Wapato Jail may be spared as owner searches for funder
Jordan Schnitzer is launching another push to convert North Portland's never-used Wapato Jail into a homeless shelter, a reversal from his Oct. 10 announcement that the demolition of the facility was all but guaranteed.
Schnitzer, president of Harsch Investment Properties, opened up the doors of Wapato for a public tour last Friday afternoon. The Nov. 8 event was attended by Democratic state Sen. Betsy Johnson, an old friend of Schnitzer's, and Alan Evans, the founder of Helping Hands, a nonprofit that operates emergency shelters in Clatsop, Yamhill and Tillamook counties.
After purchasing the facility last year, Schnitzer routinely invited local nonprofits, public officials and business executives to tour the facility and envision its conversion into a shelter. But by October, Schnitzer said he was ready to demolish the facility by the end of the month and repurpose the land unless a funder stepped up to convert it into a homeless shelter.
It's not clear whether such financing appeared or Schnitzer simply couldn't bring himself to carry out a demolition he had previously said "sickened" him. Schnitzer has not yet responded to interview requests and only one member of the press appears to have attended Friday's tour.
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