Naito Queer Affinity Village Opens

The Safe Rest Village in Southwest Portland opened on Friday.

It's called the SW Naito Queer Affinity Village .

In the early days of the pandemic, three emergency outdoor shelters were established to accommodate the need for social distancing in existing brick and mortar shelters.

The Queer Affinity village, was created to build a welcoming atmosphere for LGBTQIA+ self-identified neighbors.

The SW Naito Stakeholders Group withdrew its support earlier in the week, but after meeting with Commissioner Dan Ryan's office they released this statement:

We appreciate the recent collaboration between the 2300 SW Naito Stakeholder Group and Commissioner Ryan’s office in response to our press conference. We are feeling cautiously optimistic that our three primary requests, which will enhance the security and well-being of Village participants, children and neighbors, are being heard:

● The requirement for low-barrier background checks for those with major felony convictions of violent crimes against a person, sex crimes, and property crimes for any village within 500 feet of a school

● A monitored, 1,000-foot-minimum perimeter buffer zone free of camping, drug dealing or other criminal activity

● The establishment of a multi-stakeholder Safe Rest Village advisory board

We expect an open, transparent, and collaborative process that ensures that the shared requests of our community stakeholders are addressed. This includes the identification of clear roles and responsibilities of accountable partners as well as direct lines of communication between those partners.

We know that we are not done, and we will keep pushing for commitments and accountability measures on behalf of the families, students and residents in our neighborhood. We hope that our recent progress will establish a pathway for true collaboration between government officials and our citywide coalition of neighborhoods in the vicinity of planned Safe Rest Villages in order to meet our collective requests.

We welcome the participants of the Queer Affinity Safe Rest Village tomorrow, May 13, and look forward to continuing our conversations with Commissioner Ryan and the other partners.

Commissoner Dan Ryan's office released this statement:

Understandably, community members and school leadership from the 2300 SW Naito Parkway Stakeholder Group have concerns regarding the SW Naito Queer Affinity Safe Rest Village. We heard that at the Town Hall on Tuesday night and in their direct outreach. We respect the diverse neighborhood stakeholders, school leaders, and the communities they serve, and we appreciate their willingness to engage in difficult conversations to help build this Village into a model of success.

Commissioner Ryan’s team is staying earnestly at the table with the 2300 SW Naito Parkway Stakeholder Group and working in partnership with the following members of the Streets to Stability team to ensure the continued success and safety of participants at the Queer Affinity Safe Rest Village as well as neighboring schools, businesses, and community residents:

Nate Takara, Street Services Coordination Center

Sergeant Matt Jacobson, PPB, Neighborhood Response Team

Shannon Singleton, Joint Office of Homeless Services

Skyler Brocker-Knapp, Mayor’s Office

Andy Goebel, All Good NW

This team is fully confident the participants moving over to the QA Village do not pose concerns to the safety and security within and outside the village.

The group listed above is also committed to working toward solutions to the following requests:

Develop a Community Safety Plan. In partnership with the Neighborhood Response Team and the Street Services Coordination Center, the City is committed to creating a School Safety Plan that meets the needs of Naito neighbors.

Clearly define the intake and low-barrier screening process that ensures the safety and well-being of village participants and neighboring students and residents.

Create advisory boards in neighborhoods where Villages are located. They will be developed through the Good Neighbor Agreement process at each location through community conversation and in concert with the Joint Office of Homeless Services to shape the structure and implementation of such boards.

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