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Controversial project is underway despite an ongoing legal challenge and design appeal by a nearby resdient.

COURTESY OHOH - Work is underway on the Oregon Harbor of Hope navigation center and shelter near the north end of the Broadway Bridge.Construction has started on the navigation center and homeless shelter near the north end of the Broadway Bridge.

The project is being undertaken by the nonprofit Oregon Harbor of Hope with private funds and support from Portland and Multnomah County. It is being constructed on a parcel owned by Prosper Portland, formerly known as the Portland Development Commission.

Oregon Harbor of Hope was founded by Portland developer Homer Williams. Columbia Sportswear executive Tim Boyle has pledged $1.5 million toward the project.

Work is underway even though another Portland developer, Jim Winkler, has appealed the cleanup plan for the contaminated property approved by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to the Oregon Court of Appeals. Winkler said the plan is not as stringent as one DEQ required for an office building on adjacent property. Although Winkler owns an undeveloped lot adjacent to the planned facility, he said he is concerned about the health of the people who would be living and working there.

A resident in a nearby condominium building has also filed an appeal with the city's Design Review Commission. It argues the facility does not meet the city's design standards for the River District where it is located, among other things. It is scheduled to be heard by the commission on April 18.

The 100-bed shelter and service center was first announced at a press conference on April 9 attended Williams, Boyle, and such civic leaders as Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler; Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury; Portland State University President Rahmat Shoureshi; and David Bangsberg, the founding dean of the joint Oregon Health & Science University-Portland State University School of Public Health.

At that time, it was thought the facility would open by Thanksgiving. But the estimated cost of building the facility climbed to $3.5 million in the following months, in part because of unexpectedly large cleanup costs for the property, which was previously a rail yard.

Portland and Multnomah County later agreed to pay $1 million of the operating costs of project.

You can read a previous Portland Tribune story on the project here.

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