Massive N. Portland encampment removed but local business still suffering
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - A family-owned business in North Portland is left depleted after a year of problems caused by a nearby encampment. The owners of Curt’s RV Storage in North Portland say dozens of people in a nearby encampment at N Columbia Blvd. and City Dump Rd. have been climbing over a cinder block fence and breaking into the offices on site, as well as vandalizing RVs and even stealing tow trucks. This week the city finally cleaned the encampment up, which is on city-owned land, but for the family who runs Curt’s RV Storage, they say it’s a year too late.
“The family has owned the business since 1970,” said Jeff White who runs the lot with his wife and father-in-law. “And we’re at a point where we just want to close up and leave.”
White says those in the encampment have wreaked thousands of dollars in damages on Curt’s RV from vandalism and stolen items. Back in September Fox 12 covered the encampment, and the difference between then and now is dramatic. A city spokesperson says cleanup began this past Tuesday, and 136 vehicles, including dozens of RVs, have been tagged and towed. The same spokesperson says those who had vehicles removed were offered connection to shelters. But white says he is still discouraged and fears the campers could return.
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction, but is that where the step stops?” said White. “I like to look at things positively, but we’ve been dragged through the mud.”
White shared surveillance video of people he says live in that camp breaking into the RV and stealing batteries, and most recently, someone was caught on camera smashing the front door and stealing a few computers from the front office. White is unsure what may come next for Curt’s RV Storage, and says he is angry the city took this long to take care of the problem.
“If you’re not taking care of it, you’re aiding and abetting is what I would say,” said White. “I mean if I was hiding criminals on my property, I think the city would be pretty angry at me.”