‘WeShine Micro-village’ shelters 11 guests in Russell

INCLUDES TOUR VIDEO | Learn more about a facility that provides housing – and services – in outer East Portland, created by a budding non-profit organization …

Along NE Halsey Street, behind this fence, is the newly opened Parkrose Community Village development.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Although it’s been in the works for several months, the new WeShine Initiative “micro-village”, that’s called the Parkrose Community Village, held an open house celebrating its opening on Tuesday, August 8.

It’s clearly visible from NE Halsey Street, on the southwest corner of the Parkrose Community United Church of Christ campus, in the Russell neighborhood.

This is a location where we’ve covered many stories over the years – from the hosting of a Farmers Market, to planting the Parkrose Community Orchard, to establishing a Community Garden, to operating an Emergency Winter Shelter back in 2010, when the church was called Eastminster Presbyterian.

One of those who was showing visitors around the Village was WeShine Deputy Director Krysten Hall.

“Indeed, we are celebrating the official opening of our ‘micro-village’ this afternoon,” acknowledged WeShine Deputy Director Krysten Hall.

WeShine stands for ‘Welcoming, Empowering, Safe Habitation Initiative with Neighborhood Engagement’, and the ‘neighborhood engagement’ part is so important, because we want to make sure that our villages are in a neighborhood – not on the outskirts of one,” Hall told East Portland News.

Here’s a wide-angle look at the Parkrose Community Village.

“This means that they are close to transportation, and are near stores, services, and medical facilities – and we are located on a private land,” Hall continued.

Take a brief video tour of this WeShine Micro-Village:

As a local Portland non-profit organization, WeShine intends to bridge the gap between houselessness and permanent housing – specifically for those who they determine to be vulnerable populations that can “fall through the cracks” in traditional shelter systems, we learned.

This communal kitchen is equipped to allow villagers to make hot meals and store cold food.

Thus, the micro-villages they build are that are composed of 8 to 12 living pods, a staff office pod, and community buildings – including a “living room’ and activities building with a television, kitchenette with a washer and dryer, and a hygiene building with toilets and showers.

“In this micro-village, we are full now, with 11 guests,” Hall said; adding that villagers can stay for up to two years.

“The Parkrose Community United Church of Christ parishioners said that they would love to donate a portion of their parking lot to this village; the church has done so much for the community in the past – and they wanted to do more,” remarked Hall.

This pod is used as the village’s office. All of them are equipped with an air conditioner and a heater.

“One of the biggest things is that we want to help with is the transition from being unhoused to permanent housing,” Hall explained.

“Many times, the transition is difficult for a person who hasn’t been in housing for a long time – those people need our support and knowledge of how to become a successful, permanent tenant or resident.

“So, while we do not give [directly provide] services, we do provide the knowledge to help our villagers learn what they need to know; as well as the skills they will need when they eventually transition into permanent housing,” Hall said.

At this time, this micro-village is funded, about 90%, by the Joint Office of Homeless Services – and the remaining 10% we receive through donations. WeShine is a 501(c)(3) designated public charity – CLICK HERE to learn more, and if you like, to donate to their cause.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



Comments are closed.

© 2005-2024 David F. Ashton East PDX News™. All Rights Reserved.