PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – The Jupiter Hotel on Burnside is offering up all 81 rooms on its original, 1960s side so that Multnomah County can continue to implement social distancing among its homeless shelter populations.

“As we’ve always said at The Jupiter, all are welcome,” The Jupiter General Manager Nick Pearson said during a news conference Thursday.

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said people who don’t have homes are among the county’s most vulnerable people.

Kafoury issued an order last week that gave the county power to utilize hotels during the pandemic, but she said she hasn’t had to use that power yet because places like The Jupiter are stepping up.

“Throughout my life I’ve seen incredible things happen when people come together for a single purpose. This is one of those moments," Kafoury said.

Thursday’s announcement comes as the county’s two other temporary social distancing homeless shelters – the Charles Jordan Community Center and the Oregon Convention Center – reach capacity at 120 people each.

“The last 20 people are moving in from one of our couple shelters, so as of today both of those programs will be fully occupied,” Marc Jolin, director of the Joint Office of Homeless Services, said.

Jolin said the rooms at The Jupiter will be reserved for people who are already in shelters or involved in county programs, not for walk-ins or drop-offs. The people moving in are showing COVID-19 symptoms and need to be isolated from the rest of the shelter population as they await test results, Jolin explained.

Since the individual hotel rooms all have exterior doors and many have ground access, Jolin said they are perfect for recovering patients.

During the news conference, county officials said a dozen people had already been moved in.

“Here we have a full complement of staff on site 24 hours. There’s also a nurse on site who is doing the routine check-ins,” Jolin said.

Those staff members are made up of county employees with medical backgrounds, nonprofit staff members and others who have stepped up to volunteer, and the county is looking for more people to help.

“We need qualified medical staff and we need compassionate people with experience in social services to sign up for volunteer shifts or for temporary paid full-time work,” Kafoury said.

If you are interested, you can sign up for those positions by visiting this link.

Jupiter NEXT hotel, which is right across the street, is still open for regular business, Pearson said. In addition to its regular guests, Pearson said Jupiter NEXT is working with health care providers across Portland to house frontline medical workers who can't return home due to exposure risks.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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