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The very successful homeless shelter in Westmoreland has been forced to close for a while to make needed repairs

DAVID F. ASHTON - Only visible from a distance, these crewmembers were seen at work on the roof of the temporarily-closed Willamette Shelter at S.E. Schiller and Milwaukie Avenue in Westmoreland. With Multnomah County housing officials deciding the building needed repairs, the "Willamette Center" — its Westmoreland shelter for the unhoused that officially opened on November 14, 2016 — closed its doors and was emptied of residents and staff as of the first of June.

On June 3, Stacy Borke, Co-Interim Executive Director of "Transition Projects", the organization that staffs the shelter, told THE BEE, "I wanted to ensure that we gave you a heads-up that we are temporarily vacating the Willamette Center while Multnomah County (the owner) performs some construction — roof repairs, seismic, electrical, etc."

Located in Southeast Portland at 5120 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue at Mitchell Street, just south of McLoughlin, it's a 120-bed shelter and service center for women and couples who are "experiencing homelessness", as Transition Projects defines it. There are strict rules of conduct for those sheltered there, and those in it are required to be actively looking for work and a more permanent home, for which they receive assistance.

About the temporary closing, Borke explained, "No shelter guests were displaced as a result of the temporary closure. Over a series of weeks, we were able to transition all guests into open shelter beds across other programs in the community, and we continue supporting them in their housing and stability goals."

Multnomah County informed Transition Projects they believe the work could take as much as twelve months to complete.

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