This week is your chance to listen and give input to both the City and Hillsboro and Washington County staff on the matter of homelessness in our communities. There is no doubt that this is the #1 issue that the people of Hillsboro talk about when asked what is the biggest concern they have for our town. No matter where you look they are there. For months now we have covered our shared crisis and the concerns we all have and we have made some measured and researched suggestions of what we can do as a City.
It has taken a while but some big moves are about to happen and this week is a great time to get involved. Money is going to flow like never before- real money. Tens of Millions of dollars sort of money. Being involved now is important for the decisions that will come to be decisions that have the consensus and backing of the community.
The City Announces First Camp SIte –
This tweet was posted today by the City of Hillsboro
The City of Hillsboro is working with community partners to open a temporary camping site with the goal of providing a safer, more secure environment with access to basic services for community members experiencing homelessness.
— City of Hillsboro OR (@CityofHillsboro) May 17, 2021
We ran a story in February of this year and recommended that the City look at putting a camp for homeless citizens who wanted a place to cleanly and safely camp. The site we identified is on SW Wood Street and is a vacant parcel the City already owns. In the story that you can read here -the site was discussed as a site for a campground or Pallet Home Shelter. Here is a segment from the story.
Here is one city-owned 10-acre parcel in an industrial area along Jackson Bottom that could work. It is only minutes walk from city hall, MAX, and service providers too. No homes, residential, or retail areas are there that could be in conflict. It is an option. Maybe it could work.
The tweet is inviting locals to attend a work session on this very site and the possible use as a campground for 30 residents to camp from June until the late Fall. Year-round use has not been discussed thus far nor have the use of Pallet homes which we covered in our article.
To attend the City Council Meeting work session you will need to log into your computer or smartphone on ZOOM and wait until the end of the meeting. Work Sessions are closed for input but the process of moving this Homeless camp forward will begin at the work session. Testimony, input, and ideas are easy to submit to the City at any time so please get involved, right after the regular meeting ends.
City Council Regular Session – 6pm – Teleconference
For help with Zoom, read the Instructions for Joining and Participating in a Webinar or see Zoom’s Frequently Asked Questions.
Phone: 1-253-215-8782 or 1-301-715-8592
Meeting ID: 867 3442 6794
Washington County To Listen To Community Input About Housing Shelter At The Econolodge In Hillsboro Central Business District
Well, the City may be taking their time and looking at a site on the edge of town to avoid conflicts that often happen with unhoused individuals, but the County is not being so measured. In our story two weeks ago we broke the news on the Econo Lodge Hotel (60 Rooms) being purchased by Washington County for a homeless shelter for up to 60 people. They have done so without any community input or support for the location itself. With money from Project Turnkey, this shelter will overnight bring a very large homeless population into the 10th Avenue business district. Nobody thinks this will have a good effect on the businesses or residential properties there.
In a damn the torpedoes move the Hotel has already been purchased and reviewed and is about ready to close at a price of 6.2 million dollars. That money comes from the State of Oregon and from Taxpayers like you and me. This week on Wednesday you can attend an online meeting and listen to a presentation and give your feedback. At this point, it does not mean anything will change but a list of concerns and questions will be recorded for feedback and input.
Meeting Info for Project Turnkey Homeless Shelter Meeting
Project Turnkey Hillsboro Virtual Community Meeting
Wednesday, May 19, 2021, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Attend by video chat: Zoom Meeting Link
Attend by phone: call 669-900-6833, enter ID # 883 5845 7457
A Spanish interpreter will be in attendance at the virtual meeting. If you require an interpreter for another language, please request one via e-mail at Shelters@co.washington.or.us.
The Herald has had trouble getting emails through to the County staff at the email provided above. Julie McCloud, Washington County Public Information Officer provided this alternative email and more ways to get involved.
An alternate email address is Housing@co.washington.or.us. The public may also call staff at 503-846-4722 to express their views regarding the project if they are unable to attend the meeting on Wednesday. Please note that this is not official “testimony” but rather an opportunity for local residents and business owners to learn about the program, give feedback and ask questions.
Lastly, the County is wrapping up a process known as the Request For Program Qualifications for agencies wishing to be involved with Washington County to support the homeless population. Groups that qualify will be in line to receive funds for a wide variety of services, including housing. All part of the METRO Supportive Housing Services program which taxes companies and high-wage individuals at 1% of net revenue. The County had about $16 Million dollars last year to spend on programs and housing support and this year that number may hit $90,000,000 and that number can climb for years to come.
Here is more about the program to explain how this will work and what the priorities are.