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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Feb. 27, 2024

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Construction starts on downtown Vancouver Safe Stay site, though no opening date is set

By , Columbian staff reporter

Work has begun for one of Vancouver’s newest temporary but supportive housing communities.

The city of Vancouver’s third Safe Stay community, at 415 W. 11th St., was under construction Monday. Monday night the city council was set to approve the agreement for nonprofit Outsiders Inn to oversee the property. Outsiders Inn already operates The Outpost, a similar community in Orchards.

On the city of Vancouver’s BeHeardVancouver.org website, officials said that crews from City Electric Co. of Ridgefield have begun grading, paving and preparing the site.

The community doesn’t have a firm opening date but the contractor has 50 days to complete the work. The contract is for $708,000 and includes:

  • Installing electrical, water and sanitary sewer lines.
  • Building bathroom and laundry facilities.
  • Erecting 20 pallet shelters and a central gathering space.
  • Installing cedar fencing and trees along the property line.

Once completed, the community will welcome up to 40 residents who are experiencing homelessness. The site was originally projected to open earlier this year, but was stalled a couple of times due to weather and construction costs.

The new Safe Stay site will be nearly identical to the two existing sites – with 20 modular pallet shelters and mandated 1,000-foot camping ban. However, the downtown site will offer showers – something the first two Safe Stay communities don’t yet offer.

Due to its downtown location, the third Safe Stay may look different from the other communities, because it will follow neighborhood design standards.

A fourth Safe Stay community is planned for a parking lot at 4611 Main St., near Interstate 5. Work there will commence after a final lease is signed with the property owner, the Washington State Department of Transportation, according to BeHeardVancouver.org. It will be operated by Do Good Multnomah, an Oregon-based nonprofit that works to shelter homeless communities.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.