Oregon woman invites homeless couple to live in her yard, neighbors upset

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Portland woman invites homeless couple to live in her yard, neighbors upset (KATU)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KATU) -- A woman in her 70s is having a tough time upkeeping her home, so she invited a homeless couple to live in her backyard to help with yard work.

"They're helping me clean around, you know mowing..." Flor Hillard said. "Sometimes I've been telling them to clean up... And they're lazy."

Hillard doesn't know how much longer she's going to let them stay in her backyard. She wasn't aware that it was illegal to allow any type of camping in people's backyards.

Neighbors say the campers have been there since June and it wasn't until recently that they noticed that they were there.

"They just argue and yell and I could kind of see when I got a look back there that there's lots of beer cans and garbage and stuff like that," said Lisa Kiraly who lives next door.

Kiraly says she's only bothered by the couple when she's outside and hears them yelling.

"I've had worst kind of temporary neighbors," Kiraly said.

The Portland Development Commission doesn't monitor backyard camping -- it's a complaint-driven system.

So far, none of the neighbors have formally complained to PDC about the backyard campers.

If they were to complain, a 30-day notice would be given to Hillard. If the homeless couple doesn't stop camping in her backyard after that time Hillard would face a $200-a-month fine.

While neighbors may not like having homeless campers in the backyard next door, some say it may be better than the alternative they've seen for years.

"It seems like that is so much more peaceful than just having whoever hangout on your street," said Debbie Poole, who lives on Southeast 40th Avenue.