Shelter Approved Despite Objections
Multnomah County is moving forward on a controversial 120-bed shelter at SE 61st and Foster.
Ignoring pleas of neighbors concerned about proximity to schools and childcare, County Commissioners voted to lease the space and develop the shelter as part of its strategy to shift beds from temporary spaces.
The 14,000 square foot shelter will serve women and couples, prioritizing veterans, those with disabilities and people 55 and older. It’s expected to open in early 2019.
The move is estimated to cost significantly more than anticipated – $3 million vs. the $2 million original estimate. County officials blame rising construction costs. Amenities have been added to improve sleeping, cooking and recreational areas.
The County claims the location was the best option available since other sites needed too much work or were too far from amenities.
“This is an expensive investment,” Chair Deborah Kafoury admitted in a press release. “But it’s a lot more expensive to have people sleeping out on the streets. This is the right thing to do.”
Update with URL Correction
The westside’s Multnomah Neighborhood Association (MNA) continues its legal challenge to the Residential Infill Project (RIP).
Five of its appeals have already been denied by the state’s builder-influenced Land Conservation and Development Commission.
“Our lawyer is still working on the legal analysis to give us best options moving forward,” says spokesman James Peterson. “Our main focus is the Middle Housing Appeal which would stop the implementation of the A Overlay in the Residential Infill Project citywide which is rezoning 87,000 single family zoned properties to multifamily.”
Critics hold that RIP would tear up affordable, single family homes to make way for multi-unit housing that is unaffordable and out of character with existing neighborhoods.
MNA is accepting donations from both sides of the river. Eastsiders wonder whether they should contribute to the legal challenge.
Southeast RIP critic Michael Molinaro says the MNA initiative is well-organized and may be the best hope for citizens concerned about stopping RIP. Molinaro is part of the SAC 7, members of a RIP stakeholder’s advisory committee that took a position against much of the plan.
Readers of last month’s RIP article asked The Southeast Examiner to reprint the correct online contact info: swni.org/multnomah