PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – City and county leaders are changing their plans to address the homeless crisis after Gov. Tina Kotek chose to withhold funding from the governments — saying their plan did not have enough detail for how the money would be used.
With $18 million on the line for Multnomah County, Portland and Gresham, Mayor Ted Wheeler, Chair Jessica Vega Pederson and the governor all met Tuesday afternoon.
The mayor’s plan to create large outdoor shelter sites was not specifically mentioned in the funding proposal submitted by the county. Wheeler had sparred with the previous county chair over the proposal and has banked on funding from the state.
Kotek said she would be open to funding pods at the sites. A county spokesperson notes that 100 pods were included in the proposal, but not specifically designated for the alternative shelter sites.
The county holds the power here, as the governor’s office will allocate the money to counties. The mayor’s office told KOIN 6 they did not get to see the plan before it was sent to the state.
Other counties named several community priorities – around a dozen – while Multnomah County listed one: housing focused case management.
In the revised proposal to the state, due Friday, the mayor’s office wants some requests for the outdoor shelter sites.
Vega Pederson said in a statement that they spent hours with the governor’s team on the proposal.
Despite leaving out the shelter sites, she says the city and county are united in this proposal and they “will work together to provide additional details in our refined plan on the timeline the governor’s office and her team have requested.”
When the governor releases the funding, it will be $6 million less than requested.
Meanwhile, Washington County got nearly everything they requested to rehouse more than 100 people and prevent hundreds more from becoming homeless.
“We have some really strong partnerships that are working here in the community with our community based organizations,” said Chair Kathryn Harrington.
Clackamas County says they were denied all the funding they requested for shelter, but did get money for rehousing programs.
Stay with KOIN 6 as this story develops.