More concerns arise over SE Portland Safe Rest Village

Civic Affairs

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Residents near Errol Heights Park voiced new concerns about a proposed site for a Safe Rest Village in Southeast Portland.

Commissioner Dan Ryan announced 3 of the 6 proposed locations for the city-sanctioned homeless shelters last week, with one of them located at SE 45th Avenue and Harney Street. The site, however, was not on a list of 70 proposed locations for potential safe village sites released in early summer.

The Portland Audubon Society supports the Safe Village Program.

However, members said there are unanswered questions about this site. First, the city’s own flood map shows the site is in a flood zone. City code appears to show that outdoor shelters can’t be built in flood hazard areas. There are also contamination concerns about the site.

Overarching both of these issues is the terrain, members said. The city of Portland bought the land a few years ago as part of a wetlands restoration project, raising concerns over how a safe rest village would impact that.

“We flagged several issues for them that were presented to us by the city’s own staff, so we hope they are on their radar screen and hope they have good answers for them,” said Bob Sallinger with Portland Audubon Society. “We look forward to working with them to make these sites a success.”

Many residents in this neighborhood immediately expressed opposition when the city announced the location late last week.

KOIN 6 News has reached out to Commissioner Ryan’s office for comment.

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