The Portland Medium
The city of Portland has proposed a new homeless shelter village northeast of downtown. Plans show that it would be nestled in an area already home to several other low-income neighborhoods.
The site, along Northeast 42nd Avenue just north of Killingsworth Street in Portland, is a tiny homes development that will soon have 60 homes. The property was formerly a middle school that was closed down in 2007 after reports of the school being moldy with radon gas.
Portland Public Schools owns the property and has not granted permission. They are also weighing other potential uses as well. The safe rest villages, including one near downtown and another at a TriMet park-and-ride in outer east Portland, will be home to tiny homes with locking doors. These shelters can hold up two people as well as pets!
The new development will include shared kitchens, restrooms with showers, and garbage disposal facilities with recycling capabilities. The shelters also offer case management services that can help residents deal with mental health or addiction issues as well as providing them housing assistance when needed – all at no cost. Other amenities may include raised garden beds for planting vegetables in the summertime and a mini library.
Fences with a controlled entry point would provide safety and privacy for those living in the village. These fences have been designed to be safe for residents inside seeking to venture out but also protect against danger outside the immediate area.
For Blacks, it is a dire need but not more important than permanent affordable homes and job security. City leaders say the villages are designed as temporary homes until the city can provide enough affordable, permanent housing for those in need. They will be manned 24-7 with a village manager on site.
The proposal notes that the team managing the safe rest villages project has support from Portland Commissioner Carmen Rubio. She along with Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty are the only two people of color on the commission. Rubio is responsible for the Parks & Recreation Bureau.
On May 19, 2020, voters passed the HereTogether-Metro homeless services measure. It united service providers (business leaders, government officials, leaders from communities of color, and community advocates) to create a region-wide response to homelessness that targets the roots of the problem. They looked at proven solutions in their approach to affordable homes, combined with flexible, wraparound services.