A man emerges from a tent as another man fights gusty winds while trying to set up a dry shelter along Portland's Bayside Trail on May 1, 2023. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Portland began taking down the homeless encampment behind Trader Joe’s on Tuesday morning.

After weeks of delays trying to figure out where people will go, health and safety concerns are prompting the removal of the Bayside homeless encampment off Marginal Way.

Crews started clearing the camp out around 8 a.m.

The city said there have been multiple incidents at the encampment, including a man swinging a bat that had a knife attached to it and another threatening people with pepper spray. Health concerns also are an issue.

“We really have nowhere else to go. It’s a constant struggle every day for us to stay alive, man. It’s crazy,” said Andy, who lives in the Bayside encampment.

The city said it is exhausting staff and resources and neighbors are concerned, too.

“Got to feel for everyone, but it is getting a little unsafe at this point, and hate to feel unsafe where you live,” said Laura Powell, who lives near Bayside Trail.

Gov. Janet Mills said the state has already put $43 million into addressing the homeless crisis in Maine, funding emergency shelter beds and the Blueberry Road facility in Portland that will open this summer to house asylum seekers.

The governor’s most recent plan includes millions more for housing, but that plan still has to be approved.