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  • 23 Apr 2014

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Campers to fight eviction from City Hall

by: KOIN LOCAL 6 - A group of campers near Portland City Hall display a sign for Mayor Hales.The city is evicting campers from outside Portland City Hall, and mayoral spokesman Dana Haynes said the decision was made for public safety.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales had police officers post metal signs in front of City Hall effectively evicting the dozens of people who have camped out there for weeks.

The notices, posted Friday night, say the eviction will take place at any time in the next seven days.

Campers claim it’s their right to be on a public sidewalk. The city, they said, is criminalizing homelessness.

Haynes told KOIN 6 News there have been 113 calls for police service outside City Hall in the past 180 days.

“The calls were for harrassment, for drug use, for people who felt unsafe, and people who were shouted at.” Haynes said. “So the mayor said, ‘That’s it. Enough is enough.’”

The two blocks around City hall are now designated for pedestrian traffic only. The campers will be moved out, then the sidewalks will be power washed and turned into high pedestrian zones.

“What that means is you can go there, you can get a cup of coffee, you can meet one of your mates, you can do whatever business you need to do,” Haynes said, “but you can’t lay down a sleeping bag and camp there.”

On Friday, Mayor Charlie Hales told KOIN 6 News, “We have a sidewalk ordinance but it’s not fully enforced as it can be, so you should see some more of that in the next couple of weeks, not just around City Hall but elsewhere in downtown.”

He promised action, and hours later had police officers post metal signs in front of City Hall evicting the dozens of people who have camped out there for weeks.

“Come on, bring it on, brother,” said camper J.J. Bailey. “We’ll come back.”