An iconic Portland goat herd is looking for a new home in the city.
The Belmont goat herd consists of 14 goats — and one hen who keeps them company.
They’re not working animals. They don’t clear brush or produce milk. They just hang out on an empty lot, napping, eating and enjoying the occasional scratch behind the ear from the pedestrians that pass by.
“These goats are kind of goats of leisure, rather than working goats,” says Bix Frankonis, who helps run the nonprofit that cares for the animals.
Frankonis said the herd provides a little laid-back, rural calm in an increasingly busy city. Goat therapy, some of their fans call it.
“It’s certainly a very social herd. Even when we’re not open, they will come to the fence and interact with people through the fence,” Frankonis said.
The goats first became a Portland fixture several years ago when a local business brought them to an empty lot in inner Southeast. Development on that lot forced the goats to move.
For the past two years, the goats have lived on a lot that belongs to the Portland Development Commission in the Lents neighborhood.
“The city and the neighborhood specifically wanted interesting, attraction kind of things out on these lots as they were gearing up to do a fresh push to get the town center redeveloped out here,” Frankonis said.
Now, that land is slated for new construction and the Belmont goats’ lease is up in June. The goats are looking for a new neighborhood to take them.
They don’t need much: a big empty lot, access to water and nearby public transit so people can visit them. And, hopefully, a place with free rent.
The Belmont Goats nonprofit is hoping Portlanders interested in having a community goat herd in their neighborhood will suggest empty lots and help identify landowners who might be willing to lease to a goat herd for two to three years.
They’ve put together a how-to on hosting the goats.