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N. Portland Road Shelter

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An aerial image of the property at 10505 N. Portland Road where the City of Portland will develop an outdoor shelter.
A Temporary Alternative Shelter Site will be developed at 10505 N. Portland Road on vacant property owned by the City of Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services. The shelter will use about six of the property’s 22 acres.

This page was originally published 1.2.24. Updated 5.8.24 

In late 2023, Mayor Wheeler announced the next City of Portland Temporary Alternative Shelter Site (TASS) will be located at 10505 N. Portland Road. This site will include 90 tiny home pods and 70 parking spaces for individuals living in their RV/camper. Each spot is intended to be temporary, as all guests are expected to engage with on-site services that will connect them to more permanent housing situations. This shelter is designed to accommodate up to 200 people.

This will be the City’s 10th shelter location and managed by the City’s Shelter Services Team. The parcel is owned by the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services. 

Why does this site include parking for RVs?

According to the Joint Office for Homeless Services 2022 point in time count, approximately 20% of people living unsheltered identified as living in a vehicle of some sort. We know from our outreach work that many of these individuals were priced out of their homes or faced eviction and opted to live out of a vehicle as their last resort before unsheltered tent camping outside.

The total bed capacity across Portland’s system of emergency homeless shelters is around 3,500. Absent a shelter that can accommodate an RV, if someone who is sleeping in an RV needs shelter, they’re required to park their vehicle on the street, leaving their belongings behind at the risk of theft or towing. Furthermore, many of the RVs are old, broken down and not necessarily safe for human habitation, especially when parked on a residential street. 

As apparent from the dozens of dilapidated RVs parked along the industrial and residential streets in neighborhoods around the city, there is an urgent need for a space where folks can continue to sleep in their vehicle while storing it safely as they go to work or access services in the community.

This site, along with the existing Sunderland RV Safe Park, address a need not currently met by other programs in the homelessness service systems in Portland and serve a substantial subset of Portland’s homeless population.

Why was this location chosen?

A map with pinpoints showing the locations of 10 City of Portland shelters.

The City is working to choose shelter locations in different geographic areas in Portland. Between the currently operational Safe Rest Villages and Temporary Alternative Shelter Sites, there are three shelters in Southeast Portland, three shelters in North/Northeast Portland, two in Southwest Portland, and one in Northwest Portland. The City has surveyed more than 100 potential properties across Portland over the past two and a half years, each one with pros and cons for potential development as a temporary shelter. This site presented as a strong option for an RV shelter due to its size, availability for development, and ownership by the city.

I’ve heard there might be contamination on this land. What is the City doing about that?

This project does indeed fall into the category of a “brownfield development” — a practice that is routine and safe, as it is directed by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) protocols and guidance. Just as the site development and use of lands in the entire Pearl District in downtown Portland, which was all once the back lot of the train station, or the South Waterfront area's historic shipyard uses, when a brownfield is developed the city follows the direction of DEQ to ensure that all precautions and site preparations are made for new uses. Read more about Brownfield development here. 

To be clear, the City would not and will never shelter anyone on a site that wasn’t safe.

The City collected samples for testing to gain guidance from DEQ on how to mitigate any possible concerns of contaminants in the soil. In early 2024, minimal site preparation, which didn't disturb the soil, was completed, including the removal of barrels, trash, and more than 3,000 tires from the property. 

On April 30, 2024, DEQ hosted a public meeting to communicate data and decisions around the brownfield development effort at this site. The applicable reports, including a Contaminated Media Management Plan (CMMP), Risk Assessment, and Remedial Action Plan will all be posted to the DEQ website.

On May 2, 2024, the DEQ approved the CMMP, which guides how the City will safely develop the site while preventing human and environmental exposure. Therefore, the DEQ Project Manager notified the City that “Approval of the CMMP allows for earthwork and other ground-disturbing activities to begin.” 

The City will continue to follow all DEQ guidance and keep the state agency informed of site work to ensure proper caution and procedures are followed.

Who will manage the site?

Urban Alchemy, who currently manages three city-sanctioned shelter sites, will be the site operator.

The organization operates with a strong ethos of giving people a second chance, and their model is well-suited in providing services to this population because many of their staff have survived similar challenges. 

Urban Alchemy’s model involves a high staff to guest ratio (1:15) and includes care coordination managers who help individuals with addressing barriers, such things as enrolling in healthcare plans or obtaining a new driver’s license.

The portion of the site to be used for shelter will be paved and surrounded by a perimeter fence. The shelter will serve adults (age 18 and older) and no visitors are allowed. There will be a pet area to accommodate guests with dogs. For the security of the guests, there will be a single point of entry/exit, though emergency vehicles may access separate entrances. Staff will be on site 24/7, and Urban Alchemy teams will conduct walking rounds through the nearby vicinity to engage with neighbors and anyone camping in the area. 

All pods include electricity, heating, and cooling. Parking spots for RVs/trailers will have electrical hookups, too. Guests will have access to hygiene stations with bathrooms and showers, washers and dryers for laundry, and a kitchenette for food storage. At least one meal will be provided every day. There will also be parking for personal vehicles and planned shuttles for those without personal vehicles.

When will the site open?

The tentative timeline calls for opening the shelter around late Summer 2024, pending potential construction delays. 


Community Engagement

If you are interested in being added to the City's stakeholder list and/or getting involved in the process for this project, please email shelterservices@portlandoregon….  Our standing commitment to all communities in which we have a shelter are reflected on our Good Neighbor Commitment page

April/May 2024 updates: 

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the City of Portland hosted a public information meeting on April 30, 2024, to share information and answer community questions about the City of Portland's draft Contaminated Media Management Plan, draft Risk Assessment and forthcoming Remedial Action Plan. 

A postcard was mailed on April 19, 2024 to involved stakeholders and neighbors near the development site.