City crews address campsites, debris on many popular bike routes

City crews address campsites, debris on many popular bike routes

I-205 path near Burnside on September 22nd, 2020.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

We’ve discussed the issue of Portlanders living outside along popular bike paths many times over the years. But for some reason I’ve yet to share anything about the city’s Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program (HUCIRP). This is the City of Portland program that’s, “responsible for coordinating cleanup/abatement of unsanctioned campsites on City and ODOT owned properties/rights-of-way.”

Earlier today I came across a tweet that highlights current sites HUCIRP crews are scheduled to address. As I looked through the locations I was surprised at how many were on major bike routes and paths.

The 80 or so sites on the current list include many locations you might have ridden by. They include:

(Source: City of Portland)

  • Columbia Slough Bridge and N Vancouver
  • N Schmeer Denver To I-5
  • Denver and Schmeer hillside
  • I-5 SB and Rosa Parks
  • I-5 NB and Rosa Parks
  • Peninsula Crossing Trail and N Lombard
  • Columbia Slough Trail at NE 138th
  • I-205 MUP [mulit-use path] Burnside to Glisan
  • I-205 MUP Gateway Green
  • NE Wheeler and Multnomah
  • NE 33rd Marine Dr to Elrod
  • Hawthorne Bridge Head
  • Foster Floodplain
  • Oaks Bottom Hillside
  • Springwater Corridor Trail 92nd to Foster
  • Laurelhurst Park
  • I-205 MUP Market to Stark
  • I-205 MUP Powell to Division
  • I-205 MUP Harold to Holgate

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Several of these locations are particularly notable to bicycle riders.

At Gateway Green, a major new addition to the bike park is scheduled to open sometime this month. Back in 2016 we shared how people lived on the parcel Gateway Green parcel before it was redeveloped into a park.

Earlier this year people used neighborhood associations as a conduit to voice concerns about campers living on the Peninsula Crossing Trail near Lombard.

I’ve heard from several readers about dozens of RVs and other vehicles housing people along NE 33rd en route to Marine Drive.

And of course we’ve covered conditions on the I-205 several times in the past.

This is such a difficult issue. Paths and bike routes are appealing to those of us who ride bikes for the same reasons as those of us who live outside: they are usually flat, relatively quiet, far from prying eyes, and in more wide-open areas. But as Commissioner-elect Mingus Mapps shared with me this week, “Camping on the bike trail is not good for anybody,” because it can lead to dangerous interactions, makes some bicycle riders afraid, and it means some Portlanders are living outside without access to the comforts and conveniences many of us take for granted.

For more on how the City of Portland manages camps, check out the HUCIRP website.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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