PORTLAND, Ore. -- A one-of-a-kind village for homeless women opened Saturday in North Portland’s Kenton neighborhood.
On Thursday, volunteers were busy making it ready for the 14 women who will call the community home.
Portland State University Architecture students helped design the area. It’s located in the 2000 block of North Argyle Street.
They, along with other Portland architecture firms, built and designed the pods. Each one is up to 96 square feet and can be easily moved using a forklift.
Nuria Gomez, a Kenton resident said she lives close to the village.
“I just felt really connected to the mission to create spaces for homeless people and in particular homeless women,” said Gomez.
Photos: Tiny house village in Kenton
PSU faculty member Todd Ferry is one of the project organizers.
“These pods were all designed by students from the Portland State University School of Architecture as well as a number of architecture firms around Portland,” said Ferry.
The idea is to bring together homeless people and architecture design, with input and the go-ahead from the neighborhood.
“There was a vote on March 8 and there was a decisive yes,” Ferry said.
The vote was 178-75 in favor of the village. Ferry gave KGW a tour of one of the pods.
“You enter in on a porch and in this space the students thought a lot about things like storage and to make something welcoming, how to bring in light but still provide privacy,” said Ferry.
From a desk area, to places to hang clothes, to a bookshelf, the intent is to make it feel homey inside the pods, and at the same time facilitate community outside.
Ferry said his students got input from people living at Hazelnut Grove, another houseless community in the Overlook Neighborhood. Most of the residents there are now living in tiny homes.
“I'm really happy that this is happening in my neighborhood and to me it really helps me feel connected to the neighborhood,” said Gomez.
The Kenton Women’s Village is a one-year pilot project. After that, it will have to be decided whether the pods stay or go elsewhere.
As for the 14 women, most of them are from North Portland. They will have access to kitchen and bathroom facilities located inside shipping containers on site.
Ferry said many of the materials have been donated. But organizers still need other essentials donated.