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Can I Do Anything About the People Living In Their Cars on My Street?

Can I put a warning on their car that the police will come soon? Me and my neighbors don't want them there.

I live near Hawthorne, and am plagued by people living in their cars two doors down from me. They put sheets all around the windows. Can I put a warning on their car that the police will come soon? Me and my neighbors don't want them there.

—Not a Campground

The fact that you think I'm going to take your side in the ongoing battle between the bourgeoisie and the unsightly homeless, Campground, suggests to me that you're not a regular reader of this column. Soliciting my advice in this situation is a bit like asking Bill O'Reilly to give you a ride to the Rainbow Gathering.

That said, I'm not entirely unsympathetic. When I lived on Hawthorne (before I was priced out, probably by you), we had a homeless guy living on our porch. We'd call the cops, and they'd make him leave. When they were gone, he'd come back.

Related: If the Homeless Are So Poor, How Can They Afford Those Pricey New Tents?

Eventually, the cops started hinting that we should stop bothering them. And that guy was actually committing trespass—your people are only violating the ordinance against parking in one spot for more than 24 hours.

You can call the Bureau of Transportation and have them issue a parking ticket, but that'll just be one more thing to go to collections. You may be able to get the vehicle impounded, but that will just turn the occupants from homeless people living in a car to homeless people living on the street, eyeing your porch.

Related: How One Portland Neighborhood Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Homeless

What's your specific beef with these folks? Are they cooking meth? Screaming at all hours? Breaking into houses? If they are, call the cops! Those things are actually breaches of public order.

Related: Mayor Charlie Hales Scales Back His Policy Allowing People to Sleep on the Street

If not, you've lucked out. Your homeless people are quiet, they're courteous—they've even put up curtains to shield you from second-hand guilt. If it were me, I'd be plastering the butt cheeks of class resentment against that window

every chance I got. No justice, no peace.

QUESTIONS? Send them to dr.know@wweek.com