Salem officials limiting homeless camping in parks due to flooding

After heavy rains and rising creeks displaced dozens of homeless campers at two Salem parks, city officials are banning camps at low-level wetlands and creek banks. 

Officials announced the guidelines Wednesday, more than a week after heavy rainfall caused Mill Creek to overflow its banks and flood parts of Cascades Gateway Park. 

Roughly half of the campsites were inundated with water. Some reported seeing tents floating down the creek. 

The rainfall preceding Dec. 21 pushed Mill Creek over the high water watch level of 9.3 feet. As of Tuesday, the creek remains well below that level.

‘People are suffering:’ Floodwaters inundate homeless camp of 300 at Cascades Gateway Park

In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 among the homeless population, the city lifted a ban on camping at Cascades Gateway and Wallace Marine parks. Hundreds relocated to the parks — both of which are susceptible to flooding. 

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