Homeless Camp Near Cleveland In Process of Being Removed

Clarion photo Anna Suydam
Tents sit on and near the sidewalk at a homeless camp behind the Cleveland staff parking lot on 25th Avenue.

Homelessness has been an increasing problem in Portland for a long time, and Cleveland is no stranger to this. Homelessness has especially increased because of this pandemic we’re still experiencing. Multnomah County has found that there are currently 4,015 people experiencing homelessness; 2,037 are living on the streets.

Currently, there is a homeless camp set up on SE 25th, and Franklin Street, located near the Cleveland staff parking lot. It takes up about a quarter of the block. Although the camp is near the parking lot, it’s not technically in the parking lot. It’s on the sidewalk and grass around it, which is considered Portland city property, said Principal JoAnn Wadkins.

Cleveland’s security team have also spoken to the people living in the camp about keeping it out of the way of the parking lot.

Wadkins said the school is in the process of asking the city to relocate the homeless camp, and because it is on city property, the school has to work with the city, which uses a website called One Point of Contact. School security services also have a link that helps report homeless camps near schools.

Once schools report a homeless camp near school campuses, then the city has a decision-making process where they prioritize which camps are scheduled for relocation.

The city is fully aware of the camp by the parking lot, and it is on the list to be removed, but school officials don’t know where it is on the list, or the timeline of when it will be removed, Wadkins said.

If there is an immediate, serious problem, people can contact the police, Wadkins said.

There was another camp in 2021 near the Cleveland football field that went through the same process. It took a couple of months, but then it was removed.

Many parents have reached out and Wadkins has sent out emails about how to report any problems. However, she has not sent any emails to the students, or made any public announcements to the students of Cleveland.

Both Wadkins and Vice Principal Alaina Langdahl expressed sympathy and compassion for those experiencing homelessness, and hope they can be moved to permanent housing, along with a plan to get all homeless people into homes and off the streets. However, they also acknowledged that student safety is always the number one priority.