City Commissioner Dan Ryan today announced four additional potential locations for safe rest villages—a project he’s been working on for close to a year now, in which he seeks to provide 40 to 60 sleeping pods per site with basic hygiene services, communal kitchen and living spaces and case management.
Today’s additions bring the number of announced village locations to seven, including one safe parking village.
The locations announced today are:
1. Old Town Village: A privately owned plot of paved land near Union Station in Old Town in Northwest Portland.
2. Sunderland North Village: 9827 NE Sunderland Avenue, along 33rd Drive. Owned by the Portland Bureau of Transportation. The city plans to make this a safe parking site.
3. Southeast Reedway Village: 10600 block of Southeast Reedway Street. This site had contaminated soil back in 2017, but Chariti Montez, program manager of the village project, says the dirt was “removed and taken care of at the time.”
4. Peninsula Crossing Village: 6631 N Syracuse St. in North Portland. The plot of land is zoned as residential. The homeless population has greatly expanded along the Peninsula Crossing Trail over the past several years. The property, adjacent to the trail campsites, currently holds the Belmont Goats.
On Feb. 23, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler signed an emergency order that gives him authority over all four of the proposed locations Ryan listed today, and made Ryan the designee to expedite the siting and development process of the villages.
Ryan explained that the declaration makes it easier for the project to move forward with both siting and building them more quickly. The declaration, village project manager Chariti Montez says, “consolidates and coordinates the procurement and permitting processes so they can be expedited” but added that “permits are still permits.”
Ryan called the new sites “ground zero” locations where homeless camps and tents have proliferated.
He pledged all the villages would open sometime in 2022.
Prior to today, three village locations appeared solid (though no permits have yet been obtained by the city’s bureaus to start construction): A portion of the Menlo Park Park & Ride in Southeast Portland, a lot along Southwest Naito Parkway, and the former Jerome F. Sears Army Reserve Center in the Multnomah neighborhood.
Nonprofit All Good Northwest will continue to run the relocated Queer Affinity Village, which will move to the Naito site when it’s built out. Helping Hands, the nonprofit that runs the Bybee Lakes Hope Center at the former Wapato Jail, will manage the Sears site. Cultivate Initiatives, a housing nonprofit that operates primarily in East Portland, will run the Menlo Park site.
Operators for the four new locations were not shared by Ryan’s office.
Earlier this month, Ryan’s office told WW that his office had released a request for proposals to solicit pod providers.
“I’ll take what I can get,” Ryan said about the mayor’s declaration. “Having this agency to move forward with more opportunity and expedite the process is very refreshing and I’m grateful we’re here today.”