Multnomah County

Williams on Harbor of Hope: 'A tremendous opportunity'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- It's been nearly three years since since Portland declared a homeless emergency. As it stands right now, there's no clear end in sight.

One group, and one man, hope to make a difference in that endeavor. Well-known developer Homer Williams plans to put the Harbor of Hope -- an 120-bed, 24-7 Navigation Center that will provide the homeless multiple services, including medical care and drug rehabilitation -- in the Pearl under the Broadway Bridge. 

"We've got to get these people off the streets for their own health and for the city's health," Williams said. 

It's a temporary solution, but Williams said it's a mandatory one because affordable housing can't come fast enough.

"We don't have the money or the time to build it out," Williams said off affordable housing. "We can't let these people live like this."

On Monday, nearly 50 people, many of whom live near the proposed Harbor of Hope site, asked questions. Some weren't pleased with the idea, though the majority appeared to support it. 

"When I go out in the morning, they're there anyway," one person said, "so if you're going to try and help a certain portion of them, that's something good."

Wendy Wood lives near the proposed location. She has reservations. 

"What I'm kind of nervous about is they're going to pull people from different parts of the city to come in and be served at this navigation center," she said.

Williams said everyone has to get behind the idea of helping the homeless, or the problem will get worse. 

"This is the first step in a very long journey ...  if we can embrace these and manage the issue, it'll be a tremendous opportunity for Portland."


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