Moving day is yet again looming for the beloved Belmont Goats, and the nonprofit that oversees Portland's resident ruminants is now asking for a little help with the transition.
"I know people may wonder, 'Isn't this the third time in a year they've moved?'" says Bix Frankonis, project manager of the Belmont Goats. "But this is the same move. Deals in the past have fallen through and we keep reaching out."
The relocation of 14 goats (and one hen) was always part of the plan. Their current pasture, near Lents Town Center off Southeast 92nd Avenue, is destined for development, so it's onto a new plot of land in North Portland's University Park area. The 3/4-acre parcel is in a residential area surrounded by trees, making it more of a quiet respite compared to their previous homes in urban, partly industrial neighborhoods.
"It's like the Grotto," Frankonis says of the new location, "but goats instead of God."
Before they arrived in Lents in 2014, the herd puttered around a vacant lot in Buckman for two years when they garnered their gang name due to their brush-clearing proximity to Belmont Street. This next move will be similar to the first in terms of challenges, the biggest of which will be fencing. Organizers have launched a campaign on GoFundMe, with an initial goal of $15,000 covering fence material and labor.
The timeline to actually relocate the animals is dependent on the first payout, scheduled for Oct. 25. Work to prepare the site would follow along with the move sometime in November, if all goes according to plan.
"The goats will still be accessible," says Frankonis, noting the space is along two bus lines. "We'll still have visiting hours."
All of the news surrounding the great goat relocation project has inevitably led to Twitter trolls. Frankonis says he can deal with jokes about moving the herd to a different country, but lately comments about eating the animals have "gone off the rails."
"I would get really incensed if someone looked at my two house cats and said 'Mmmm,'" Frankonis says, adding the goats are treated as pets and work as therapy animals. "It seems rude and insulting to us."