City and County to Fund Downtown Shelter

After weeks of indecision, proposals, and marathon public input sessions, it seems Corvallis has finally decided the location of the 2018-2019 men’s emergency cold weather shelter.

At their Monday, July 16 meeting, the City Council passed a motion to fund the Second Street CSC location with Councilors Glassmire, Bull, Lytle, and Hogg opposed, and Councilors Wyse, Page, Brauner, and Ellis in favor. Corvallis’ Mayor Biff Traber broke the tie. The motion was brought to the floor by Councilor Ellis, and granted $60,000 in funding to the CSC site.

Councilor Page wanted to ensure that funding remains for this site for at least three years down the road to avoid being in the same position in the future.

“Any decision that we make tonight, it needs to be one that’s a long term solution to a perpetual problem,” said Page. 

Page and other Councilors acknowledged that they trust the opinions of the Housing Opportunities Action Council, as well as the other service providers that are planning on co-locating at the CSC location. HOAC, Stone Soup, and the Daytime Drop-In Center have all expressed that this site would best allow them to accomplish their respective missions.

“This is not going to be a win-win, we’re going to have a bunch of people upset at us; so be it, we’ll do what we have to do,” stated Councilor Brauner. “From what I understand from the testimony, and the information that had come to us from the service providers, I have to vote for the one that I believe can best serve this portion of the community. With that… I’ll be supporting the motion.”

Councilor Glassmire, who voted no on the motion, said that he would support a motion to fund the shelter, and give the site decision to HOAC. He also expressed concern for the Board of County Commissioners upcoming vote to match the city’s $60,000.

“As a matter of procedure, I think this is a little bit premature,” suggested Glassmire. “It is conceivable that we would pass this motion, and that tomorrow, the County Commissioners would pass a motion saying, ‘we’ll fund this anywhere but Second Street.’”

The Board of County Commissioners had recently voted to withhold their $60,000 in matching funds for the shelter due to concerns about the downtown location.

Councilor Page responded by recalling a conversation with HOAC manager Shawn Collins at a previous council meeting. Collins had said that the shelter could move forward without the matching funding from the county.

“Today is 16 July,” warned Page. “We’re burning the midnight oil on getting this shelter open.”

On the following day, the Board of County Commissioners voted to match the city’s $60,000 in funding, with no location requirements attached to the money.

Shawn Collins and HOAC now have the green light to continue renovating the CSC building in preparation for the shelter’s Nov 1 opening. Collins had previously stated to The Advocate that the schedule is tight to meet their deadline, but he’s up to the challenge.

By Jay Sharpe