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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Portland vandal smashes sleeping pods at St. Johns homeless village; opening delayed

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 8, 2021

St. Johns Village homeless shelter.  (Courtesy of Joint Office of Homeless Services)
St. Johns Village homeless shelter. (Courtesy of Joint Office of Homeless Services)
By Shane Dixon Kavanaugh Oregonian

A vandal struck a much-anticipated tiny home village for homeless people in North Portland, damaging nearly every sleeping pod in the outdoor shelter space and delaying its opening, police and county officials say.

The person entered the St. Johns Village on Dec. 19 and broke out windows in 15 of the shelter’s 19 newly purchased tiny homes, causing about $8,000 damage, said Officer Melissa Newhard, a spokeswoman for the Portland Police Bureau.

The single-occupancy pods, which are each 8-by-12 feet and feature electricity, heat systems and a built-in bed, had been placed at the North Richmond Avenue site only two days before the vandal struck, said Denis Theriault, a spokesman for the Joint Office of Homeless Services.

Police said they have not identified a suspect in the case.

The property destruction prohibited some people from moving into the outdoor shelter during its planned opening at the end of December, Theriault said. A common building for the site equipped with a kitchen, bathroom and other amenities has yet to be delivered, furthering the delay.

Officials now say the shelter will open Feb. 1. Villagers will be selected from the streets of North Portland and will be permitted to live there for up to two years as they seek more permanent housing.

The site’s land is owned by St. Johns Church, which it leases to Do Good Multnomah, a non-profit agency that receives funding through the Joint Office of Homeless Services.

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