PORTLAND, Maine - State officials say highway crews have dismantled more than 20 homeless camps while doing brush clearing work alongside Interstate 295 in Portland in the past month.
The Portland Press Herald reports that state officials say the work was long overdue and needed to improve the appearance of the highway and strengthen public safety. Occupants were given a day's notice before the campsites were destroyed.
Homeless advocates say the work should have been done with input from social services. Social workers in the area say they have noticed an increase in the number of homeless people sleeping outside rather than in shelters.
Maine Department of Transportation spokesman Tom Talbot says about 25 encampments were dismantled in Portland and discarded over the past month as part of the work that cost $40,000.