After months of delays in establishing an overnight warming shelter for homeless residents of Lincoln City, the City Council Monday night established a process for doing just that. But they’re going have to move fast, because that’s the speed that winter is enroute to the Oregon coast.
City Councilors acknowledged a list of potential overnight shelter sites around town but also seemed to admit that the city’s Community Center might be the best choice.
But that drew the ire of Mayor Don Williams who complained that the old Taft Fire Hall (which he owns and collects rent on) is already a daytime homeless resource center but without overnight sleeping. Williams pointed out that the old fire hall already has the staff and the food and access to bedding and other necessities to transform it into a versatile overnight facility. He said dragging around a small army of homeless “attendants” currently based at the old fire hall would be very inefficient and make things too complicated.
City Manager Ron Chandler seemed to reluctantly accept that observation, but he pointed out that other sites around town might do just fine.
After a lot of back and forth the council agreed to let Chandler study the situation and come back with a firm proposal. The council said the cold weather is breathing down the necks of the homeless and that they need to find out where they can go to get out of the cold and rain.
Councilors said they wanted the situation wrapped up and organized by mid-November – which is well into the bad weather season. One councilor lamented that they’ve been talking about this problem for months with very little progress. Several councilors seemed very sensitive to citizen complaints that they don’t want a homeless warming and sleeping shelter in their neighborhoods.