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The City Council issues a joint statement saying the situation at the park threatens public health and safety.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Part of the homeless camp at Laurelhurst Park in Southeast Portland.The Portland City Council announced Monday, July 26, that the large number of homeless people living in and near Laurelhurst Park in Southeast Portland soon will be moved.

"City Council is unified in our decision to act immediately at Laurelhurst Park in the interests of public safety and public health," said the announcement signed by all five council members.

The joint announcement released on July 26 said the situation at the park threatens public health and safety. It cited an undated by recent incident in which campers allegedly pulled guns and threatened a service worker.

"Prior to that incident, we increasingly struggled to maintain public safety and health standards as the camp grew larger and demanded a greater and greater share of the city's limited resources. The situation has devolved into something unsafe and unhealthy for everyone involved. Unfortunately, we are no longer able to serve the unhoused community near the park," the announcement reads.

Vacate notices were posted Monday morning along Southeast Oak Street between 37th Avenue and Cesar Chavez Boulevard, where much of the camp is located. The notices give campers at least 72 hours to leave the area with their property before city contractors show up to remove it. Any property that hasn't been claimed by a resident at that time will be bagged up and kept in a storage facility, where it can be retrieved by its owner for up to 30 days.

The council also admitted that there currently are not enough shelters or housing for all of the campers, but said the six Safe Rest Villages it recently approved will provide some alternatives in the future.

"We recognize the challenging times we are in and that vulnerable populations have many historic and recent reasons to distrust government. As such, this decision was difficult to arrive at and is also not a solution. It is necessary to intervene at this moment to maximize public safety, but it is not a solution," the statement said.

The full announcement can be found here.


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