A homeless camp in Portland presents problems to a local business

Portland’s homeless camps have grown over the years, and now a family business is impacted by a particular homeless camp.

The White family has operated an RV storage facility off of North Columbia Boulevard since the 1970s.

In the decades since opening their business, the White family reported that their facility had recently been overrun by a nearby homeless camp.

What happened

Jeffrey White reported this week that the motorhomes had been hacked.

“This is one of our customers,” he said. “His storage thing was ripped off, his lock was busted.”

White said homeless people in a nearby large camp would sometimes break into their homes and rob them.

The camp was visited by the KGW news channel two months ago.

He’s also high on the city’s elimination list, but the camp remains.

Neighboring contractors then shouted that the problem was getting worse.

“It’s costing a lot of money,” said White. “We’re down ten spaces, which translates to $1,000 a month.”

According to him, the empty spaces were once occupied, but the presence of the warehouse caused customers to move elsewhere.

“We are losing sleep on top of losing money,” Tamara White chimed in.

Reaching the authorities

According to the family, they called the police and filed a complaint with the city, but nothing was done.

“The mayor, he’s wanting people to work with him … what more can we do?” said White.

“We’re telling the police department all these shots we’re hearing, we’re telling all the theft that’s going on, my wife has emailed all the city commissioners, the mayor, and no response.”

Meanwhile, Portland said the Impact Mitigation Team visited the property seven times in the past 60 days.

The camp will be removed shortly, as each evaluation produced a field score well above the matrix required for removal.

The camp

It is currently on display with tall fences, tarps and several “forbidden” signs that were posted after the police visited the camp.

Angel Grace Brown, of Grace’s Oasis, who runs the camp, said police came to the scene to look for stolen items.

There is a sign along the gate that says “no vacancy” and Grace said 15 people lived there at the time and it was already too busy.

“It’s my sanctuary,” said Grace.

“I wanted it to be that for other people too. People who don’t fit into society, people who are the rejects of the rejects of the rejects.”

Grace said none of the people who lived in the camp had jobs and most lived on Social Security.

Portland police recently visited the camp for reports of gunfire, but found no evidence of gunshots.

The site is also known to generate similar calls to the police.

Grace says she won’t go if the city decides to evict the camp. 

I’ll chain myself to the oak tree that’s back there,” said Grace.

“They’re going to have to literally physically remove me, carry me out of here.”

Meanwhile, White looked resigned and said, “I don’t know what more we can do.”

“Maybe city hall can tell us what more we’re supposed to do.”


Longtime Portland business says it’s losing customers due to large homeless camp