Kenton residents approve new sleeping pod village for homeless women

(KPTV/Bonnie Silkman)

Portland's very first official village for homeless women was given the go-ahead Wednesday night, on International Women's Day.

A village made up of 14 tiny sleeping pods was the topic of discussion at a Kenton Neighborhood Association's meeting Wednesday night.

Mayor Ted Wheeler, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, community leaders and residents spoke about the installation of the village that would provide 14 homeless women with transitional housing.

"I feel it's nice that it's specifically focusing on the woman," said Kenton resident Cate Stoumen.

"I would, I mean, I’m wearing my all red for International Women's Day, I would be proud of that. I think it’s a start. It’s like triage, you want to protect these vulnerable populations," said resident Mason Goche.

Not everyone at Wednesday's meeting was sold on the idea.

"I do not want to see garbage, pallets left on the side of the highway, people who are not supposed to be there," said resident Marie Miles, who was undecided on the vote early in the evening. "I think I have to wait and listen. Right now, no. They may change my mind, hopefully, they can."

In the end, Kenton residents voted 178-75 to approve Portland's first village for homeless women.

The new village will set up in an empty lot off North Argyle Street for the one-year pilot project.

Catholic Charities, one of the partners in the project, will screen and select the 14 women who will move in, and each tenant will be assigned to a case manager.

Catholic Charities will also provide a property manager for the village, to make sure the area is clean and safe.

The pods are expected to be moved to Kenton in April.

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