Portland strip club to become family shelter

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — If all goes as planned, in about five months, bunk beds for kids and their parents will replace strippers’ poles at the former Black Cauldron.

The former strip club, advertised as a “dark vegan playground,”  in Portland will become a homeless shelter for as many as 130 people now that a deal between Human Solutions and Multnomah County was approved.

The former Black Cauldron strip club on Southeast Stark is slated to become a homeless shelter for families.

“The cost of the property is right around $1 million, but (Human Solutions) are securing financing for the difference between $1 million and $300,000,” said Mary Li, the Director of Multnomah County’s Community Services Division.

The nonprofit group Human Solutions will pay about $700,000 for the property through a private loan. The $300,000 from public funds will be used to help with the acquisition. An additional $397,000 mainly from the county will be used for renovations.

“I think it is an amazing thing and I think we all should be proud of the leadership of the board of county commissioners,” Li told KOIN 6 News.

Andy Miller, the executive director of Human Solutions, said the shelter will operate around-the-clock every day of the year and be big enough to hold about 130 people — adults and children.

“From a community development perspective we are really happy to be transforming the streetscape and the community, and putting in a higher and better use than its prior use,” Miller said.

The group said the fully operational kitchen and 2 remodeled ADA-accessbile bathrooms “works for us.” Full showers will be added, he said.

When they’re done with renovations, around February 2016, “it will be a warm, bright, well-lit space for kids and their families who are experiencing homelessness in Multnomah County,” he told KOIN 6 News. “They will have a safe, decent place to spend the night.”

The renovations will be extensive. Miller said the strippers poles are intact, as well as a stage, lights, a bar and “private rooms for whatever goes on in private rooms in a strip club.”

The floor space will be cleared “to make space for bunk beds for parents and their children.”

Li said this deal is what the community needed to do.

“As long as hard-working families are falling into homelessness and the economy and rental market isn’t such that they on their own can make it back into housing, I think any of us as community say this is what we need to do for our neighbors when they’re at some of the hardest points in their lives.”

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