The Portland Housing Bureau is seeking an almost $450,000 infusion into an already-record budget, in order to pay for a temporary homeless shelter for a year and a half.
The $447,285 request comes as part of the city's twice-annual budget monitoring process (known as the BMP or "bump"), a time when the city takes stock of its finances and rejiggers its budget accordingly. It's an opportunity for bureaus to clamor for whatever scraps are available for desired programs, and reliably results in far more requests than there is available cash.
The PHB's Terminal 1 request isn't the largest it's making this bump, but it offers new insight into how much public funding might be involved in the controversial proposed shelter. Portland developers Homer Williams and Dike Dame have led the push for the site, and have pledged to pay operating costs through donations from private entities. But the housing bureau's on the hook to lease the space, and and has been working with the Bureau of Environmental Services, which owns the land, to craft an agreement for the 96,000-square-foot warehouse at Terminal 1.
The housing bureau has vowed to pay market rate for the space, after a Portland attorney sued over the deal, but there's no indication what that number is at this point. Commissioner Nick Fish's office has touted an appraisal that suggests market rate for the warehouse could be up to $33,600 per month.
The money the PHB is asking for has actually already been given to the bureau. It was part of the funds allocated when the city declared a housing state of emergency in October 2015. The housing bureau forewent the money in last year's budget, opting to bank it for later.
"This package requests unspent State of Emergency Ordinance funding be carried forward to cover the lease and unanticipated costs of the Terminal One property," the bureau's budget request reads. " It is envisioned that the property will be used as a temporary homeless shelter for an 18 month period through a series of 3 six-month leases."
The request is one of several notable bump asks we've seen. A couple others of note:
•Portland Parks & Recreation wants $241,500 to pay for an extra ranger to patrol the Springwater Corridor path, which is currently being swept of long-time homeless campers, and which the city (quixotically) vows will remain free of camping going forward.
•The Office of Management and Finance, which has played a stepped-up role in grappling with homelessness under Mayor Charlie Hales, wants $202,635 to bolster its ability to sweep sites. It's especially concerned about the "remote" sites that are probably more likely now that hundreds of people have been pushed from the Springwater.
"The standard turnaround time for a Coordinated Campsite Cleanup is roughly 3-4 weeks," the OMF request reads. "Without the ability to rapidly respond, these camps accumulate garbage, generate complaints, damage environmentally sensitive areas and vegetation, and decrease neighborhood livability."
•The Portland Police Bureau, grappling with a staffing crisis officials are trying to stem, is seeking clearance to hire eight new employees, including three background investigators to speed hiring officers.
As of Thursday, the City Budget Office hadn't tallied the dollar total of bureaus' collective requests, Director Andrew Scott said. Scott says he'll inform Portland City Council how much money is up for grabs in the bump on Monday.