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Multnomah County renewed its lease of the former bus terminal, which was set to expire last month.

PMG FILE PHOTO - The old Greyhound bus station, at 550 N.W. Sixth Ave. in Portland, will remain a homeless shelter at least through April 2023.Multnomah County has, again, extended the life of a homeless shelter in Portland's old Greyhound bus station.

Portland and the county's Joint Office of Homeless Services opened the 30,000-square-foot former bus terminal at Northwest Sixth Avenue and Glisan Street in the Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood as a winter weather shelter in December 2020.

On Sept. 29, the county's board of commissioners approved a second extension of the lease through at least this winter, with the possibility of extending it through September 2023. The county first extended its lease of the site in September 2021.

County officials have previously said there's no intention of maintaining the site as a permanent homeless shelter.

The extension will allow the joint office to keep the 96-bed adult congregate shelter open while county officials continue to look for a permanent replacement site for the shelter, Mary Penfield, operations and facility services manager for the joint office, told county commissioners.

The site is slated to be redeveloped in the next two decades as part of Portland's Broadway Corridor project.

The annual budget to operate the shelter is $2.35 million, according to Denis Theriault, spokesperson for the joint office. Additionally, the county has been paying Greyhound $30,000 per month for the lease since it opened.

The nonprofit Do Good Multnomah prioritizes its services for veterans and operates the shelter on a reservation-only basis, with 10 beds reserved specifically for people referred to the shelter by businesses and residents in the surrounding neighborhood, according to the organization's website.

The extension of the shelter's life comes after Portland increased its efforts to remove homeless camps citywide in the wake of the pandemic earlier this year, an effort that began in Old Town. The effort was lauded by many Old Town business owners, who had long lobbied for more action on camps in the neighborhood, while homeless advocates said campers received little notice before being displaced and criticized the camp removals as doing more harm than good.

Additionally, a shelter pod village in the neighborhood was shut down in June after its operator, All Good Northwest, said it could no longer provide services due to safety concerns outside the village.

In all, the joint office has a shelter capacity of 1,600 beds on any given night, officials say. The joint office's budget for the 2023 fiscal year includes an infusion of funding to increase sheltering by more than 800 beds.


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