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Pamplin Media Group – Amid sea of complaints, ODOT shuts down park & ride near Brooks

Pamplin Media Group - Amid sea of complaints, ODOT shuts down park & ride near Brooks
Written by Publishing Team

The Park & ​​Ride adjacent to Northbound I-5 Brooks exit has deteriorated into a homeless camp. Now closed.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has closed a passenger stop that locals say has degraded into a homeless camp and off the road over the past year.

Officials from the ODOT and Oregon State Police closed the site, located east of the northbound highway 5 ramps on Brooklake Street in Brooks, earlier this month.

Authorities say the illegal camp set up at the site appears to have accumulated a massive amount of trash and vehicles, including rusting shells of RV pallets and broken passenger cars.

Park & ​​Ride was part of the state’s highway system, but Seydel said it was not being used as intended.

“It has become a camp with many abandoned and scrapped vehicles and a lot of trash,” Seidl said. “We had many concerns and complaints.”

At times, motorists reported seeing a fire burning on the side of the road.

Complaints piled up to the point that piles of rubbish had to be removed and Park & ​​Ride closed.

ODOT Public Information Officer Angela Beers Seidel said, “Our goal is to maintain a safe and efficient transportation system for everyone. ODOT properties are not set up for camping and are often unsafe sites, so it is illegal to camp on them.” .

On the morning of Tuesday, January 4, OSP and ODOT officials were on site along with a few tow trucks to remove abandoned vehicles and other garbage trucks. Other crews were cleaning and smoothing floors and adding concrete supports. It was a complex process that began last year, through a variety of agencies.

Records show OSP tagged and removed 12 abandoned vehicles and seven towed RVs. In addition, 35,980 pounds of trash was removed and taken to a nearby trash stove.

“We know that the reasons people camp along state highways and on ODOT properties are complex, so we work with equipped community partners to support the needs that people may have,” Seidl said. “We typically post a notice of intent to take back the property ten days in advance, giving our partners time to work with people who have been camping at the site.

“Our role is to recover state property for use in the transportation system, which includes removing anything campers left behind,” Seidl added. “Personal items are stored in our facilities for 30 days. The trash is disposed of.”

The Park & ​​Ride is now closed with concrete barriers blocking the entrance.

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