This is a friendly reminder to check your property for trespassers, particularly if you live on a house with stilts or on a steep slope. As the Gander Ridge area of SWHRL can attest, with illegal camps come propane tank explosions and fires. This could prove to be especially hazardous as we head in to the dry season.
We encourage you to share this information with your neighbors and look out for one another. People often travel in the summertime, so we also suggest advising your neighbors they have authority to call 9-1-1 to report a crime in progress if they see people camping under your house. Please be safe and call the police to assist - confrontations on steep hillsides could lead to disaster. Officers are professionals specially trained to handle trespasser removal and have authority to identify the trespassers and create a record of the event should the trespasser(s) return.
An alert neighbor spotted a camper with camouflaged tarp.
We have been given the following tips for reporting from our crime prevention coordinators:
If you use the word "homeless," you run the risk of a dispatcher tuning you out or routing the call to a crisis person instead of an officer. If someone's under your house, you have a crime in progress - a trespasser, plain and simple. Whether that trespasser is homeless or not is irrelevant, so just stay on message. If you see smoke, of course, report the illegal fire. Whether the person who created the fire is homeless or not is also irrelevant - no need to politicize it.
SWHRL would like to track this sort of activity as well as the response (or any lack thereof) of police, fire and the DA's Office, so please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you experience this sort of situation.
Your Neighborhood Association is always available to discuss your concerns or try to problem solve with you. Please don't hesitate to reach out.
- SWHRL Public Safety Committee
Safety Tips and Contact information
The City of Portland’s Office of Community & Civic Life, Crime Prevention Program is introducing a team-based model to better serve the needs of community and evolve the program into a more efficient way of providing services, resources, and trainings. In October 2018, City of Portland Crime Prevention Program will be transitioning from the current model in which one Crime Prevention Coordinator is assigned to serve a number of neighborhoods. The new team model will be made up of 3 teams of 3-4 coordinators per team (North, Central, and East). The neighborhoods served by each team will correspond to the current Portland Police Bureau Boundary Lines (North Precinct, Central Precinct, and East Precinct.)
Mark Wells direct: 503-823-2781
One Point of Contact-Use PDX reporter to report campsites & other issues
PDXReporter.org provides an important way to interact with the city concerning problems or issues with publicly maintained infrastructure. The site allows you to report illegal campsites, potholes, park maintenance, clogged street drains, and other safety concerns.
Reporting illegal campsites allows the city to track and prioritize sites that need to be cleared.
There is also a dedicated site for reporting campsites, where you can provide more detailed information: www.portlandoregon.gov/campsite
In addition to reporting crime incidents to the police, neighbors could send crime photos with descriptions of incidents to SWHRL/Public Safety for monitoring and/or posting: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips and Resources:
- The City's Crime Prevention Program provides education, training, problem solving, and community organizing, including Neighborhood Watch training (with Mark Wells).
- Report campsite-related problems using PDXReporter.org. You create an individual account on the site to report what you are experiencing.
- For most impact each neighbor should report what they experience each time, even as other neighbors report the same crime/incident.
- If life or property are in immediate danger, or a crime is in progress, call 911.
- If you see a dangerous open fire, e.g. in relation to a homeless camp, report it as a public safety issue, not as a 'homeless' issue. Mention a fire, not a homeless camp.
- Note: 911 is very short-staffed (12 hour shifts with 2 hours of mandatory overtime). Lobby City Council for more funding to reduce wait times.
- To report crimes no longer in progress, call the non-emergency line (503) 823-3333 and dial "0" immediately.
- To report a suspected drug house: 503-823-DRUG
- SWHRL is part of the police Central Precinct, which has 15-20 officers. 503-823-4181
- For issues on ODOT property call 1-888-Ask-ODOT or 1-888-275-6368x4 or go to https://highway.odot.state.or.us/cf/comments/comments.cf