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Iron Gate Project Faces Opposition

Plans to build a new facility for the Iron Gate are running into some stiff opposition from the people who would be their new neighbors.

The non-profit group wants to build a $4.5-million dollar food pantry and kitchen on the southwest corner of 3rd and Peoria.

The problem is that three different neighborhood associations say that isn't the right place to feed the poor and homeless.

The group says they want people to have good services, but they worry the project could kill the new development that's just starting in a fragile area.

Leanne Breton of the Pearl District Association says they're worried that business people will be scared away.

She says, "I think investors are looking for a stable plan that people can invest their life savings in. I've had people talking about moving out, because they don't have the safety assurance that this will be sustainable for us in the neighborhood."

The East Village and Forest Orchard Associations echo the same concerns.

They worry that a food kitchen will lead to loitering, vandalism and other problems in the area.

But the Iron Gate says there are misconceptions about their clients and their project.

Executive Director Connie Cronley says it will be a quality project.

"We will be such good neighbors. We're putting a $4.5-million facility. It will improve the area."

Cronley says most of the clients are the working poor with cars.

Plus, they don't expect homeless people to walk a mile and a half from downtown.
Those who wish to visit the new facility will have access to a shuttle bus to and from the area.

She says she understands the concerns of the neighborhood groups, but she believes they will be put to rest once the facility is open.
The project goes before the Board of Adjustment on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m.

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