Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

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In a typical year, HUD awards about $25 million to the Portland and Multnomah County. But the agency leaves most decisions on how to use those taxpayer dollars to continuums of care - local bodies that coordinate federal funding for homeless individuals.

KAYO LACKEY/OPB - The inside of the never-opened Wapato Jail in 2014.The fate of North Portland's never-used Wapato Jail remains up in the air after owner Jordan Schnitzer's latest round of tours Monday afternoon.

One thing's confirmed, though: The facility will not be turning into a HUD-run homeless shelter anytime soon.

For a brief period, it seemed a Trump cabinet member might spare Wapato the fate of bulldozers. Emails obtained by Willamette Week showed Schnitzer told local officials last week that Ben Carson, the U.S. secretary for Housing and Urban Development, had expressed interest in using the facility as a "pilot project for homeless," and had invited HUD's regional administrator on a tour.

Jeffrey McMorris, HUD's regional administrator for Oregon, Alaska, Idaho and Washington, attended Monday's tour, along with what he estimated were 150 other supporters of Schnitzer's vision to convert the long-vacant jail into a homeless shelter. OPB was not among the visitors as the tour was closed to the media.

McMorris said the purpose of his visit was not to suss out the viability of a pilot project at the behest of Carson.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. You can find their full story here.


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