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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

West Hotel Renovation May Kick Residents to the Curb

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Out with the old! The new six-story building planned at the West Hotel site.
  • Out with the old! The new six-story building planned at the West Hotel site.
You should pick up a copy of Street Roots this week and read Amanda Waldroupe's article about the fate of West Hotel residents. The dilapidated Single Resident Occupancy (SR0) hotel downtown is wedged between Sisters of the Road and Satyricon (RIP) and provides a roof for 27 low-income Portlanders.

The old West Hotel isn't going to be old for long—it's owned by nonprofit the MacDonald Center which plans to tear down the hotel and rebuild it brick-by-brick as a $10 million, six-story housing complex that will have 42 studio apartments affordable for people with incomes at or below 45 percent of median family income.

So what are current residents supposed to do during construction? Well, get out. The Street Roots article details how 60-day eviction notice letters from the MacDonald Centers have residents scared they'll wind up homeless:


“Everybody here was upset,” says a 68-year old tenant only wanting to be identified as John. “Everybody believed we would have until the summer.”
Janik says all residents received a letter in Dec. 8, 2008, saying they would have to move out during the renovation, which would begin in approximately 18 months, which would be about August 2010.

Despite the prior letter, the eviction notices were upsetting to many of the residents who said they thought they had until summer of 2011 to find new homes.

“I was panicked,” says David, 44, a resident who did not want to give his last name). “I was scared.”

Scared that he will become homeless.

While the MacDonald Center is helping the current residents find new housing, they're not legally obligated to ensure that all the residents find new homes before tearing down the hotel. That means a project that will help reduce homelessness in the long term could, ironically, create new homeless people in the next couple months.

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