People in Portland sewers: Group coming up from manhole caught on camera

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Portland (KPTV) — A security camera outside a northwest Portland business caught three people climbing out of a sewer Thursday night.

It all started when Kris Lake, door shop manager, saw a shoe outside their shop and wanted to know where it came from. He checked the surveillance video.

“It was insane,” Lake said.

What he saw was the manhole cover start to move and then pop up. A person comes out, and one after another, three people make their way up and out.

“Like a clown car just pile on out,” he said.

They dust off their clothes, and one of them rolls around on the ground before changing his pants.

“The first thing I thought is ‘That’s disgusting,’” Lake said. “And then when I saw the shoes get thrown and them splat with liquid, yeah that’s when I decided this is really gross.”

Not only gross, but also unlawful and unsafe.

A Bureau of Environmental Services officer came by to check for damage. He said all looked good, but traveling through the sewers is a terrible idea.

A spokesperson for BES said a trip through there could easily be deadly, considering the exposure to untreated sewage and the low levels of oxygen.

“If one of them had tripped, fell in the water, drowned, how would anybody know anyone was in there,” Lake said. “They acted like it wasn’t their first time.”

In fact, later Friday night, when he looked back through even more surveillance video, he found that just after midnight on June 2, five people climbed out of the same sewer.

BES says if you see anything like this, call the city’s 24/7 dispatch line at 503-823-1700.

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