REPORT: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler Razes Homeless Camps For Pickleball Courts

Devan Bugbee Contributor
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Ted Wheeler, the Democratic mayor of Portland, Oregon, is working to implement some major changes to the city’s Laurelhurst Park, including allegedly installing pickleball courts in a location known as a major homeless encampment.

Construction reportedly started Monday, with clean-up crews dismantling the homeless camps, KOIN reported. The Portland Bureau of Transportation reportedly arrived Tuesday, bringing in materials to turn the area into a pickleball court. It is unclear whether Wheeler ordered workers to remove the homeless camps, according to the outlet.

“These plans for Laurelhurst Park have been in the work for some time. It’s a great opportunity to revamp areas of the park to better serve the community — something that the neighborhood has been asking for,” a spokesperson for Wheeler’s office told Fox News on Thursday.

The decision to clear out the homeless camp has caused homelessness adovates to speak out against the rennovations.

“These people have to find a place to stay warm at night, and it’s not easy,” advocate Pat Schwiebert told Fox. “Most of the people that live on that street are reasonable people. They’re just trying to survive.”

In addition to the pickleball courts, the Parks and Recreation Department intends to add a skate ramp, bicycle course, benches, trash cans and bike racks, according to KOIN.

The homeless population in Portland has risen by about 50% since 2019 due to the pandemic, Fox noted. Around 6,000 people currently live on the streets in the Portland area, a significant uptick from around 4,000 in 2019, according to the outlet.