Deal to move Portland's urban goats falls apart; herd could go to farm

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A herd of urban goats in Southeast Portland is now sticking around its city pen on Belmont and 9th Avenue until the end of January.

The owners of the Belmont Goats are facing a new challenge that could send them to a farm outside of the city, a move that would likely be temporary.

"We did have a property that we were going to conceivably move in to but that fell though this past Monday," said Christopher Frankonis, co-owner of the goats.

Frankonis said a group of eight people care for the goats; four of them are owners.

The herd of 14 has been living for the past year in a pen that takes up two city blocks in the heart of Southeast Portland's industrial area, a section of land that has hosted several previous herds in past years. Each goat has a name, and a distinct personality.

"We want a place that's healthy and safe for the goats. We also want a place where people can still visit them," said Frankonis.

The long-term goal is to find a place not far from the Belmont lot, where the herd can stay for a couple of years. Residential lots are out of the question due to city laws and because they're not big enough. The owners have also promised the goats they won't split them up.

"It's gotta be some sort of commercial property that can be temporary, interim, 8 months stay," explained Frankonis.

He said the goal is to keep the goats around people since that is the lifestyle they know. The lot also doesn't need to be as big as the current pen.

"If someone's got that lot that they keep forgetting to mention to us, now's a great time to tell us that they know some place," said Frankonis. "We want a place that's healthy and safe for the goats. We also want a place where people can still visit them."

The herd was initially supposed to be moved off the Belmont lot by the end of 2013. A developer is going to build on the lot. Frankonis said the developer has been "wonderful" about working with the owners' challenges of finding a new home for the herd.

The developer pushed back the move date to Jan. 18, 2013, and Frankonis said when the deal the owners thought they had to move the goats fell through this week, the developer extended the goats' stay until the end of the month.

That's welcome news to neighbor Bill Lascher. He lives nearby and frequently stops by the lot to see the goats.

"It'd be nice if they're still in my path when I see them and could cheer me up," said Lascher. "I like Chester (the goat) a lot. He's kind of my favorite. He's got that beard. I was riding my bike around and I saw him getting friendly with some other people, and I was like it's my chance to say 'hi'".

The goat's owners have a farm the goats can go to at the end of the month, if they don't find a new piece of land in the city for them. If that happens, the owners will continue looking for something in Portland and eventually want to move the goats back.

You can find more information about the Belmont Goats on their website.