Church to Hire Homeless Camp Manager, Gets 60 Day Extension

Church officials running the Safe Camp on West Hills Road have not said if they plan to keep the camp open permanently or not, but they have sought and received a 60 day extension from the county. Also, they are looking to hire a camp manager.

The First Congregational Church of Christ opened the camp in July, and when The Advocate first spoke with them, they we’re unclear if the camp would become permanent.

“As a church, we hadn’t decided to establish permanency and we haven’t decided to shut it down,” said Senior Pastor Butler at the time. “We are trying to discern what to do next while being aware that we have neighbors on West Hills Road and the broader community of Corvallis.”

The church offered a similar answer to the Gazette-Times last week, but added they are seeking the new hire.

“The other thing we are moving forward with is hiring a camp manager,” Butler told the Gazette-Times last week. “We’re hoping by the end of the month to hire someone with experience in social services. They would be on-site part-time and also on call.”

The current extension allows the church a temporary permit to use their land for the homeless camp. But if the church decides to run the camp past October 24, they will need to go through the county’s land use process to obtain a permanent permit. Complicating the matter, the city will consider annexation of the area this fall. If the city does go forward, city services would then become available for a proposed 2,000 unit housing development adjacent to the church, but the city has different rules than the county concerning camping.

By Andy Thompson