Sources Say: Using Wapato as jail not new idea
Clark County Chairman Marc Boldt is not the only person who has thought about using the never-opened Multnomah County Wapato Jail as a correctional facility in recent years.
Boldt says the county recently contacted developer Jordan Schnitzer, the jail's new owner, to discuss the idea of using it to relieve chronic overcrowding at the Vancouver, Washington, jail. The Clark County jail was built in 1984 with 300 beds, but actually houses anywhere from 400 to 711 prisoners a day, according to The Columbian newspaper.
Wapato was built in 2004 to accommodate 500 minimum-security inmates, but sat empty until Schnitzer acquired it for $5 million in late April.
Before he retired under political pressure in August 2016, former Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton was exploring using Wapato as a prerelease center for prison and jail inmates finishing up their sentences. He had formed an advisory committee before leaving office and was beginning to contact sheriffs in surrounding counties to discuss the idea.
Schnitzer says he has given developer Homer Williams the opportunity to study the feasibility of using Wapato as a homeless shelter and service center before considering other options.
Opposition surfaces to Metro's affordable housing bond
It looks as though Metro's $352.8 million affordable housing bond will be opposed at the November general election, although it also will be supported by a political action committee that will likely raise far more money.
"Affordable Housing for WHO?" is the name of a political action committee, or PAC, that was filed May 3 by Joseph Keizur, a former Hillsboro city cuncilor who owns AJK Investments. Keizur also posted an anti-Metro-bond editorial on Affordable Oregon, a website and blog that criticizes government regulations that increase the cost and complexity of building homes.
A PAC supporting the measure soon will be filed by Metro President Tom Hughes and others, according to political consultant Amy Ruiz, the spokeswoman for the campaign. It will be called "Yes for Affordable Housing," which is the same name as a PAC filed on May 30 to support a proposed amendment to the Oregon Constitution on the same ballot.
That measure would allow private businesses and nonprofits to legally partner on bond-funded projects, resulting in the production of more affordable housing units. It was filed by Hughes, Metro President-elect Lynn Peterson, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Portland city Commissioner Nick Fish.
Ruiz says two committees are necessary because some people might want to only support one of the measures.