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Portland Developers Donate Space For Temporary Homeless Shelter


A room filled with sleeping mats at the new temporary location of the Columbia Shelter on SE Grand Ave.

A room filled with sleeping mats at the new temporary location of the Columbia Shelter on SE Grand Ave.

Emily Fuller/OPB

 Two Portland development firms are donating space for a temporary homeless shelter in the Shleifer Furniture building in the heart of the city’s central east side.

The shelter opened Monday. It will provide a place to sleep at night for up to 100 people.

It will remain open until the fall.

George Devendorf is the executive director of Transition Projects, the nonprofit that manages the shelter, along with several others in the Portland area.   

“When folks who are living outside don’t have to worry about where they’re going to be sleeping tonight, they’re much better able to focus on those things that they want to do and need to do to rebuild their lives. That’s the main value of a place like this,” he said.  

Men, women, couples and pets can make reservations to stay at the shelter.

The Shleifer building’s co-owners, Beam Development and Urban Development + Partners, are offering up space as a shelter before they begin work restoring the building for use as a hotel later this year.

It’s the third time Multnomah County and the City of Portland have partnered with local developers to turn unused commercial properties into temporary shelters for the homeless.

The east side shelter is coming online as the city prepares this week to close a winter shelter in a downtown property donated by the real estate investors Barry and Jordan Menashe.

The historic Shleifer Furniture building is located at 509 S.E. Grand at Stark. Built in 1901, the Shleifer family first opened a furniture business there in 1936. It remained a furniture store until 2015, when Stuart Shleifer decided to retire, close the business and sell the historic building.

Portland and Multnomah County have nearly doubled the number of publicly funded, year-round shelter beds in Multnomah County over the past year, adding roughly 600 beds.

Including space provided by privately funded organizations, the county now has 1,450 year-round beds available.

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