Group caught on camera climbing out of a sewer

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Portland, Ore. — A security camera outside a northwest Portland business caught three people climbing out of a sewer Thursday night.

It all started when Kris Lake, the door shop manager, saw a shoe outside their shop. He wanted to know where it came from, so he checked the surveillance video. “It was insane,” Lake said.

What he saw was the manhole cover start to move and then pop up. One after another, three people climbed their way up and out. “Like a clown car — just pile on out,” he said.

They dusted off their clothes and one of the individuals rolled 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 Lake looked back through even more surveillance video, he found that just after midnight on June 2, five people had 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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