PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The developer hoping to turn Terminal 1 into Portland’s largest homeless shelter hosted a public forum Wednesday to show people the plans for the space.
Homer Williams and his associates have raised $250,000 in seed money for the project, which is being called Oregon Harbor of Hope. The plan is based on a similar development in San Antonio called Haven for Hope.
Harbor of Hope is described as a “non-profit program aspiring to develop a multi-purpose service hub that helps sheltered people and the chronically homeless return to healthy, productive lives in permanent housing,” according to a status update released in September.
The Terminal 1 site has been the source of controversy over the past several months. Supporters say it would help get hundreds of Portland’s homeless off the streets, but opponents argue the space wasn’t meant to be lived it and should not become a shelter.
At the forum, the shelter planners provided a look at the layout they’re planning and tried to ease people’s concerns about the shelter.
“There are certainly concerns and legitimate concerns about transportation and safety those kinds of things,” said planner Don Mazziotti. “We’ll also form a work group of representatives from the neighborhoods so we can work through these issues with them.”
The project has been scaled back to start small and slowly expand. The plan is to start with a section of the warehouse that’s big enough for about 100 people. If that proves successful, they’ll expand to fill the warehouse.
The shelter is just part of a much bigger plan for a community of resources for the homeless. Oregon Harbor of Hope would be a campus of sorts that would provide everything from social services to job training.
The Portland City Council approved the application for the shelter in 3-1 vote in August but the lease has not been finalized yet.
Williams said the shelter will not open as scheduled in October, due to the process of finalizing the lease. It will take another 2 months to prepare the space.