Chuck Lawrence said two of his eight units at Bel-Air Court will soon be vacated after longtime tenants announced area homeless are making them feel too unsafe to remain in their apartments. Lawrence said he doesn’t blame them, , rattling off a list of recent crimes: stealing bikes and water, and frequent cases of trespassing. “The homeless have been looking in the windows,” Lawrence said. “Several [of the tenants] are single women. Lawrence said he’s recently put padlocks on outdoor water faucets and installed several motion-detector lights.
There’s a four foot chain-linked fence around the side and back of the property, but he's hoping the city will allow him to make it taller. “I've tried to take care of the place,” Lawrence added. "I’ve tried to take care of all of them, and it’s hard for somebody whose trying to make a living off their small rentals." Lawrence has owned the complex in southeast Portland for 30 years.
He said homeless in the area have been an issue for about two years and the biggest problems have come in the last few months. Tenants must cross the Springwater Corridor path to get to their homes, and some of the tents are just feet from the apartments.
“It’s scary,” said tenant Maddie Ingraham, pointing to a homeless camp about 30 feet from her bedroom window. “They’re everywhere, and they just kind of stare you down when you’re driving through your driveway. You just feel uncomfortable going to your own house.” “These people yell and scream all the time, like at three in the morning,” Ingraham added. "It’s just really inconsiderate. When they do move on they leave all their trash everywhere.”