Portland, OR August 22, 2001-- Dignity Village, the tented community for the homeless, must move from its current site on NW 17th and Savier in order to comply with City mandates. The community of 75 will move to an undisclosed location near downtown Portland by midnight, August 31. Although Dignity Village has been in talks with the City since June, a City-approved site still has not been located.
Representatives from Commissioner Erik Sten's office, the Bureau of Housing and Community Development, and Dignity Village are negotiating towards a common goal of creating a pilot project. The pilot project would allow Dignity Village to lease a parcel of public land for a year, in exchange for in-kind services rendered to the City. The proposal will be heard by the City Council on August 30, at two (2) pm, where they will decide whether or not to continue working with Dignity Village to implement this project.
City staff have indicated that it is unlikely that a specific site will be identified in time to be included in the proposal. Even if a site were identified, there is not sufficient time before September first for City attorneys to prepare a lease agreement. Because of this, Council action is expected to be focused solely on whether to support Commissioner Erik Sten's office in its ongoing negotiations with Dignity Village. As the Village prepares to honor its agreement to the City by moving, it hopes the City will follow through on its stated intention in June to find a site and sign a lease agreement.
The lack of a City-sanctioned site leaves Dignity Village potentially subject to a police sweep at its next location. Dignity Village is seeking, but has not received, assurance from the City that this will not happen.
About Dignity Village: Dignity Village, Portland's tented community, was founded in December of 2000 and is today home to approximately 70 people. Currently on its fifth site, it is located on NW 17th Ave. between Raleigh and Savier Streets, under the Fremont Bridge. Their mission is to create a safe, clean, substance-free alternative for those who are currently seeking shelter but are unable to find it. Donations to Dignity Village can be written to Street Roots/Out of the Doorways, 1205 SW Morrison, Portland, OR 97205. For more info contact: John Hubbird (503) 295-7747 or Layla Iranshad (503) 528-9895.