The city says there is nothing they can do to evict the “few dozen” squatters living in a treehouse on city property. “They threatened to shoot our dog,” one Portland couple complains. The Stickler family has been terrorized for years. Even charges of polluting the waterway didn’t stick.
Massive and elaborate treehouse
One couple in southeast Portland, Oregon, has been “terrorized for years by campers living in and around a massive treehouse built on city property.” Kerry Stickler gave a tour to local journalists. Just off Southeast Foster Road is a special grove of trees.
That’s where Kerry and his wife, Marysue, were married a few short years ago, before the tree people moved in. They picked the setting along Johnson Creek because it “seems serene.” It used to be. “We actually had to put up a fence from Johnson Creek all the way back to the Springwater Trail, just to keep them out of our backyard.”
A mere hundred yards from his home are a community of people squatting in a treehouse on neighboring city property. They’re no Swiss Family Robinson but they have a pretty elaborate setup. Stickler shared a video showing “the elaborate structure built in the trees, including a window and a staircase surrounded by fencing.”
They aren’t considerate conservationists, that’s for sure. “They’re right outside our bedroom window at night. We can hear them,” said Marysue Stickler. “They’re fighting. There’s guys punching women, women screaming up and down the street. It’s horrible.” Portland officials don’t seem to mind.
Recently, the bad situation got a whole lot worse. Everything began to escalate when his dog “responded to the noise.” The treehouse people didn’t appreciate that. “They threatened to shoot our dog. They’ve actually shot at us from up there when my dog was barking,” police used to consider that a crime, before they were defunded.
Even the hate crimes won’t be investigated. “Stickler told us he called the police. Portland Police couldn’t find the incident for us but said they have a record of Stickler reporting gunshots in the past. Stickler also showed us his barn, where he says someone spray-painted racist graffiti.”
An obvious hate crime
Portland police can’t be bothered to do anything about it, even though it’s clearly a “hate crime.” Kerry explains “my roommate is black, and they put an upside-down cross and used the N-word, painted it on my barn.” He’s certain its someone from the treehouse.
The video he took shows “chopped-down trees and piles of trash stretching all the way to Johnson Creek.”
Local station KATU “discovered a dam built in the creek where Stickler told us people had been pumping water and dumping trash.” They called the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. They own the property the treehouse sits on. They sent a statement back.
“Garbage on Environmental Services’ property is always of great concern, particularly along our waterways. Garbage can pollute the environment, impact water quality, and endanger plants and animals. This is why Environmental Services reported the site to the Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Team.” In other words, it’s a “somebody else’s problem” which they can safely ignore.
HUCIRT takes in “1,700 complaints about encampments weekly.” That means they do nothing about any of them. The anarchist treehouse people can do as they please and nobody will stop them. “Environmental Services is aware that the team is stretched for resources and is grateful garbage is being removed from this site as resources allow. More resources may be dedicated to this site after the height of wildfire season and school begins, but right now, the team is doing all it can with the available resources. The unfortunate reality is that the need for garbage removal in Portland exceeds the city’s available resources, so the team has to prioritize to the best of their ability.”
Meanwhile, according to Mr. Stickler, “we can’t even let our dog in our backyard by herself. We go out there every time with her. It’s just crazy.“