Neighborhood group rescinds support of Naito Safe Rest Village

Published: May. 6, 2022 at 6:49 PM PDT
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Portland Ore (KPTV) - A neighborhood group in Southwest Portland is withdrawing its support for a so-called “Safe Rest Village” on SW Naito Parkway.

The small village of about 40 tiny homes is slated to be the new home of the Queer Affinity Village, which was a temporary shelter set up for members of the city’s LGBTQIA+ community experiencing homelessness.

The group of neighbors, who call themselves the 2300 SW Naito Stakeholder Group, said they are rescinding their support for the village because the city and county have told them they will not be requiring background checks for violent crimes and sex crimes.  Neighbors also want a 1,000 foot buffer zone around the village that’s free of camping and drug-related activity.

“Our big concerns is as we have seen with other safe rest villages and C3PO sites throughout the city that it will attract additional peripheral camping, drug use, predatory drug dealing, and a buildup of biohazard and trash without support,” said Beven Byrnes, Executive Director of Bridges Middle School, a nonprofit private school next to the village site that serves students with learning differences.

Asked to comment on the neighborhood group’s decision, Commissioner Dan Ryan, who has spearheaded the building of safe rest villages across the city, said “I am disappointed that the 2300 SW Naito Stakeholder Group chose to retract their support of the Queer Affinity Village, and that they chose to do so in a public forum.”

Ryan also pointed out that he has met with the stakeholder group several times, and the he and Mayor Ted Wheeler already announced a rule that prohibits camping within 150 feet of a safe rest village.

Ryan also said he rejects the notion that safe rest villages will attract predatory drug dealers, and said he is happy to meet with the stakeholder group again.