City Council authorizes removing deed restriction at former Sears Armory, current property uses to continue

News Article
Portland City Council approved an emergency ordinance authorizing $3 million in ARPA funding for removal of the deed restriction at the Sears Armory site where the Multnomah Safe Rest Village is located.

Portland City Council yesterday approved an emergency ordinance to remove deed restrictions at the City’s 3.96-acre Sears Armory property in Multnomah Village, allowing more flexibility for current and future uses.

The property, former Jerome F. Sears Army Reserve Center, was conveyed to the City of Portland at no cost in 2012 as federal surplus property, and subject to a deed restriction requiring the site to be used primarily for providing emergency management services as defined by the U.S. Government.

A portion of the nearly four-acre site is currently being used for a Safe Rest Village, part of the City’s initiative to provide temporary managed outdoor shelters in response to the current houselessness crisis. The site has also served as a storage area for emergency response equipment used by the Bureau of Emergency Management and other city bureaus, and as a location for emergency response training and drills by Portland Police, city employees and community members.

The City of Portland and the United States General Services Administration (GSA) have been working together since last year when the GSA determined that the city’s uses for the site did not comply with the deed restriction.

The City of Portland owns the site and will pay $3 million for the removal of the deed restriction, which will support the City’s needs for possible short- and long-term uses of the site and allows the Multnomah Safe Rest Village to continue operations.

Funding for this transaction comes from the U.S. Government American Rescue Plan Act. The City of Portland received a total of $208 million from the American Rescue Plan and has spent money in three priority categories:

  • Houselessness Response and Household Stabilization
  • Small Business and Commercial District Stabilization
  • Community Health and Safety

Explore the City of Portland’s Rescue Plan investment progress.