Are these cameras spying on you? City says no

GRESHAM, Ore. - A small trailer with what looks like surveillance cameras that are attached to a pole, which is then extended high into the air, is raising concerns about privacy.

And much of the concern might be happening because there is a sticker on the side of it that mentions the Department of Homeland Security.

It's called an Infrastructure Protection Trailer or IPT for short. It's been spotted in different neighborhoods and it is recording footage. But city leaders say no one should worry about their privacy being violated.

They say the cameras are being pointed toward crosswalks and other streets, counting pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

"But we don't point this camera towards houses, we're looking at intersections," said Gresham spokeswoman Laura Shepard. "It's a cost-effective way for us to see what's going on and make the transportation system better."

The city has had an IPT for the past 18 months.

The trailer is now sitting in a city parking lot. Most recently, it was near Powell and Northwest Bella Vista Avenue and counted pedestrians at that crosswalk.

The city calls it pretty mundane surveillance, and it was something it had been doing long before it had its own camera.

"Before we had this trailer, we used to contract out for this service," Shepard said. "And now that we have it, we're able to do it in-house, and we're able to save the taxpayers money by using it."

As for the reason it has a sticker that mentions the Department of Homeland Security? A grant from that department paid for the trailer.

The trailer's primary mission is for security surveillance at city construction sites, but right now there are no such projects underway. So when it's not in use for that purpose, the city uses it for traffic studies.