Tuesday, May 30, 2023
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REPORT: Homeless Cabins Built on Prime Riverfront Property in Portland

'These are not tents. These are structures... '

(Headline USA) Portland residents are demanding answers from the city about new homeless cabins that have popped up on prime river real estate over the past several months.

According to local reports, homeless people have begun building makeshift cabins, complete with doors, windows and solar panels, along the Willamette River — a ritzy part of the city. There are about “nine structures” just across from resident Ric Scaramella’s riverside condominium, he said.

“These are not tents,” he told KGET. “These are structures.”

Scaramella said he’s called or complained to different government agencies more than 40 times, but has yet to receive a response. Residents said garbage and debris from the makeshift homeless neighborhoods have already begun piling up along the shoreline.

One of the homeless people living along the river, who identified herself as Paula, said she’s lived in the area “off and on about a year and a half.”

“I have anxiety issues, and I think I have personality disorders, too, that I’m dealing with. I think that’s what’s kept me out here so long,” she said, admitting that she is addicted to meth.

“There’s a few shelters I like. They would have been great except for the no-drugs thing. That sucks. I don’t think drugs are my problem,” she continued. “I think my problem is I have no place to wash my hair and go to the bathroom.”

When asked about the cabins, government agencies told KOIN that the property is not their responsibility since it is owned by railroad company Union Pacific. 

Union Pacific, however, has said the area is governed by complex common-law rules that the government should enforce.

“Union Pacific Police regularly patrol our property and enforce trespassing laws; however, this area is particularly challenging to enforce, because cabins are near the water’s edge. Under Ordinary High Water Mark common law, the boundary separating public land from private land is determined by natural fluctuations of the water, making it a legal gray area,” the company said in a statement.

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