The vacant Terminal 1 warehouse proposed as a homeless shelter sits on 14 acres of property that has been certified by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for industrial but not residential uses.
The DEQ required the Port of Portland to clean up contamination on the longtime industrial site when it sold the property to Portland in 2004. But Commissioner Dan Saltzman has proposed turning the warehouse into a homeless shelter, a purpose not originally considered by DEQ.
The 15 acres immediately south of Terminal 1 was sold by the port to a private developer at the same time. After a delay caused by the Great Recession, it was purchased and is being redeveloped as residential buildings by Fore Properties. Vice President Lee Novak says the company has spent millions of dollars removing and disposing of contaminated soil on the property to meet DEQ’s higher residential standards.
“We have removed tens of thousands of cubic yards of soil to comply with the residential requirements,” says Novak, who admits his company is concerned about the possibility of a large homeless shelter opening next door to its developments.
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