Reported attack on sleeping homeless man in Salem under police investigation

A group attacked a homeless man sleeping outside a service provider in Salem on Oct. 18, leaving the man with serious injuries.

Lt. Treven Upkes, spokesperson for the Salem Police Department, said the man was sleeping at night in front of the Homeless Outreach and Advocacy Project building on Church Street Northeast when he was attacked. 

Upkes said a group of four to five people, a mix of teens and young adults, attacked the man. The department has made arrests in the case but are still looking for more people.

He said the attackers were not homeless. “It was some younger adults going out and brutalizing a homeless person because they were vulnerable,” he said.

A security guard reported the incident. Upkes said he did not know who they worked for.

Salem Reporter for two weeks has sought details about the incident, but Upkes said the department can’t provide more information due to an ongoing investigation. He did not provide names of those arrested.

Stephen Goins, transitional programs director for Northwest Human Services, which runs HOAP, declined to comment about the reported attack.

The HOAP building is located at 694 Church St. N.E.

“It’s tucked away,” Upkes said of the building. “It’s not where you would think a homeless outreach or homeless service provider would be at.”

He said the HOAP building is a converted office space that’s surrounded by law firms, offices and some residences, and the presence of homeless people in the area is causing resentment and attacks.

“That always causes an issue, because people like to hang out there during the day to utilize the resources at HOAP, and so it’s pretty unsightly for people that live in that neighborhood, and then there’s kind of these adjacent criminal activities that go on there,” Upkes said.

HOAP provides homeless adults with case management, crisis intervention, information about local resources, referrals and access to health care Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to its website. People can also do laundry and shower at its drop-in center, which provides hygiene kits, meals, clothing, Cherriots Day Passes and holiday activities.

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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