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Johnson hopes unused jail can help homeless

Courtesy Multnomah Co.

PORTLAND, Oregon – An Oregon lawmaker hopes a constructed, but never used, jail in North Portland could be used as a facility for helping the homeless.

The Wapato Jail in North Portland was purchased by Portland’s Jordan Schnitzer, and he has been looking for a way to repurpose it to provide shelter and services for the homeless.

“Jordan is spending about $60,000 a month keeping that facility up and not demolished,” Senator Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) said.

Johnson said she was on a tour of Wapato Monday with the federal housing and urban development’s regional director.

“If it did nothing else was to dispel the false negative rumor that somehow this would become a detention facility for homeless,” Johnson said.

Johnson said while no decisions have been made yet, she hopes opponents of Schnitzer’s plan will have a change of heart.

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