County Comissioner Loretta Smith Wants to Turn Isolated Jail into Homeless Shelter


60+ million and some people wonder where the money is.
Medical facilities, commercial grade kitchen, and a lawn that is still mowed.
Come on, Portland!

So the homeless themselves would prefer to remain unsheltered, rather than have the opportunity for beds, showers, etc., at this facility just because it's not close to service providers? Do service providers not have any vehicles with which to drive themselves to Wapato a couple times a week? Presumably a jail facility has offices for the correctional officers - why can't those be administrative offices?

It's not an ideal solution, but nothing is an ideal solution. Given that elected officials continuously refer to this as a "crisis," it seems ridiculous to not use this resource we already have, especially since any new shelter location proposed is going to run into rampant NIMBY opposition.
The inverness jail seems less isolated, what if they moved the jail function from inverness to wapato and set up the shelter at inverness?
Flavio is on point. Personally, my main concern is that the proximity to the sensitive wetlands of Smith/Bybee would mean more ecological destruction of the sort seen on Springwater, 205 MUP, Sullivan's Gulch, the eastern parts of the Slough, etc. etc. etc.
Gee, if only Loretta Smith was in a decisionmaking position where she could have had an impact on how the County uses its surplus property.
Wapato is not any further than other homeless facilities the county has placed recently in terms of distance travel time to/from downtown. The #11 bus line goes right by Wapato to the Yellow Line MAX station at the Expo Center and from the MAX to downtown it's less than 30 minutes. It is disingenuous to assess the transit access by assuming the most circuitous route which most people wouldn't take.

With a simple addition of shuttle routes to the MAX station (again about ~10 minutes away) and a slight re-route of the #11 bus, Wapato would be fully accessible for transit and well within the ranges of Hanson et. al. buildings the county recently converted (out in The Numbers) in terms of distance to downtown.

The county and city has taken on risky sites and poor condition buildings but apparently this building, which appears to be in good condition, is "too difficult" for them. Even on a per-person cost, Wapato is entirely viable. The county has spent money on retrofitting sites that aren't even permanent. Wapato conversion would represent a long-term investment. Apparently they think it's better to put people in dirty and dilapidated facilities than one that has major potential to cut in half our literally homeless population in just one move.

If we're generally in an emergency basis, the county needs to act like it. Wapato is an emergency move. Is the facility the best spot possible in the county? No, but there's pros and cons of any site that's been pursued so far and this shouldn't be a deterrent from advancing its use.

At the end of the day, the county / city doesn't have any other trick up their sleeves. They are feckless and leaderless, with the exception of Loretta as it appears from her continued support. To be AGAINST Wapato is to be FOR people sleeping outside -- and the county commission doesn't have any clear or viable solution outside of Wapato.

How's that for compassionate leadership?

Glad to see the rest of the commissioners are NOT on board with this wacko idea. Not only is this incredibly far from services and community, a lot of houseless folks have a less-than-great relationship with jails, and it's likely many WOULD rather sleep on the streets than a prison-turned-shelter.. I really think a shelter at Wapato would fail because most folks won't want to make the trek up there.
@ERN - it can only house about 1,000 people. You don't think there are 1,000 currently homeless people who wouldn't fucking LOVE a bed, toilet, shower, and some personal safety rather than continue to live on the street in a tent or less? And there's no reason service providers can't travel on-site, or provide a semi-daily shuttle option to services for folks who need/want them. Should the city instead buy another strip club only to see the fucking roof collapse? What is your better solution to get 1,000 people shelter in the short term?
The reason services are downtown is because many years ago nobody gave a crap about downtown and so the vagrants and their services were allowed to congregate there. Now Downtown-Old Town-Chinatown are becoming desirable and being developed. The vagrants will be pushed out, most likely after all sorts of wailing and thrashing around, but they will be pushed out. The city could get ahead of the curve and put services at Wapato, but that would be thinking ahead.
There will always be homeless, there is no solution. Their numbers should be minimized by helping those who would be helped and keeping the others from fouling functioning neighborhoods. Wapato is perfect.
Also with recent court rulings cities need to provide adequate beds before they can vigorously enforce anti squatting laws. Wapato would fulfill this requirement and then the city could start cleaning up the streets.
Planning or thrashing, you guess which will happen.