Portland’s Jupiter Hotel Will Host Homeless People During the COVID-19 Quarantine

Emptied of tourists, the hotel does its part to keep the city’s most vulnerable safe during the crisis.

It's among the hippest spots to stay in Portland, but now the Jupiter Hotel will host the most vulnerable people in the city.

All 81 of the rooms at the original Jupiter will host homeless people who are sick and have respiratory symptoms but have not tested positive for the coronavirus, says an official with the city-county Joint Office of Homeless Services.

Jupiter Next, a separate hotel on Southeast 9th Avenue and Burnside Street, will remain open to traditional hotel guests.

The Jupiter, adjacent to the restaurant, bar and music venue Doug Fir Lounge, is a renovated midcentury motel that has long hosted touring bands and other young, hip tourists who often attend shows, then socialize in rooms or around the courtyard fire pit. The hotel has had to lay off three-quarters of its employees as tourism has disappeared while people stay home instead of traveling, the Portland Business Journal reports.

The hotel will receive a fraction of its usual room rate from the county, officials say.

"Slowing the spread of this virus has to be our highest priority, and I'm proud the Jupiter is standing with us," says Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. "The county and its government partners worked tirelessly and quickly to convert public spaces into shelters for our most vulnerable community members. But we can't do this work alone. This is what it looks like when a community comes together."

"Hotel occupancy rates were plunging, and we had an underutilized asset, and the county had an oversized need," says Nick Pearson, the Jupiter Hotel's general manager. "Working together seemed like a no-brainer. The community is our shareholders."

The joint office has already opened new shelter space at the Charles Jordan Community Center and the Oregon Convention Center. It will, as soon as Friday, open the East Portland Community Center as a women-only shelter.

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