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Poverty has existed in suburbia since the very first bulldozer carved the very first cul de sac out of the very first patch of countryside.
The recession brought it out of hiding, and turned it into a crisis.
On especially cold nights, the day center turns into an overnight shelter zoned to sleep 49. “It’s people defecating on lawns, scaring children, leaving their trash in obvious places, climbing over fences, sleeping in doorways and driveways,” said David Frasher, Oregon City’s city manager.
Last year, the Milwaukie City Council rejected plans by Northwest Housing Alternatives to expand its campus, which includes a family shelter and other temporary housing near the under-construction Tri Met orange line, largely over concerns about increased density.
Pastor Steve Kimes, whose Anawim Christian Church runs one of the only day shelters in eastern Multnomah County, routinely hears complaints from neighbors who accuse him of enticing homeless people into the Rockwood area.
“We knew where people were, even knew most of their names.
And they knew to stay out of everybody’s business,” Band said. These are people who are not from around here.” The police know, he says, because they ask.