Safe Rest Village near completion in North Portland

Published: May. 12, 2023 at 10:18 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - The City of Portland has announced that California-based non-profit Urban Alchemy has been chosen to run a Safe Rest Village in North Portland. The same California company is set to operate the first mass homeless campsite.

Off North Syracuse Street in the St. Johns neighborhood, the Safe Rest Village appears to be near completion. A large fence has been put around the property and pods have been put in place.

Just down the road, neighbors have mixed feelings – not so much about the Safe Rest Village, but the city’s lack of communication and it being enough to address the homeless crisis.

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“As far as it being next to my house, it doesn’t bother me at all,” said Taylor Shultz. “I am happy to see there is at least something, some effort made in housing being created for houseless folks, though it’s far from being enough.”

“On one hand it’s great they have the village set up and to move people into housing, but the city has not been engaging with neighbors at all on the process,” said Peter. “There hasn’t been a single olive branch so I think that’s been tough.”

On its website, Portland states, “Our team has been working with the community since the announcement of this site as a Safe Rest Village. We communicate regularly with neighbors and stakeholders.”

We asked several residents, none said the city had been speaking with them.

“It’s been tough,” said Peter. “You want community buy-in and there hasn’t been the chance for that.”

One resident who didn’t want to go on camera said most residents don’t have a problem with the Safe Rest Village, but don’t feel like the city is addressing homeless camps next to the Safe Rest Village on the Peninsula Crossing Trail.

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JeAnne Connett lives in a tent off the trail and says she was born and raised in St. Johns. She says no one from the city has approached her about potentially living in the Safe Rest Village and is open to the idea, but has concerns with how the city is addressing homelessness.

“Of course I will comply with whatever the city says,” said Connett. “I don’t know if there is hope or not. I hope there is. I pray there is.”