City of Portland proposes Safe Rest Village RV site to address houselessness

Published: May. 8, 2022 at 10:20 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - With the first of six Safe Rest Villages in Portland set to open at the end of this month, city officials are looking to continue addressing the houseless crisis by looking to open a Safe Rest site for those living in RVs and their vehicles.

According to Commissioner Hardesty, the city is looking to open a Safe Rest parking site at Sunderland Yards in North Portland later this year. This site would be the first RV Safe Park location.

According to the city, “RV Safe Park Village, a temporary outdoor shelter, with case management, amenities, and mental and behavioral health services on-site for those living in RVs.”

The site, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, will be staffed 24/7 according to the city. Each person living on the site will use their own RV as their sleeping space, with the village providing shared amenities including showers, restrooms, laundry, kitchenette, and community spaces. The city says the village would also provide at least one meal a day. Up to 60 RVs will be allowed on the site.

Other than a shelter, the city said the site will be “operating as a trauma-informed environment, the village will have on-site case management, peer support, and qualified mental health professionals, providing wrap-around services to address the trauma of houselessness, treatment for unmet mental health needs, substance use disorders, and to prepare villagers to achieve their goals, to find permanent supportive housing, or to enter recovery, among other options. The specifics beyond that will be determined by the shelter operator and the needs of villagers among others”.

“Good,” said Glen Aus in response to the news. “Because the city is taking responsibility to help these people, whether they move on or not, but they’re not being helped with what’s happening now with them just sitting in the street.”

Aus is a homeowner in Southeast Portland. His house is right down the road from where several RVs have been sitting.

“I look at these people and I see people who have given up on the system,” said Aus. “The city is partly responsible, greed is partly responsible, maybe they can’t pay rent so they at least have somewhere to live. It’s not just their fault. It’s city-wide, it’s country-wide.”

He hopes this is just the beginning of addressing the houselessness in the city.

“It’s a good start, but it ultimately comes down to the people living on the streets in the first place,” said Aus. “There are so many variables, but you really can’t turn a blind eye to it.”

Up in North Portland, Dustin Monson lives in his car just down the road from Sunderland Yards, the proposed site. He agrees there should be a place for those living in their RVs and vehicles to go, but wants the city to be able to maintain the site.

“I believe they need to get them into the place so they are not alongside the road causing road hazards, taking over the bike lanes,” said Monson. “Maybe the city can take over an old trailer park, put all the trailers in there because they already have all the plumbing. They already have the pump out tanks. They already got power ran to them, most have shower facilities. You might have to fix them up a little bit, but they are going to have to spend a lot of money down there to fix this place up.”

FOX 12 is told the Safe Rest Parking site at Sunderland Yards is expected to open towards the end of the summer.