The most familiar Portland story of 2016 is city officials looking for shelter sites for people sleeping on the streets—and coming up empty.
Terminal 1, the city-owned industrial site championed by Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Mayor Charlie Hales as a haven for the homeless, won't be a shelter after all, Saltzman announced Tuesday.
And a proposed outdoor shelter, on the Kalbrenner site on Reedway and Southeast 104th Avenue, isn't moving forward either.
These are the latest two projects championed by Hales to address Portland's homeless crisis that have met a similar end.
His proposal to open a innovative style of homeless shelter based on San Francisco's Navigation Center fell apart this summer. His promise to open a small women's-only campsite met a similar fate after the protesters set up one of their own. The mayor budgeted this year for half a dozen new organized camps, but has yet to identify any.
Real-estate developer Homer Williams championed the Terminal 1 project to create an ambitious mass shelter for up to 400 people, emulating San Antonio's Haven for Hope—which provides services and transitional housing on a single campus. Instead, Terminal 1 will be sold. That leaves the city looking for other sites for shelters.
"Unfortunately, Harbor of Hope will not be ready to open its shelter soon enough to meet the City's needs," Dan Saltzman said in a statement Tuesday, announcing the demise of the project. "We are therefore moving forward with other options for opening a winter shelter."
In July, Hales floated plans for an organized outdoor shelter for up to 100 campers as he announced plans to sweep the Springwater Corridor, but plans to open that site as soon as last month have ground to halt.
It's not clear why the city backed off plans for the campsite, though the plan faced stiff opposition in the Lents neighborhood. The city first needed to clean up the environmental hazards at the Reedway site, but those no longer pose an obstacle, city officials say.
"The environmental remediation work is finished and confirmation/closure samples concluded the property to be safe for residential habitation," says Hales spokesman Brian Worley.
"That site is on hold for now," says Marc Jolin, who heads the city and county's Joint Office of Homeless Services, which is now working to identify outdoor organized shelter locations as well as traditional shelters.
The joint office and the county have successfully opened multiple shelters this year. Jolin noted before any outdoor shelter site is considered, the public will have a chance to weigh in.