As an older and slightly handicapped female walking in the Portland area, I am sometimes intimidated by homeless camps along the Portland Trails and in green spaces.

I’ve been seeing more and more such camps. While having empathy and concern for the homeless, I find it intimidating, to say the least, to go by such places.

Last year I called the Portland Police twice about two camps just off Hobart Street. It was disturbing. They had campfires and propane tanks. All young men. The woman at the Portland Police non-emergency number asked, “What would you want us to do about it?”

This fall, another camp was set up at the end of Hobart Street, beyond the last house. I no longer feel comfortable walking there.

On the Fore River trail, a woman walking her dog alerted me to the presence of another camp. Some of the people at such camps seem fine and friendly; others clearly have mental health issues.

Please, I ask two things: Let us do more to help such people stay out of the weather and elements. And please, if even one woman walking alone no longer feels comfortable doing so, why can’t the Portland Police, and any other entity that has the ability, help the people living in the camps find a place to stay?

Should someone like myself stop using the Portland Trails, and other such places, because of fear for personal safety? And should anyone, despite being destitute, have to resort to living outside in the Maine winter?

Linda S. Bridges

Portland