Homer Williams' Proposed Homeless Campus Has More Rivers to Cross

A City Council vote is scheduled for next week, but that may not be the last barrier.

The debate over whether to open a homeless shelter on the Northwest industrial waterfront heads to City Council next week.

Commissioner Dan Saltzman appears to have the three votes needed to secure the property for developer Homer Williams' proposed $100 million homeless campus.

But Saltzman and Williams disagree whether City Council approval is the last step—or if the project still has more hoops to jump through.

Saltzman, who has championed the project at a site called Terminal 1, proposes that Portland Housing Bureau rent the Bureau of Environmental Services property for $10,000 a month, as the Portland Mercury reported this morning.

"We are laying the groundwork for Homer to be able to fund-raise," says Brendan Finn, chief of staff for Saltzman.

Saltzman tells WW that the fate of the project hinges on a Sept. 23 decision by A Home for Everyone, the city-county agency overseeing housing and homelessness.

Williams says the vote in City Council is designed to block Commissioner Nick Fish from selling the Terminal 1 property to another bidder, but the Home for Everyone vote in September won't likely affect the project.

"It's my understanding that's more of a formality," says Williams.

The City Council vote, expected Aug. 10, could decide whether that the property would provide shelter for 400 people while the Housing Bureau weighs whether to proceed with a larger project, called the Oregon Trail of Hope, that would include services for the homeless.

Developer Homer William has championed emulating a $100 million San Antonio homeless shelter.

Commissioner Nick Fish, who oversees the Bureau of Environmental Services, has opposed the project and put the property on the market earlier this summer.

The property is worth far more than $10,000 a month, according to projections put together by Fish's office. The warehouse alone could rent for more than $33,600 per month.

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