Newport area activist Bill Kucha asked the Newport City Council to create an information wall that would put the city on record as supporting certain causes for the benefit of the planet and for the people that live on it. Kucha asked the council to create modest memorials for those fighting climate change and for those who are supporters of womens’ rights. Especially reproductive rights.
But City Councilor David Allen urged the council take it slow with such a request. Allen asked, “Would the political statements represent those who work at city hall or all those who live within the city limits of Newport?” And he quickly pointed out that not all residents agree with the basic position of the plaques or memorials – whatever they turn out to be. City Councilor David Allen urged the council to first establish a city policy for displaying statements or declarations in city hall.
City Manager Spencer Nebel said he would take the proposal under advisement and bring it back to a later city council meeting what might be a workable way to display those memorials dedicated to stopping fossil fuel degradation of the Earth’s atmosphere as well as uplifting womens’ rights, including the right to abortions and birth control. Some sort of decision on all of this is expected next month.
The City Council responded to complaints about a homeless shelter/resource center at 431 NE 1st in Newport – allegations of trash, human waste and bad behavior. Mayor Pro Tem Dietmar Goebel also noted that Newport’s homeless situation is not getting any better – worse in fact. Other councilors agreed with him.
The shelter, named Grace Wins, is run by Traci Goff Flowers who has made the shelter very successful at providing harsh weather shelter, food, clothing, medical referrals, employment, and other services necessary for life.
But on the down side, neighboring businesses complain to city hall that the area is innundated with homeless people who hang around, some of whom defecate, panhandle and generally makes nuisances of themselves. And it’s said it’s hurting local businesses.
The City Council sympathized with the businesses but also acknowledged that Grace Wins is providing a vital service and that they have applied for non-profit status which would allow it to receive tax deductible donations. Grace Wins is also on the main bus route so people who stay there during the cold winter months have low cost transportation to and from their jobs.
City Manager Spencer Nebel informed the council that Grace Wins has applied for non-profit status which will help Goff and her troops acquire grants and donations to help grow their effort to meet the needs of Newport’s homeless. The council agreed to bring the matter back up at a City Council meeting next month.