By a 178 to 75 vote, the Kenton Neighborhood Association gave its approval to an innovative temporary solution to homelessness in North Portland. POD Village will accommodate up to 14 homeless, female-identified individuals in small sleeping pods. Catholic Charities will oversee and support the year-long project.
Kenton neighborhood chair Tyler Roppe reviewed the meeting and decision on the association’s website, saying he was surprised that the vote was so overwhelming, adding that it had mixed reviews: “The unprecedented night was certainly a victory for most in the room, who celebrated the neighborhood’s leap of faith to give this pilot project a chance and looked forward to seeing the village come to life, but for those on the other side, the night ended with a sour taste, wondering what just happened.”
Roppe regretted the meeting structure, saying, “We did make a mistake in giving the project organizers of the POD Village Proposal ample opportunities to engage neighbors throughout the process while not offering enough of a platform for those in opposition.” But Roppe asserted that the meeting structure did not make the vote or process any less valid.
Roppe ended his vote postmortem by inviting Kenton neighbors to be involved and to be aware that Kenton, like many other Portland neighborhoods, is changing.
“Kenton is going through a transition where newer residents have started to drastically outnumber long-time residents … while having lived here this or that many years doesn’t grant one the ability to determine the direction of the neighborhood, it’s important to respect those that made Kenton what it is today and honor their knowledge and experience as we move forward.”