PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The City of Portland on Friday released a list of city-owned properties that may be developed into villages for those experiencing homelessness.
The Portland City Council passed the Shelter to Housing Continuum in April. The ordinance changed the zoning codes to pave the way for the construction of so-called “safe rest villages.” City Council instructed city bureaus to identify city-owned properties that could be used for these outdoor homeless villages.
Among the dozens of potential sites is the Kenton Community Garden, the St. Johns Community Garden, two areas next to the Moda Center, a site directly to the east of Kelly Butte Natural Area, a site near Union Station and the Old Firehouse Theatre in North Portland.
“It does provide a humanitarian response to meet our houselessness neighbors where we are,” said Commissioner Dan Ryan at a meeting held in late June. “It is time for us to build more and serve more as we meet our houseless neighbors where they are.”
While discussing his vision for the safe rest villages, Ryan shared an example of why the issue hits close to home.
“My own brother after many failed attempts by family to help could not find a point of entry for him to receive services,” he said. “Tim perished in a public restroom with a bus pass, the clothes on his back and a bottle of vodka in November of 2013. What if he could have entered a village and agreed to meet with caring professionals to guide him to behavioral and mental health services?”
Commissioner Ryan’s office said the city will be hiring staff to lead siting and community engagement with impacted neighborhoods. His office stressed that every location will need to be evaluated by city specialists to determine whether a site has adequate square footage, access to transit, utility hookups and its environmental impact. Just because a location is on this preliminary list of possible sites does not mean a safe rest village will be built there.
The next phase is for a City of Portland and Multnomah County workgroup to evaluate the proposed sites to consider factors such as square footage, access to transit, utility hookups and environmental impact.
Full list below:
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