PORTLAND, Ore. – New dry storage containers have opened for the city’s homeless to leave their belongings during the day.
The containers were supposed to open in October, as part of the mayor’s response to Portland’s homeless emergency declaration.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Charlie Hales told KGW on Tuesday there were several delays with building and delivery. There was also a large homeless camp in the area near the west end of the Steel Bridge that had to be cleared.
Now that the Steel Bridge container is in place, Central City Concern’s Clean Start Program will run it and they expect it will catch on.
The container at the Steel Bridge is open from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. for drop off, and 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. for pickup.
Another container at the city-sanctioned Hazelnut Grove Camp on North Greeley will be run by camp leaders there.
The containers have lights and shelf space, with room for the belongings of 40 or 50 people. There is also room for shopping carts.
“This gives people the opportunity to store their belongings safely during the day and go look for a job, go to a job interview, and take care of other business they have to take care of,” said Jay McIntyre, program manager for Central City Concern.
While the containers are locked up most of the time, there is a sharps deposit spot to dispose of hypodermic needles anytime. They also have two portable toilets that are available around the clock, so homeless people can more easily take care of themselves and the area around them.
KGW asked if more homeless shelter sites will open soon. The mayor's spokeswoman said the city has a couple of deals that they hope to announce in the near future.