PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Many people are not happy after finding out a shelter for nearly 200 homeless people will open in Northeast Portland.
At a public meeting on July 7, neighbors came to express their frustrations at the city and county leaders behind the Hansen building becoming a temporary shelter.
“You have no right to bring something like this in to our neighborhood without at least asking us first,” one man yelled during the meeting. “We pay the taxes here!”
It was standing room only at the Hansen building on SE 122nd and Glisan. According Multnomah County chair Deborah Kafoury, the shelter is meant to be in use for 12-18 months.
“When you elected me as your county chair, I ran on a position of getting people off the streets,” Kafoury said.
A lot of people said they had no warning that this was happening, and they have no way of knowing who’s coming and going in their neighborhood.
People are also concerned about the safety of the building.
“They’re telling us that it’s a fire hazard to have anymore people in there,” Stacy Lining, who lives near the Hansen building, said.
Despite the loud voices in protest, not everyone is against the shelter.
“I hear a lot of frustration and anger and people worried about people coming in to our neighborhood but we go to our parks and we see them. They’re here already,” said Todd Hesse, who supports the shelter.
Billy Wilmath, who is currently staying at another Portland shelter, wants to calm people’s fears.
“It’s not going to be a bunch of rif-raf like everybody here says it is,” Wilmath said. “We’re not out here just to cause problems. It’s a place for us to live until we can find something better.”