Is Multnomah County's Infamous Wapato Jail for Sale?

County officials say they're evaluating two offers to buy the never-used jail that's been proposed as a homeless shelter.

Multnomah County officials say they're evaluating two offers from undisclosed buyers to purchase the never-used Wapato jail.

As the county and city look to find ways to house its homeless population, the jail, located in St. Johns, has repeatedly been proposed as a shelter.

County officials held a hearing Thursday to lay out the costs of opening the unused jail.

Currently a majority of the commissioners are opposed to the proposal, OPB reported Thursday. County Commissioner Loretta Smith has pushed the county to consider opening the jail as a shelter while County Chair Deborah Kafoury and homeless advocates have lined up against it.

But there are apparently other options for the jail.

A June 2016 appraisal set the value for the never-used jail at $8 million for industrial uses and $20 million as a jail, even though the cost of construction was $58 million, county officials said.

"The county has received interest in Wapato from several parties," says county spokeswoman Julie Sullivan-Springhetti. "There is an evaluation process each proposal goes through and two proposals are currently being evaluated. Details are confidential."

In 2014, the county issued a formal request for interest to find a purchaser or use for Wapato, but ultimately the jail sat unused. The commissioner have yet to formally issue another request for proposals, and the sale would require a majority vote of the commissioners.

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