A Portland billionaire is backing the building of a new downtown homeless shelter below the city's Broadway Bridge.
Construction of the shelter, which will be located on city-owned land, is reliant on a hefty donation from Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle.
Boyle, who said he’s giving $1.5 million in personal money, is making the donation to Oregon Harbor of Hope - a local nonprofit run by real estate developers. The organization is planning the building of the 9,000-square foot temporary shelter, which will offer up to 120 beds.
It will also provide food, a community garden, and access to health and social services at an adjacent Navigation Center.
On Tuesday, Boyle said the issue of homelessness in Portland is important to him because it's where he grew up. He said his company is also trying to attract new employees to work in the city.
It was an endeavor he wrote about struggling with in an op-ed published late last year, saying the downtown area - where he moved one of Columbia's brands - was not adequately safe and asked city leaders to take action.
Now, he says his recent donation will be his way of taking action.
"I've been vocal about it," Boyle said. "We’re concerned about the public safety of our employees who live in Portland, who work in Portland, and if you’re going to say something about it - you better do something about it.”
Bob Stoll, who approached Boyle with the donation request and shelter idea, said Boyle's bid will fully fund the construction of the shelter.
However, the facility's operations are not yet funded and will rely on additional private donations.
“It’s time for the businesses and the foundations to step in, and individuals, as well," Stoll told FOX 12.
Stoll says he is currently working on fundraising for operations so that the shelter can open by the fall.
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