Portland squatters terrorize neighbors, nearly set their house on fire

An Oregon family armed with their own fire extinguishers had to repeatedly save their home from fires after homeless squatters set fire to a house next door twice in one day.

Jacob Adams said he sprang into action as flames from both infernos threatened to leap into their Portland property in the latest in a string of terrifying experiences since squatters took over the neighboring structure five years earlier.

“There are fires that happen all the time. The main ones. This latest one actually came and set our property on fire,” Adams told Fox 12.

“Within 12 hours of that fire, another fire broke out. My wife was screaming and propane tanks were on fire.”

Surveillance footage of the disturbing incident shows Adams using fire extinguishers to stop the inferno from jumping over the fence between the two properties as his wife, Beth, cries in the background.

He told the outlet that he has since bought several more fire extinguishers in the unlikely event that he needs to save his home again.

Adams fends off fire.
Adams said two fires started within 12 hours that day.
FOX 12 Oregon

Adams fends off fire.
The incidents have been going on for five years, Adams said.
FOX 12 Oregon


Portland has a long-standing homeless problem. There are over 6,600 homeless people in Portland in over 700 shelters across the city.

Although city Mayor Ted Wheeler announced plans in October to ban the encampments, the tents have remained largely undisturbed by city officials, including police.

Lax enforcement allowed squatters to occupy homes like the one next door to Adams despite being served multiple eviction notices.

Adams said over the past five years he has reported multiple thefts — including a culprit who caught him stalking their property with his firewood — drug use and physical fights inside the home that quickly escalated, but to no avail.

Jacob Adams
Adams said he has made several reports to the city, but to no avail.
FOX 12 Oregon

“I don’t know how many times I’ve talked to the police because people are screaming or someone is overdosing,” he said.

“It’s just countless, countless first responder calls. We should all love our neighbor no matter who he is. But at the point where they start setting your place on fire, it becomes a little more difficult.”

Another neighbor, 83-year-old veteran Armand Martens, told Fox that squatting has blighted the neighborhood to the point where he fears for his safety.

“I felt safer walking in downtown Saigon when I was in Vietnam than here in Portland,” he said.

A homeless man sleeps on the street.
There are over 6,600 homeless people in Portland.
FOX news

Martens said he had to take matters into his own hands as his illegal neighbors have repeatedly connected a pipe to his water.

He has also made repeated complaints to city leaders, but fears his concerns are falling on deaf ears.

“It seems like all they’re doing is empowering the homeless,” Martens said.