Government: County Considers Emergency Declaration for Homeless, City Hears Illegal Parking and Towing Update

Homelessness State of Emergency: Benton County will be requesting addition to a state of emergency declaration for homelessness signed by Gov. Tina Kotek on her first full day in office.  

Currently, Executive Order No. 23-02 declares a state of emergency due to homelessness in Portland, Salem, Eugene, Medford and Central Oregon. A release from the state says the criteria for inclusion was that a region had experienced an increase in unsheltered homelessness of 50% or more from 2017 to 2022.  

However, in a letter to Kotek, the Benton Country Board of Commissioners write, “Based on the growth of our Benton County Coordinated Entry list over the past five years, local homelessness has increased by 89 percent.” The BOC then adds, “Corvallis is the most severely rent burdened city in the entire state of Oregon with 37.1 percent of households spending more than 50 percent of their income on rent. More than a third of our neighbors are at risk of homelessness and in great need of homelessness prevention solutions.” 

Commissioners will look at a resolution at their Jan. 24 information sharing meeting on whether all board members agree with submitting the request to the governor.  

Abandoned Vehicle Code Changes: As we had prior reported that they would, the Corvallis Police Department gave an update to the Corvallis City Council at a work session on Jan. 19 hoping to amend the current city codes for disposition of personal property, abandoned vehicles, illegal parking, and towing of vehicles. 

“Abandoned and illegally parked vehicles have created a major impact on livability within the city to include safety and environmental concerns,” said Lieutenant Gabriel Sapp. “Effectively dealing with these impacts has been met with certain barriers, one of which is the current language in our municipal code.”  

The police department is asking councilors to make changes to three Corvallis Municipal Code (CMC) 6.07 disposition of personal property and abandoned vehicles, CMC 6.10.040 parking, and CMC 6.14 towing of vehicles.  

“The first has minimal changes, these changes include removing motor vehicles and will broaden the scope on the types of vehicles we can tow. This will include trailers and vehicles that can’t move by their own power,” said Lt. Sapp. “The second labeled parking would include public street, parking and public structures. The final change will clarify that a person can’t park in block face for 48 hours.” 

The City Council will hold another hearing at their next meeting on Feb. 6. 

By: Jennifer Williams  

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