Wapato Jail rededicated as Bybee Lakes Hope Center

Homeless

Ceremony hosted by the Helping Hands Reentry Outreach Centers and Harsch Investment Properties

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Wapato Corrections Facility was officially rededicated as the Bybee Lakes Hope Center on Wednesday morning.

The rededication ceremony was hosted by the Helping Hands Reentry Outreach Centers and Harsch Investment Properties. Organizers said the new homeless center will partially open by September — when about 70 emergency shelter beds will be available to those who need a place to stay for the night.

They also announced new partnerships with Portland Public Schools and TriMet. The organizers provided updates on zoning, construction progress and introduced the new facility director as well.

“This is an exciting day and just the beginning of this beacon of hope in making a difference in our community,” said philanthropist and businessman Jordan Schnitzer, who controls the property.

Helping Hands already operates 11 emergency shelters and re-entry programs in Clatsop, Tillamook, Yamhill and Lincoln counties — and founder Alan Evans said he will rely on his own experience with homelessness to create a data-driven, trauma-informed center here.

“I lived on the streets. I nearly froze to death. I committed crimes to survive,” Evans said in an emotional speech, recounting how a childhood of abuse led to years of addiction. “We are the right people for this. If we can fix this thing here, this will be a model for the rest of the nation.” 

The rededication ceremony began at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

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