Tent City: How we got here

What induced prolific tent tenting in Portland


Tent Metropolis, USA is a KGW investigative challenge that explores who Portland’s homeless tent campers are and what led to the proliferation of tent camps throughout the town. Tent Metropolis, USA was reported and produced by KGW’s investigative group: Kyle Iboshi, Maggie Vespa, John Tierney, Sara Roth and Gene Cotton. Infographics and multimedia design by Jeff Patterson.


There’s an 18-mile paved path that runs alongside I-205 from the Columbia River in Northeast Portland south to Clackamas.

It’s not the prettiest path in Portland with a number of sections that run proper alongside the interstate. Nevertheless it’s the primary route for cyclists and pedestrians who need to keep away from roads whereas driving or strolling north and south by way of that a part of the town.

Many days the trail additionally performs hosts to a string of homeless camps.

The “multi-use path,” or MUP, as the trail is understood, is in some ways consultant of the homeless drawback that may be discovered throughout of Portland: Campers arrange their tents out of desperation; most of the camps are suffering from rubbish and syringes; neighbors complain about drug use, trash and petty crime; cops attempt to hold order on the trail whereas adhering to a posh net of guidelines and legal guidelines that govern how they work together with homeless individuals.

Patrolling the MUP

On a Wednesday afternoon in early September, Portland Police Sergeant Randy Teig drove alongside Southeast Division Road in his unmarked gray patrol SUV. As he approached the place the place the MUP crosses Division he flipped on the flashing lights hidden behind tinted glass and turned onto the path.

Teig joined a small convoy of different officers from the East Precinct Neighborhood Response Group with lights flashing, ready alongside the path. They began southward, sometimes pulling out of the best way for a bike owner to cross.

Inside a couple of minutes, Teig and his group had pulled alongside a row of tents erected just some ft off the bike path. The tents have been solely about 30 ft from close by homes – considered one of which displayed a “on the market” signal within the entrance yard.

Teig wasn’t forcing homeless campers to go away. That may solely be carried out after discover is posted for at the least 24 hours. However he was making an attempt to take care of some regulation…

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