Portland developers try to ease homeless crisis that they helped create

Developer Tom Cody lost all the ground-floor retail tenants of his building on the Northwest Park Blocks and he thinks he knows why.

Customers avoided the tents, tarps and backpacks that filled the leafy corridor north of Burnside. In turn, his tenants looked for shops without dozens of people sleeping or hanging out in front at all hours of the day.

It’s not the first time Cody saw his business jeopardized by the city’s 4,000-and-growing homeless population.

His firm has developed 33 projects, some up to $300 million – some in neighborhoods where tensions with the homeless population run high. He opposed a preliminary plan for a homeless shelter campus near another one of his Northwest Portland properties, a 300,000-square-foot creative office development.

But now he’s part of a business-led movement to do more than complain to City Hall or file lawsuits. He and two other high-profile real estate families have donated empty buildings

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