Pitch to make Multnomah Co. Sheriff's east building a homeless s - KPTV - FOX 12

Pitch to make Multnomah Co. Sheriff's east building a homeless shelter causes controversy

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Neighbors near the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Hansen building have mixed feelings on a proposal to turn the facility into a homeless shelter.

County leaders will meet Tuesday to discuss the possibility of transforming the aging building on Northeast Glisan Street into either a transitional living facility or a homeless center. 

“I would rather have them in a safe building off the streets, out of the neighborhoods,” neighbor Barb Engelter said Monday, adding that squatters have in recent years moved in and out of nearby vacant homes, making her feel unsafe.

“You don’t know what their intentions are,” Engelter said. "You don’t know if they’re using drugs, if they’re buying drugs.”

But another neighbor, who teaches at the nearby Menlo Park Elementary, said she was disappointed to hear of the proposal. 

“This neighborhood doesn’t need another burden,” she said. “You can’t leave your kids out in the front yard with something like that. You have to be careful -- so yeah, I am concerned about that.” 

Multnomah County spokesman Dave Austin said the sheriff and county have expressed interest in moving sheriff’s employees out of the building for a decade. 

“It’s a long-suffering building,” Austin said. “There’s a huge list of problems.”

Austin specifically mentioned a bad roof and issues with leaking. 

County officials will explore whether it’s feasible to renovate the space and transform it into another community service, such as a homeless shelter. 

Eleven community leaders and stakeholders will attend Tuesday’s meeting held by County Chair Deborah Kafoury. Austin said the meeting is not open to the public.

Part of the proposal could be to move sheriff’s employees to the Portland Police Bureau’s former southeast precinct. The sheriff’s office plans on eventually building another facility somewhere on the county’s east side. 

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