'They stole everything that wasn't nailed down'

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Springwater Corridor jogging and biking path runs alongside Bill and Neva Ashenberner's house in Southeast Portland.

From their living room, they can see cyclists, runners, and rollerbladers.

They can also see the homeless, transients, prostitutes, thieves and drug addicts.

Ever since the trail was transformed from a railroad line to a recreation path about a decade ago, Bill and Neva say it's been funneling crime, violence and problems straight into their backyard.

"They said it was going to be a walk in the park," Neva said. "Believe me, it's no walk in the park."

They've lived in the same house near S.E. 97th St. for 35 years and never had problems with crime until the tracks were torn up and paved over with a promise of family fun that never came true for the families who actually live alongside the trail.

Thieves have broken into Bill and Neva's home 13 times.

"They stole everything that wasn't nailed down," Neva said.

Neva says she's lost money, jewelry, scrap metal and even flowers, vegetables and plants from her garden.

Bill says he once rescued a woman from being raped.

They bought giant guard dogs to protect their house and property.

They both say they often discover drug users and prostitutes in the bushes and shrubs that line the popular trail that runs more than 20 miles through Portland.

KATU has reported on the homeless camps and possible criminal activity alongside various stretches of the trail before.

This week, a man was shot and killed by police after attempting to attack them with a crowbar.

Back in 2012, park rangers said they worked with the Portland Police Bureau to patrol the corridor and remove homeless camps after cyclists complained about harassment near S.E. 82nd.

Just this spring, the city asked homeless campers to remove their tents and debris from alongside the trail near the Eastbank Esplanade.

None of that's worked for Bill and Neva.

Bill sleeps with a .22 pistol under his bed.

Neva doesn't leave the house after 6 p.m.

And they say that's only because of the trail that was supposed to be a walk in the park.