The Hillsboro Herald has been a leader in coverage of the issues facing our communities in regard to homelessness. No one likes the options or having to face this problem but there is no escaping it. Our housing policies and city-wide gentrification are only part of the reasons we are facing a rapid rise in the number of people living out in the open. In our two-part series on the shelter that Hillsboro has planned at NE 17th Avenue and Tualatin Valley Highway, we broke down the economics and laws involved. Read those stories here.
This past week the City announced that the shelter is moving ahead and they are seeking public input. The shelter has the potential to help a lot of people in need. It will also bring more issues with it; that is a given. The west end of our city is a place where these issues have festered for too long. Dairy Creek Park, as lovely as it can be, is a dangerous place. Needle exchanges happen in the parking lot on a regular basis and garbage and drug use seem rampant. So something has to change.
The location is sort of low-hanging fruit. No one else wanted it for a restaurant or retail use, so the purchase by the City seemed to be predestined. With millions and millions of dollars pouring into cities and counties from the Metro Supportive Housing Services Tax we will see more and more shelters and services going in. This will be the first full-time shelter in the City if not the county. Getting this right is super important for all of us. No one wants this problem in their backyard. A shelter could have been placed at the Washington County Fairgrounds, near Jackson School, Tanasbourne, or South Hillsboro. Those are “nice” areas, and this problem is destined to be relegated to less populated and popular locations. But it will be at our Western entrance right next to the “Welcome To Hillsboro” sign and our beloved Pioneer Cemetery. Sort of an immediate reminder to everyone coming into town that there are no guarantees in life- not a house or a home and not to even exist. Oh but for the grace of God, there go I.
Do I love this location for this? No. Is this needed and is it time? Yes, way past time and we all know that. Homeless humans are not on the decline but rather on a rapid incline. We need options for them. Once we have options the City can set expectations and pass laws to handle how we fairly treat people and comply with the Martin VS Boise decision.
The Herald has a call into City Hall to see where we are at with Martin VS Boise. This shelter and others may give Hillsboro enough shelter beds to forbid camping and sleeping on public property. Certainly this is shelter is designed to be a step in that direction. We will circle back on that issue in the next few days.
NOW READ BELOW – TURN UP AND TURN OUT – Get your voices heard folks
THE 411: From The City Media Release- Info to Attend-
Do you use Dairy Creek Park? Are you a resident or business owner/employee near the future shelter site at the corner of SW 17th Ave and TV Hwy?
If so, we want to hear from you on key elements of the future shelter project.
Please join us for upcoming focus groups/listening sessions for those who live work or play near the future project site to learn more and provide feedback.
Virtual and In-person options are offered. Spanish language will be available at both events.
Focus group/listening sessions have been created as an opportunity to learn more about this project and provide feedback on elements of the project including:
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