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The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) is closing several of its satellite locations, including its self-sufficiency office in Gresham, and moving into one center at 11826 N.E. Glisan St.

Rene Duboise, DHS district manager for Multnomah County, said the Gresham office’s 45 employees at 912 N.E. Kelly Ave. will be relocated in June

“We’re relocating to a larger site ... and what precipitated that is that we’re in the real estate bubble,” Duboise said.

Two of DHS’ Portland locations — 1415 S.E. 122nd Ave. and 3975 S.E. Powell Blvd. — will also be closing because of eviction. In Gresham, DHS decided not to renew its lease which expires this summer.

Duboise made a point of saying that DHS had outgrown its space in Gresham and was looking to move into a new building anyway.

“It was a business choice because we have reached capacity and we were really looking at trying to not have as many stand-alone sites as we currently have,” Duboise said.

DHS plans to begin informing clients of the closure at the end of March. A “For Lease” sign is on the already on the building on Kelly Avenue.

“This was not done willy-nilly,” Duboise said. “We make every effort to reduce hardships on clients.”

The city of Gresham is not going to let DHS go without a fight, however.

Eric Chambers, government relations direction for Gresham, emailed Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham, and Rep. Carla Piluso, D-Gresham, and Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale, to see if there were any options available to keep the Oregon Department of Human Services self-sufficiency office on 912 N.E. Kelly Ave.

“(Gresham) councilors were concerned about moving DHS’ array of services west when poverty and the need for those services has been steadily moving east from inner Portland,” wrote Chambers in the email to Piluso, Gorsek and Monnes-Anderson. “The need for services has certainly increased in recent years.” A meeting with DHS representatives was held Friday, but Gorsek said not much came out of it.

“With the population they serve moving east and the rents more affordable in East County, at first look this doesn’t make much sense,” said Gorsek.

The self-sufficiency office in Gresham serves East Multnomah County and Clackamas County. The office offers help with food benefits like SNAP, child care assistance, refugee assistance and domestic violence assistance.

“There’s a lot of folks in this community that depend on their services, so it’s going to be a hardship for them to have to find transportation out to 122nd,” said Gresham City Councilor Lori Stegmann. “If anything we need more services in East County. We don’t need them leaving the Gresham area.”

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