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Wednesday vote restarts bidding process on Northwest Porltand industrial property that council had earlier decided should be used for the homeless

Reversing a previous controversial decision to explore using Terminal 1 for the homeless, the City Council voted Wednesday to put it for sale for the second time.

“Terminal 1 is identified in the city’s comprehensive plan as prime industrial land, and is a key part of Portland’s jobs forecast and economic development strategy for the next 20 years,” said Commissioner Nick Fish said after the vote, referring to the 20-year grwoth plan adopted by the council earlier this year. Fish is in charge of the Bureau of Environmental Services, which owns the 18-acre parcel in Northwest Portland.

The unanimous vote came a little more than a week after Commissioner Dan Saltzman pulled the plug on a proposal by developer Homer Williams to use a warehouse at the site as a temporary homeless shelter — and work on transforming industrial property into a permanent homeless multi-service center called the Oregon Harbor of Hope.

Saltzman, who is in charge of the Portland Housing Bureau and presented the idea of using Terminal 1 for the homeless to the council, said he has no regrets over his effort.

“I feel good about trying. I think people come up with different ideas. But it’s still a great idea, one that I support and I think we’ll look elsewhere,” Saltzman said.

The council had authorized the first phase of the project on a 3-2 vote on Aug. 10. Voting "yes" was Saltzman, who sponsored it, Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick. Voting "no" were Fish and Commissioner Amanda Fritz.

Before the August vote, the council had declared Terminal 1 to be surplus and BES had put it up for sale through a process approved by the council. Seven bids were received and released a few days after the vote. The ranged from $6 milltion to $10 million. During the debate on Williams' proposal, Fish argued the sale should continue and the proceeds should be used to reduce future BES rate increases.

Call for bids

Wednesday's vote starts the bidding process all over again. Fish says that is necessary because several potential buyers did not submit bids after a majority of the council signaled it would approve the homeless proposal. Fish believes BES will receive even higher bids this time around.

Colliers International will serve as the property’s commercial broker and is expected to list the property on Thursday, Nov. 3, with a call for bids by Nov. 18.

“The sale of this prime industrial property will add family-wage jobs to our community, and strengthen our tax base, helping us pay for the services and housing necessary to address the crisis of homelessness,” Fish said.

He added he hopes people like Williams will continue to advocated for the homeless.

“I know Mayor-elect Wheeler, this is a big priority issue for him, so I think discussions are far from over. They may be over with respect to Terminal 1 as a potential location, but we need more shelter space, we need more affordable housing, and those issues are still before us,” said Saltzman.

KOIN News 6 is a news partner of the Portland Tribune and contributed to this story.

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