PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland’s biggest homeless shelter yet may be open by next month — if all the leases can be negotiated.
Turning Terminal 1 at the Port of Portland into a homeless shelter to be called Oregon Harbor of Hope is a complex negotiation between developer Homer Williams, the Bureau of Environmental Services — the landlord — and the Portland Housing Bureau.
Don Mazziotti, the director of the Oregon Harbor of Hope project, told KOIN 6 News they received a proposed sublease from the PHB last Friday.
The sublease “is the result of negotiations over a long period of time between Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Housing Bureau,” he said. “This is a sublease agreement that they proposed to make with the Oregon Harbor of Hope.”
But Jim Blackwood, the senior policy director for Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, told KOIN 6 News no changes can be made to Terminal 1 until the master lease negotiations between BES and the Portland Housing Bureau are complete.
Blackwood said the master lease is key before any changes can be made.
If and when that all happens, the developer can get access to the property and will start doing what it takes to turn the old warehouse into a shelter.
What will happen first
Starting off, a small section of the warehouse where about 125 people can live will be prepared. And if that is successful, the project will slowly expand to house as many as 400 people.
“It’s very significant because without property control we can’t do anything. And obviously we hope to be able to propose terms or revisions or agree with the current terms as quickly as possible,” Mazziotti said. “It has got to be cleaned. Floors have to be leveled we have to install sanitary facilities. There are many many things that have to be done.”
Organizers behind the Harbor of Hope said they have a lot of private investors funding this project, about $300,000 cash and an equal amount in donations from private companies.
Right now attorneys are reviewing the lease proposal, but the goal is to have the lease agreement taken care of within a week or two at the latest.