The Kerby Kampground reopens

I wrote a while back about the filthy Third World conditions at the extensive illegal campground on both sides of the Kerby Street exit from I-405 into North Portland. Tents, zombie RVs, lawn furniture, bike parts, garbage, and God knows what all else were strewn all over the roadside. What a disgrace, right where people from all over the region turn off the freeway to go to Emanuel Hospital. Lots of crime was going down there, too, so much so that even the cops called it dangerous and inhumane.

Just after that post appeared, although probably not because of it, the city started a slow sweep of the many squatters at that location, and after about a month, they got almost all of them out. They picked up most of the garbage, too, although some of it remained to blow around onto the Fremont Bridge. 

One recent Sunday evening, there was a guy with a lawn mower mowing the weeds on one of the traffic islands – the one where the beggars stand. Clearly not a city worker, the guy appeared to be a resident of one of the few RVs that were, inexplicably, allowed to remain on the scene.

It was progress, but it was hardly perfect. One tenacious tent camper remained in the parking lot of the American Red Cross, which adjoins the freeway right-of-way, and lately that place has gotten filthier by the day. 

And then earlier this week, lo and behold, a large tent reappeared on the grassy knoll above the bridge approach. The campers are back on the roadside, with all the problems they bring. They were gone for about a month at best.

It's hard enough to get Portland City Hall to do the right thing once, much less twice, and so I suspect the blight will start rebuilding now for the summer. The Metro government has collected something like $200 million so far in dedicated income taxes to fix this, but as far as I can tell, nothing's really changed. Maybe Machine Gun Johnson could tell us what she's going to do differently from her nemesis, Tent City Tina.


  1. "City of the Roaches" sums it up perfectly.

  2. City of Roaches rather than City of Roses


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