Many homeless camps removed from near Fort Vancouver High School


School administrator: ‘Don’t know who it was, but thank them for me’

A lot has changed this week just off the campus of Fort Vancouver High School.

Days after Vancouver Public Schools officials were told that the city would not be moving homeless camps that have been built just feet from campus grounds, most of the camps, indeed, were removed Thursday.

Here is a photo taken last week showing a homeless camp just on the city side of a fence around the campus of Fort Vancouver High School. Photo by Paul Valencia
Here is a photo taken last week showing a homeless camp just on the city side of a fence around the campus of Fort Vancouver High School. Photo by Paul Valencia
This photo, taken Friday morning, shows the homeless camp gone. The city had said earlier in the week that it would not be moving the camps outside of Fort Vancouver High School. But most of the camps were removed Thursday. Photo by Paul Valencia
This photo, taken Friday morning, shows the homeless camp gone. The city had said earlier in the week that it would not be moving the camps outside of Fort Vancouver High School. But most of the camps were removed Thursday. Photo by Paul Valencia

“I don’t know who it was, but thank them for me,” said James Ensley, the athletic director at Fort Vancouver.

Ensley and other Fort Vancouver administrators, as well as district administrators, had no idea the camps were being removed until a phone call alerted them to the fact it was happening on Thursday.

Sure enough, Ensley and others made their way out past the spring sports athletic facilities on the far, back end of the campus property to see the end of the day’s clean-up operation.

On Friday morning, a couple of vehicles remained, but several other vehicles had been moved, a large campsite with tent and tarps was removed, and most of the parking lot that is used by Alcoa Little League was empty.

A photo taken last week of a parking lot on city property, used for Alcoa Little League and Fort Vancouver High School athletics, filled with campers and tarps and other items associated with homeless camps. Photo by Paul Valencia
A photo taken last week of a parking lot on city property, used for Alcoa Little League and Fort Vancouver High School athletics, filled with campers and tarps and other items associated with homeless camps. Photo by Paul Valencia
This photo, taken Friday morning, shows that only a couple vehicles remain in the parking lot. Many of the homeless camps outside Fort Vancouver High School were removed on Thursday. Photo by Paul Valencia
This photo, taken Friday morning, shows that only a couple vehicles remain in the parking lot. Many of the homeless camps outside Fort Vancouver High School were removed on Thursday. Photo by Paul Valencia

On Monday, Clark County Today posted a story that featured interviews with school officials, the superintendent of Vancouver Public Schools, the deputy city manager, as well as parents and athletes at Fort Vancouver. Parents and athletes wondered if homeless camps would ever be permitted outside more affluent schools.

School resource officers were sweeping the fields daily, finding used needles and biohazards. The campsites themselves were off school grounds, but garbage was discarded on school grounds. 

The official stance of the city, at least on Monday, was that it could not move the campsites. Bart Hansen, a city council member, did say at the time, however, that the city was still working on a solution.

By Thursday, a bulldozer and other equipment was used to discard garbage, RVs, and other materials related to the camps.

Attempts to contact city officials were not successful by the time of this report Friday.

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