Residents Safely Flee Hotel Fire

Olivia Olivia | 8/27/2014, 11:22 a.m.
A fire broke out in a bathroom of the Joyce Hotel Saturday, a downtown property serving many low-income, disabled and elderly residents. Photo by Olivia Olivia

Fire crews responded to a fire at the Joyce Hotel in downtown Portland late Saturday morning. Residents were temporarily evacuated from the building and watched from the sidewalks as firefighters arrived.


Elena Wilson had only been at the Joyce Hotel for a week when a fire temporarily evacuated her from the downtown complex.

The Joyce Hotel serves many low-income, disabled, and elderly residents. It also serves as transitional housing for Portland parolees and probationers.

Local shelters and rehabilitation facilities frequently refer clients to the hotel and it has become an important location during a time in which affordable housing in Portland is scarce. Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare reports that respite housing like that available at the Joyce Hotel has slowly vanished from the Portland community. The quality of much of the remaining transitional housing has gone down, leaving more of the population vulnerable to homelessness.

Saturday’s fire was caused by a fan that caught fire in a bathroom on the second floor, causing about $1,000 in damages, according to fire officials. Several residents watched and waited to see if they'd be allowed back in. Luckily, the fire caused only a brief disruption.

One resident, Elena Wilson, explained that she had only been at the Joyce Hotel for a week. She was referred to the housing provider from Emmanuel Hospital.

--Olivia Olivia