spotted tents scattered in the parking lot of the Fred Mayer Supermarket. Several homes behind the supermarket had For Sale signs in the front yard – some of which top the market at $1.3 million.
US Navy veteran and Multnomah resident Jim Hines told DailyMail.com that there has been concern about the encampments being so close to local schools, but overall are kept clean and have not had many problems.
The Multnomah village facility in Portland is the site of a former Army reserve facility, and very close to the West Hills Christian school. About a mile down the street, unauthorized camps have popped up in supermarket parking lots
But just 1-2 miles away from the facility, DailyMail.com spotted tents scattered in the parking lot of the Fred Mayer Supermarket. Several homes behind the supermarket had For Sale signs in the front yard
A man adjusts a tent in the overgrown grassy lot where several homeless people have set up camp near a supermarket
Several houses in the vicinity of the The Multnomah village facility are up for sale, some as much as $1.3 million
White structures are seen just over the fence of the Multnomah village facility
Two homeless people sit on the curb with a sign as they ask for money by passersby
A homeless person pictured wearing only a bra top, shorts and sneakers is seen holding a pill bottle and a Michelob ultra box
The homeless person is seen walking in the area Multnomah Boulevard near the Multnomah facility over the weekend
Another view of the Multnomah village shows how close homes are to the homeless encampment
The Lloyd neighborhood
The vibrant Lloyd neighborhood is known for luring tourists with its local coffee shops and hotel and convention center, but has recently been better known for the various homeless camps lining the streets and crowding empty parking lots.
The neighborhood is home to the BIPOC village homeless site on Weidner Street which is nestled next to the Crowne Plaza hotel and convention center. Only a painted green wall with graffiti separate the hotel from the village of tiny white structures meant for temporary housing.
Nearby, a McDonalds parking lot, near other fast food joints, is full of tents and homeless people.
The neighborhood is also known for attracting tourists to its Rose Quarter complex which is comprised of the 12,000 seat Memorial Coliseum, the 6,500 seat Theater of the Clouds, the 40,000 square foot Exhibit Hall, and the Rose Quarter Commons.
The Rose Garden Arena is Portland’s largest indoor venue at 19,980 seats, and it is home to the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, the Western Hockey League’s Winter Hawks, and the National Lacrosse League’s Portland LumberJax as well as many major other indoor events and concerts.
Though local coffee is the popular choice, Segafredo Zanetti Espresso Café has over 600 locations worldwide and only four in America. Houses in the area range from $250k to 735k.
The vibrant Lloyd neighborhood is home to the BIPOC village homeless site on Weidner Street which is nestled next to the Crowne Plaza hotel and convention center
A painted green wall with graffiti separates the hotel from the village of tiny white structures meant for temporary housing
The BIPOC village can be seen over the green fence that stands between the shelters and the street
A view of the BIPOC village in the Lloyd neighborhood. Tiny white structures in the lot provide shelter for the homeless
White structures fill a lot near the BIPOC village homeless encampment site near the Crowne Plaza hotel
Tents and items belonging to the homeless community are seen strewn across the sidewalk at the entrance of a McDonald’s
Downtown Portland, which has emptied out of its residents significantly in the past two years, as been plagued with homeless encampments.
The Queer Affinity village is situated behind two empty buildings not far from the Boy Scouts of America HQ for Oregon.
Another encampment, the NW Naito Village, is just across from the Portland Plastic surgery group building and near high end waterfront condos, where tents are seen scattered alongside the fence.
The NW Naito Village, which is actually more of an empty fenced off lot, is situated opposite the Albers Mill building which houses the Portland Plastic Surgery group
The empty lot at one point was home to the NW Naito Village, not far from high end waterfront condos
Oregon’s Lax Limits for Hard Drugs
Under the new Oregon law that went into effect in February 2021, offenders caught with the following drug amounts can avoid criminal charges:
- Less than 1 gram of heroin
- Less than 1 gram, or less than 5 pills, of MDMA
- Less than 2 grams of methamphetamine
- Less than 40 units of LSD
- Less than 12 grams of psilocybin
- Less than 40 units of methadone
- Less than 40 pills of oxycodone
- Less than 2 grams of cocaine
Offenders caught with the following amounts of drugs will be charged with misdemeanor simple possession, rather than a felony:
- 1 to 3 grams of heroin
- 1 to 4 grams of MDMA
- 2 to 8 grams of methamphetamine
- 2 to 8 grams of cocaine
Along with the influx of homeless communities, comes the rising numbers in crime and drug use.
The drug crisis in Portland, especially among homeless communities, has become unmanageable for authorities in the area.
Photos show the desperate situation in the liberal Pacific Northwest city, where people can be seen shooting up drugs or passed out in broad daylight.
Oregon was the first state in the United States to decriminalize possession of personal-use amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, oxycodone, and other drugs after voters approved a ballot measure in 2020 to decriminalize hard drugs.
A person found with personal amounts of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other drugs receives a citation, like a traffic ticket, with the maximum $100 fine waived if they call a hotline for a health assessment.
The state’s program, which has been promoted as a way to establish and fund addiction recovery centers that would offer people aid instead of incarceration, is being watched as a potential model for other states.
But drug overdose deaths in the state also hit an all-time high in 2021 with 1069, a 41 percent increase from 2020, Fox News reported.
And of the 1,885 people who received tickets for personal possession in the first year, only 91 people, a measly one percent, called the hotline, according to its non-profit operator, Lines For Life.
Those behind the scheme admitted that they had underestimated the effort required to distribute the $300 million in funds for the program, and only $40 million has been spent.
‘So clearly, if we were to do it over again, I would have asked for much more staff much quicker in the process,’ said Steve Allen, Oregon’s behavioral health director.
‘We were just under-resourced to be able to support this effort, underestimated the work that was involved in supporting something that looked like this, and partly we didn’t fully understand it until we were in the middle of it.’
The ballot measure redirected millions of dollars in tax revenue from the state’s legal marijuana industry to treatment.
More than 16,000 Oregonians have accessed services through Measure 110 funding, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, which spearheaded the measure.