PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A SE Portland neighborhood is still fighting against the city’s plan to build a Safe Rest Village site for the homeless.
There was no shortage of questions from people concerned about the Safe Rest Village site planned for the Lents Neighborhood. Jake Dornblasser with Commissioner Dan Ryan’s office tried addressing some of those concerns at Thursday’s Lents Neighborhood Livability Association meeting.
The big issue these neighbors seem to have with the site is potential drug use and other crimes, which they say they see a lot of it in other homeless camps. And they want to know what will stop it from happening at the safe rest site.
“My neighborhood has been terrorized for four years,” said Todd Littlefield, who lives in the Lents Neighborhood. “We had drug deals going on all night we had a chop shop going on all night.”
Portland City Council voted unanimously to build Safe Rest sites in June of last year. Since then, Commissioner Ryan’s office has proposed locations for six sites
The one in Lents will be installed near SE 106th and Reedway St., but the timetable is unknown.
“I think our goal is to open them all before the end of the year, so we’re looking at some time in the fall,” Dornblasser said.
Littlefield, however, says the Safe Rest approach won’t put a dent in solving the homeless crisis.
“When people talk about or they say we have a housed problem, that is not the problem, ok. We have a behavior problem and the behavior comes from the drugs they’re taking and the mental illness. So unless we address those two issues, they’re going to destroy whatever housing they get,” he said.
Dornblasser says shelters will have a code of conduct. There will be criteria in place that if a villager is making it unsafe for other villagers, they won’t be able to stay there. That code of conduct, however, is unknown at this point.