4 dead in Oregon as car crashes into homeless camp

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Four people were killed and three others were injured after a driver crashed into a homeless camp in Salem, Oregon, early Sunday morning.

Police responded to the scene in the capital city around 2 a.m. Two people died at the scene and several others were taken to the hospital, where two later died. 

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Police have not released the names of the victims.

The driver of the car was also taken to the hospital. There is no update on their condition and their identity has also not been released, according to KPTV.

As COVID-19 took root in the U.S., people on the street were largely left on their own — with many cities halting sweeps of homeless camps following guidance from federal health officials. This led to a situation that spiraled out of control in many places, with frustrated residents calling for action as extreme forms of poverty play out on city streets.

Increasingly in liberal cities across the country — where people living in tents in public spaces have long been tolerated — leaders are removing encampments and pushing other strict measures to address homelessness that would have been unheard of a few years ago.

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Frank, who is experiencing homelessness, sits in his tent in Portland, Oregon, next to the Willamette River on June 5, 2021. 

Frank, who is experiencing homelessness, sits in his tent in Portland, Oregon, next to the Willamette River on June 5, 2021. 
(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein, File)

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In nearby Portland, the homeless crisis has grown increasingly visible in recent years. During the area’s 2019 point-in-time count — a yearly census of sorts — an estimated 4,015 people were experiencing homelessness, with half of them “unsheltered” or sleeping outside. Advocates say the numbers have likely significantly increased.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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