People Living in Massive Treehouse are "Terrorizing" Neighbors
"There's guys punching women, women screaming up and down the street. It's horrible."
Camping out in a treehouse in the open Pacific Northwest air and under the stars—the glamping fad may make this sound idyllic. But a couple living in Portland, Oregon, say an illegal treehouse near their property is a living nightmare. They claim they're being bullied by people living the giant structure, which is actually built on property owned by the city. So they turned to a local TV station for help. Read on to find out more about the couple's "horrible" tale, which includes gunshots and offensive graffiti.
The elaborate treehouse—which contains a staircase and fencing—sits about 100 yards from Kerry Stickler's home. Stickler and his wife, Marysue, told local station KATU that a few dozen people are living in the treehouse, and they've been disruptive, even abusive and threatening.
"They're right outside our bedroom window at night. We can hear them," said Marysue Stickler. "They're fighting. There's guys punching women, women screaming up and down the street. It's horrible."
"We actually had to put up a fence from Johnson Creek all the way back to the Springwater Trail, just to keep them out of our backyard," said Kerry Stickler.
The couple accuses residents of the treehouse of shooting at them and painting racist graffiti on their barn. "It's pretty much a hate crime. My roommate is black, and they put an upside-down cross and used the N-word, painted it on my barn," said Kerry Stickler.
He added: "They threatened to shoot our dog. They've actually shot at us from up there when my dog was barking … We can't even let our dog in our backyard by herself. We go out there every time with her. It's just crazy."
Stickler told KATU he had reported the tree-dwellers to the police. Portland Police told the station they couldn't find a record of that but said Stickler had reported gunshots in the past.
In the video Stickler showed the station, chopped-down trees and piles of trash were visible on the property where the treehouse was built, which is owned by The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. The bureau sent WATU this statement:
"Garbage on Environmental Services' property is always of great concern, particularly along our waterways. Garbage can pollute the environment, impact water quality, and endanger plants and animals. This is why Environmental Services reported the site to the Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Team. The Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Team is receiving around 1,700 complaints about encampments weekly. Environmental Services is aware that the team is stretched for resources and is grateful garbage is being removed from this site as resources allow. More resources may be dedicated to this site after the height of wildfire season and school begins, but right now, the team is doing all it can with the available resources. The unfortunate reality is that the need for garbage removal in Portland exceeds the City's available resources, so the team has to prioritize to the best of their ability."
It's unclear who built or lives in the controversial treehouse. But rentable, livable treehouses are quite a thing in Portland and throughout Oregon. Companies like Portland Treehouse advertise their ability to build structures in and around various types of foliage, and lists touting the best treehouse rentals you can find in the area are widely available online.
Although it's unclear if the people who occupy the treehouse at issue are unhoused, Portland has removed occupied treehouses before. In 2016, the city dismantled a two-story treehouse built by the unhoused people in Beggars Tick.