Schnitzer, Helping Hands may strike Wapato Jail deal

Civic Affairs

Press conference set for 11 a.m. Friday


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Friday morning press conference is scheduled to announce the details of the latest possible use of the vacant Wapato Jail facility.

Wapato owner Jordan Schnitzer will be at the 11 a.m. press conference to unveil an “emerging opportunity” for the non-profit group Helping Hands to use the space.

Others joining Schnitzer at the press conference will be Alan Evans, the founder of Helping Hands Reentry Outreach, and State Sen. Betsy Johnson.

The announcement said Helping Hands “specializes in referral only emergency shelter and program-based transitional housing.”

Evans began Helping Hands in 2004 in Seaside. They now operate 11 emergency homeless shelter and re-entry program facilities.

On October 10, Schnitzer announced that after 18 months of trying to strike a deal to turn the unused Wapato Jail into a homeless shelter, it will be demolished.

Wapato Jail was built in 2004 for $58 million and never housed a single inmate. Multnomah County sold the 525-bed facility to developer Marty Kehoe for $5 million. Schnitzer financed the purchase and took ownership.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this ongoing story.

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