Proposed Portland homeless shelter site has contaminated soil - KPTV - FOX 12

Proposed Portland homeless shelter site has contaminated soil

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

From a dumping ground of contaminated soil dumping to a new homeless shelter - that's the city of Portland’s pitch as a solution to deal with the homeless crisis along the Springwater Corridor.

The property is a five-acre parcel on Southeast Reedway Street, a dead end road near 104th Avenue. The city-owned parcel backs right up to an auto-body shop

The area is contaminated with soil that the city notes has potential environmental and human health risks.

City officials say there are ten contaminated piles, all illegally dumped and some containing lead, although the city said the lead piles are not harmful to human health.

Officials did say other piles, which contain gas and oil products, could be harmful to humans.

A contractor will start removing the soil Tuesday and should be finished in a week.

The city’s hope it to prepare the land to build a shelter to house about 100 of the homeless. There are several homeless living on the property right now.

The parcel shares a property line with Jose's Auto Body, and Angel Sanchez, the son of the owner, said they were never informed of the city's plan.

Sanchez worries a shelter could hurt business.

"(We’re) worried about break-ins, or my customers seeing homeless people walking in and out, and then they're not going to feel comfortable bringing their cars in or something, because of the security reasons, you know, vandalism and stuff like that," he said.

A city spokeswoman did say the city has not had a chance to speak with all nearby business owners, although she said other residential neighbors have been informed of the potential plan.

City officials say the shelter will have on-site management and services for the homeless.

After the site is cleaned, the next step will likely be prepping the property for electricity, sewer and infrastructure.

The city’s plan is not yet entirely set in stone, though. They are still waiting for more input from stakeholders, such as nearby neighbors.

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