On Thursday, May 18, in North Portland, the Peninsula Crossing Safe Rest Village was revealed to various reactions. The city claims it has sixty tiny cottages to help the homeless find safety and permanent accommodation. It can be found between North Syracuse and North Macrum on the Peninsula Crossing Trail.
Urban Alchemy, a non-profit in California collaborating with the city of Portland to manage up to six legal camping areas or safe rest villages, is in charge of the new site. On Thursday, May 18, Commissioner Dan Ryan, who is in charge of Portland’s safe rest villages, invited the media and nearby residents to tour the new facility.
You can see a tweet of the above information-
“This humanitarian crisis has been very uncomfortable for a lot of people,” Ryan added. “I think that today there’s hope.” Portland has given Urban Alchemy $50 million to use as it sees fit for the upkeep and staffing of these facilities.
Urban Alchemy’s approach is to hire formerly convicted or homeless persons to give them a second opportunity and assist their residents to feel more comfortable; most of their Portland workers are reportedly found through local parole agencies and sheriff’s offices.
Jeffers Dickey, who will be in charge of all Urban Alchemy operations in Portland, said, “What we’ve generally found is that people with those kind of experiences are able to support the homeless communities in ways that others might not be able to.”
George Siebert, a nearby resident who has lived in the same house for decades, was one of the invited guests on Thursday. He and his wife have been complaining about the site’s construction because they can hear toilets flushing from their bedroom.
“Five feet from our property, they are allowed to put a structure. This is city code, and it applies anywhere, any kind of structure,” said Sibert gesturing toward the bathrooms through his living room window. “So this is what I look at now.”
According to the city’s safe rest villages program staff, the Peninsula Crossing Village’s bathrooms were strategically located near Siebert’s home near water lines and other facilities. Because the land is leased from the Portland Housing Bureau until June 2025, with future plans to create affordable housing units on the site, the staff has stated that the bathrooms and the village as a whole are transitory.
While fielding questions from the media, Commissioner Dan Ryan addressed George Siebert’s concerns regarding the locker rooms head-on. As Ryan made his speech, Siebert and several anxious neighbors joined TV crews.
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“Know that for right now, that’s where they’re located, and I hope they will be as quiet as they’ve been at the other sites, and we’ll be in communication with you,” said Ryan. “And like I said earlier, we have to get moving,” Seibert says for the time being. All he can do is wait for the Urban Alchemy team to keep in touch with him and address his concerns as they arise.
“They made kind of an effort to introduce themselves, a couple of the people, and they were very polite,” said Siebert. “We will see when things get rolling. We’ll find out how things are going. But right now, we don’t know.”
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