New city program encourages homeless people to get rid of unwanted trash at encampments.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Hillsboro police officers Jason Becker and Mike Abshier tour a homeless camp in May. The city is looking at several new ways to help local people impacted by homelessness.Police in the city of Hillsboro are trying a new tactic to clean up unsightly homeless camps.

For months, the city has been looking at new ways to help people affected by homelessness. The city employs two homeless liaison officers, Jason Becker and Mike Abshier, tasked with working with local transients to access resources and assistance.

Last week, the officers had another idea that might help local people affected by homelessness: The pair were helping at a cleanup event at Clean Water Services and Dairy Creek Park, site of a local homeless encampment.

In a statement from the city, Becker and Abshier asked people sleeping in the camps to lend a hand to help tidy up the area. In exchange, the city offered gift cards to local restaurants.

About a half-dozen people took the officers up on their offer, helping to bag garbage.

"This is a great way for our Crisis Intervention Team to make connections, build relationships and establish a rapport with those we are seeking to help," Becker said. "It's also an opportunity for us to educate people in these encampments about the time and work that it takes for city employees to clean up trash that's left behind."

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