The following is a letter the HDSCBA submitted to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office related to the homeless population and the interaction with the business community.
Sheriff Chuck Atkins
Clark County Sheriff’s Office
PO Box 410
Vancouver, WA 98660
Re: Homeless Situation in Hazel Dell and Salmon Creek
Dear Sheriff Atkins,
On the heels of the panhandling problems of a few years ago, the Hazel Dell and Salmon Creek businesses and residents are now plagued with homeless individuals and their pets squatting on private and public property. Their lean-to shacks can be found in many of the wooded areas and parks creating the impression of an unsafe environment. The freeway overpasses again show signs of their presence.
The more creative of these individuals actually move onto business properties once the doors are closed for the day. They tap into outdoor electric outlets, use the water supply, and generally leave evidence of their occupation with litter and other detritus. This costs money our business owners could spend more wisely on improving their properties, but they are forced to clean up after the homeless population instead.
As a business organization, it is our goal to encourage customers to our doors with a clean and safe business environment. It appears there is currently little enforcement. Our members expect an atmosphere of safety, cleanliness, and sanitation that could be helped considerably by a CCSO presence. We are asking your office to step up enforcement efforts with regard to the homeless persons and let us as leaders know what we can do to assist in your endeavors.
Tony Ruestig, President
Hazel Dell/Salmon Creek Business Association