PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland City Commissioner Dan Ryan has announced four new Safe Rest Village locations, completing the set of six sites that need to be assembled for the program, although he did not announce a firm opening date for any of them.
The sites are envisioned as organized camps for homeless residents, run by nonprofits and offering individual shelters and access to support and services. Ryan described them as "onramps to housing."
The city council passed a plan to create the sites last spring and dedicated $20 million in federal COVID aid to fund the project. Ryan initially set a goal of opening all six sites by the end of 2021, but later pushed the time frame back to early 2022 and on Thursday simply said the sites "will be open in 2022."
The four new sites are:
- Peninsula Crossing Village at 6631 N Syracuse St in North Portland near the St Johns neighborhood
- Sunderland North Village at 9827 NE Sunderland Ave in Northeast Portland, which Ryan said is also intended to function as a Safe Park location
- NW Naito Village in downtown Portland, on the east side of Portland Union Station to the north of the Broadway Bridge
- SE Reedway Village at the 106th block of Southeast Reedway Street in the Lents neighborhood of Southeast Portland
Two more sites have been previously announced:
- A Trimet-owned lot, known as the “Menlo Park & Ride”, on the southeast corner of SE 122nd Avenue and East Burnside Street in East Portland
- The former SFC Jerome F. Sears Army Reserve Center on Southwest Multnomah Boulevard in Southwest Portland, which has been used as an emergency shelter in the past
Each of the six sites is envisioned to serve a maximum of 60 people at a time, Ryan said on Thursday, with each resident projected to be on the site for about six to nine months.
The sites were chosen to try to put them in areas where there are large existing populations of people living in unsheltered conditions, he said. The city is currently soliciting bids from vendors for the physical shelter units at the sites, according to project leader Chariti Montez.
Ryan also announced on Thursday that Mayor Ted Wheeler has signed an emergency declaration aimed at speeding up the permitting process and other remaining internal hurtles that the program needs to clear before the sites can get up and running.
A third village site was previously announced along with the first two at a city-owned lot on the 2300 block of SW Naito Parkway in downtown Portland, but Ryan’s office announced earlier this month that the site will instead become a new home for the Queer Affinity (QA) Village, one of the city’s existing “C3PO” sanctioned camps, which Ryan’s office has also been working to relocate ahead of planned development projects.
The Safe Rest Villages are a separate program from the C3PO camps, and they’re also separate from a plan that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office floated earlier this month to open up to three 1,000-person homeless shelters. That idea drew sharp criticism from other elected officials.
The Oregonian reported last week that Wheeler was instead looking into creating at least one large outdoor sheltering site, which would reportedly be smaller than the 1,000-person shelters but still bigger than other campsites, and would provide some services but not as many as at the Safe Rest Villages.