Today, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners voted to use proceeds from the sale of the Edgefield North property to fund a rehabilitated or new animal shelter.
The animal shelter in Troutdale, which is the only public shelter in Multnomah County for lost, abandoned, dangerous and injured animals, receives over 6,000 animals and 90,000 customers each year.
But the building, customers and volunteers say, is rundown, too small and needs to be fixed.
“We take in a lot of animals and we don’t say, ‘No,’” says Jessica Heller, a four-year volunteer at the shelter who works in the cattery. “There needs to be more room...The biggest benefit I think will be for the animals." She says that a new shelter would provide much needed space and improve the quality of life for all the animals.
In 2011, a report by the Metropolitan Group consulting firm found that customers felt “the building, while operational and safe, [is] too small and poorly equipped” and “is not conducive to creating a feeling of welcome and an excitement to come back.”
And 84% of responders to the survey supported a new shelter being built closer to the center of the county.
Commissioner Loretta Smith said that this board action “will direct our county dollars into...prioritizing improvement projects...This will help us get to a better place with animal services.”
The Edgefield North property, also known as the “Pig Farm Property,” sits adjacent to the county animal shelter in Troutdale. In 2014, the county agreed to sell the 65 acres of land to Michael McMenamin, owner of the McMenamin’s hotel and restaurant chain. The sale will close this July. The $3.38 million in revenue from the sale will come in over a series of six years.
The funds will be used to update or build a new animal shelter.
"We're thrilled and incredibly grateful that the Commissioners have dedicated funds to improving the facility for Animal Services. Their leadership will provide an opportunity for us to continue to move this issue forward and develop ways to renovate or build a new facility that will better serve the needs of Multnomah County citizens and animals," said director of Multnomah County Animal Services Jackie Rose.
Commissioner Diane McKeel, who sponsored the action, said “I hope to see this help in the animal services’ vision for a new shelter...A new or rehabilitated shelter would mean better service for the more than 90,000 customers who come to the shelter every year. It would support the program’s dedicated staff members better perform their duties, and most importantly it would enable us to provide better care for our animals. These funds will help start the process...and help us down the road to make it a reality.”