[Posted Friday, March 11, 2022]
A letter to support the city's proposed Safe Rest Village at the Sears Armory was proposed at the March 1 meeting of the Hillsdale Neighborhood Association (HNA). HNA president Tatiana Lifshitz tabled the motion to allow proper notification of the membership before a vote.
According to HNA bylaws, an issue of "significant controversy" requires reading and debate at two separately-noticed meetings before a vote.
The motion regarding the letter was made by HNA vice-president Glenn Bridger. The proposed text follows:
Motion for Support of Safe Rest Village in Southwest Portland at Jerome Sears Site
The Hillsdale Neighborhood supports the installation of a Safe Rest Village proximate to our community at the former site of the Jerome Sears Army Reserve Center in adjacent Multnomah Neighborhood (MNA). We further support the development of Good Neighbor Agreements between those administering the Safe Rest Village and the MNA and other organizations that may feel an impact from this new use of the site. Open communications are key to inclusion of new neighbors into an ongoing community. We support the Multnomah Neighborhood Association’s equity policy as a community that is open, fair, welcoming, and safe. May we quickly become a single inclusive community.
Membership in the HNA is open to anyone over the age of 16 residing, owning property, attending school, employed at or operating a business in the Hillsdale neighborhood boundary. An application is required. For more information on membership, go to the HNA website. Meetings are currently held on Zoom, on the first Wednesday of each month.
Commissioner Dan Ryan has chosen the Sears Armory parking lot for one of six sites across the city to host Safe Rest Villages, clusters of up to 60 pre-fab shelters administered by contracted non-profit service providers. Each village will provide hygiene and cooking facilities as well as social services for residents as they transition into stable housing.
The topic has engendered much controversy in the Multnomah Village neighborhood, with vocal supporters as well as detractors. As Ryan's office has made clear that the decision to locate the shelter at this site is final, the Multnomah Neighborhood Association and other stakeholders such as the West Hills Christian School have begun to develop "good neighbor agreements" with the city.
Are Safe Rest Villages a valuable tool in getting people out of tents and into housing, or a futile attempt that doesn't match the proportions of Portland's homelessness problem? Let us know what you think.