PORTLAND, Ore. -- Possible crime and poor communication with neighbors were among the issues that Kenton Women’s Village managers promised to improve at a North Portland meeting Monday night.
“I think one of the problems here was it took too long for this meeting to occur,” said Tyler Roppe, Chair of the Kenton Neighborhood Association.
Roppe was among the majority of neighbors who supported bringing the women’s village, a pod of 14 tiny homes, to Kenton last spring. The one-year pilot project was designed to help women transition out of homelessness and into permanent housing.
But last week a complaint and video reached Roppe, showing what some believed was illegal activity near the women's village.
“It looked sort of suspicious,” said Roppe, "it definitely was alarming."
Catholic Charities, which helps run Kenton Women's Village, had police look at the video. Executive director Richard Birkel said he wanted to give the village the benefit of the doubt.
“The video doesn't show any crime,” said Birkel. “It was a video of someone standing at a fence. I think it's atrocious that we would assume that that's a drug deal.”
The allegation, plus concern over outside campers setting up near the village, was frustrating to some neighbors.
Birkel said Catholic Charities was working with the city to define their rights to exclude outsiders from the village. In a statement Monday, Catholic Charities claimed the city attorney had told them they could not evict lawbreakers.
“The community very clearly said of [Kenton Women’s Village], ‘We want to know everything about what's going on there,’” said Birkel. “We'll do a better job of communicating that.”
“There's definitely a lot of positive news coming out of this meeting," Roppe said. "And in some cases we already have solutions in place.”