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A homeless camp along the banks of the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon.(Photo Courtesy: Portland City Auditor/Independent Police Review)
By Associated Press
Published: 27 August 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon city homeless shelter has opened with assistance from private sector donations, officials said.

The Harbor of Hope River District Navigation Center opened Monday in Portland, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Developer Homer Williams raised private funds to help cover the $3.5 million construction costs of the tent-like structure.

The donations included about $3 million from Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle.

Transition Projects will operate the city shelter, which can serve up to 100 people and will be open daily around the clock.

The Joint Office of Homeless Services of Multnomah County and Portland is expected to fund the first-year operating budget, which officials estimate will cost at least $1 million for staff, programming and day-to-day needs at the shelter.

"We have in our city a humanitarian crisis," Williams said at the opening.

"Today, this is a step on a very, very long journey," said Williams.

Williams and his nonprofit organization, Harbor of Hope, initially promised the shelter would be entirely funded by private donors. But by the time he raised the $3.5 million officials had estimated would be necessary for the project, the cost had doubled.

Harbor of Hope broke ground last April on land donated by Portland's urban renewal agency, which will retain ownership of the property. The city waived permit fees for the project.

Portland's Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler was among the officials who praised the shelter as an example of a successful public-private partnership.

He called the project an ambitious effort to combat Portland's growing homeless population.

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