By Opening RV Park, Seattle Goes Where Portland Won’t

Portland Commissioner Dan Ryan declined to spend $1.5 million to rehab a gravel lot offered by Metro, saying it would be a fiscally irresponsible move.

Two months ago, three Portland-area officials up for reelection in the May primary convened an “emergency meeting” to discuss using a portion of the Metro-owned Expo Center as a “safe parking” site for houseless Portlanders living in RVs or cars. They revived a year of discussions between the city and the regional planning agency Metro.

Since that meeting, no progress has been made and discussions appear nonexistent.

Last year, City Commissioner Dan Ryan declined to spend $1.5 million to rehab a gravel lot offered by Metro, saying it would be a fiscally irresponsible move.

But it’s one that another Pacific Northwest city has decided is prudent: On June 21, The Seattle Times reported that the Seattle City Council had approved $1.9 million toward development of an RV park. “I am down to do whatever is in our power as a city to expedite the timeline,” Seattle City Councilman Andrew Lewis said, according to the Times.

Metro spokesman Nick Christensen says, “We have no update to the discussions over safe park.”