Transients cause concern for a Central Point nonprofit

Last September, NBC5 first told you about a local nonprofit in Central Point that is concerned for its safety with nearly 30 homeless camps behind its building.

Nearly six months later, the square dancing hall off of Table Rock Road is still having issues with trespassing transients.

John Olson who rents out the square dance hall on Table Rock Road says the transients who camp behind the property continue to be a nuisance.

“Where they’re camping is county property but the homeless use our property to get to there,” Olson said.

He says they use the building’s water, the outside electrical outlets and one even broke his fence.

“I had to padlock this chain to the fence,” Olson said.

Not only are transients crossing private property, but if you walk several steps down past the bushes, you’ll find piles of trash.

Back in September, Olson says he got a call from a sheriff deputy saying the area would be cleaned.

But days later, he was told the crews were taken away.

Then in October, the sheriff’s department did a greenway sweep.

“It’s a fairly large undertaking. It consumes a lot of resources and a lot of coordination and it’s not something that we can just sustain on say a weekly basis, or even a monthly basis,” Sheriff Nate Sickler said.

Sheriff Nate Sickler says they cleaned nearly 20 campsites and 66 cubic yards of garbage.

But even after the last sweep, Olson says more transients moved near his property.

“They took the sheriff’s clean up crew and cleaned it over there. So it drove them all over here,” Olson said.

Kenny Wilkey lives at the camp.

He says he’s been trying to clean all the trash and he does his best to force those who don’t pick up after themselves to leave.

“Pick up the garbage… or move out,” Wilkey said.

Olson thinks there’s a simple solution.

“I think the state should bulldoze a road in there and give them access to it and give them porta potties and a dumpster and make them clean up after themselves,” Olson said.

But he’s been told there are not enough funds.

Now Olson is just hoping the next sweep starts on his side of the Greenway.

Sheriff Nate Sickler says the next greenway sweep will most likely happen in April.

Sheriff Sickler wants to encourage anyone who is having problems with transients on their property to call the sheriff’s office.

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