Commissioner: List of homeless village sites ‘shocked people’

Civic Affairs

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Commissioner Dan Ryan says the city is narrowing down the list of potential safe rest village sites.

At a meeting with Ryan hosted by the Pearl District Neighborhood Association’s Livability and Safety Committee on Wednesday night, residents said the trash buildup and violence surrounding the homeless camps in Portland’s Old Town and the Pearl District have been steadily increasing since June.

Ryan said construction on six new villages for the homeless will mark a fresh start in managing the crisis. Approximately 70 sites are being considered, including two around the Pearl District: one at NW 6th and Glisan and the other at NW 3rd and Flanders. Ryan said city leaders are currently winnowing down that list to six locations. Construction on the villages is still on track to begin in September.

“It was quite a list, I think it shocked people. Some people really overreacted to it — that’s okay,” Ryan said. “Really, we just want to be transparent with you all, the assignment list, for all of the bureaus’ leads to give us their inventory.”

A graphic showing the proposed spots for the Safe Rest Villages in Portland, August 4, 2021 (KOIN)

But many residents weren’t focused on where the villages might be built but on how soon they’d make an impact in getting people — and tents — off of the streets.

“At what point will there be adequate safe rest villages for the no-camping code to be enforced?” asked Mary Sipe.

Ryan didn’t offer a timeline but said there’s momentum behind making more options available.

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