One of the more unusual Corvallis City Council meetings in recent memory is set for 6 p.m. Monday at the Majestic Theatre, 115 SW Second St.
The main business for councilors is to hear three proposals for how to handle the men’s cold weather shelter and other social services in town. The meeting has been moved from the council’s usual downtown fire station location because of community interest in the issue.
Here is how the meeting will work: The council will start with a presentation and two land-use public hearings that are not expected to consume much time, and then dive into the shelter conundrum sometime between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., said Mayor Biff Traber.
The three presenters, Rich Carone, Catherine Mater and Shawn Collins, each will have 10 minutes to make their cases. Community comments will follow, with council deliberations to follow.
At stake is $60,000 in city funding for the men’s homeless shelter. The money was authorized in the 2018-19 city budget, but councilors still have to decide who gets the money. In recent years the shelter operation also has received $60,000 from Benton County, but that funding is up in the air pending a July 10 special meeting of the Board of Commissioners.
The shelter is scheduled to open Nov. 1.
Here is a look at the three proposals:
Collins, a United Way employee who serves as project manager for the Housing Opportunities Action Council, has proposed using a building at 545 SW Second St. to co-locate the men’s cold weather shelter, the Stone Soup meal service and the Corvallis Daytime Drop-in Center.
The HOAC, a coalition of nonprofits and government agencies, is charged with implementing the city-county plan to tackle homelessness. It is co-chaired by Traber and Benton County Commissioner Anne Schuster.
The shelter would be operated by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, which also was the fiscal agent for last year’s shelter at the old Hanson Tire Factory on Southeast Chapman Place. Its budget of approximately $165,000 is built on city and county contributions and private donations.
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Stone Soup and the Drop-in Center operate independent of the shelter and have their own funding sources. Both groups receive funding from the city’s annual social service allocations.
Proponents of the Second Street plan like the efficiency of the co-location aspect. Opponents say the downtown location is the wrong one.
Mater, an engineer and downtown property owner, is calling for the use of the old Flomatcher electronics manufacturing plant for the 2018-19 men's cold weather shelter season. Stone Soup and the drop-in center would remain at Corvallis church locations until the Carone building (see below) is ready to occupy.
The Flomatcher land is in Linn County and owned by the city of Corvallis. Linn County officials have strongly opposed the plan, citing development code that does not allow social services use on the property. Mater has sweetened the pot a bit by proposing the sale of the 10-acre parcel after the season to Linn County for use on possible Highway 34 bypass improvements.
Mater's proposal would require $7,000 for septic service and $5,000 to bring in water. She also proposes contracting with the First Student bus company to transport people to and from the city and building a boardwalk to help pedestrians and cyclists to get to Flomatcher. No costs were available for those two pieces.
Mater's presentation also includes suggested stipulations should the council award the money to backers of Second Street. She calls for the city to add lighting in the alley between the riverfront and Second Street and requiring security. Mater estimates that security to cover 14 hours per day, seven days per week would cost $135,000 for the season. Her plan calls for shelter operators to pay the cost.
Carone, a developer and 50-year Corvallis resident, is working with a group of investors to buy a site and build an 18,000-square-foot facility that would house the shelter, Stone Soup and the drop-in center, as well as transitional housing, medical and drug treatment spaces and employment counseling.
Carone’s proposal would cost up to $4 million, with $1.8 million for the building and $1 million to $2.2 million for land. He said he and his investors have $1.5 million in hand, with bank loans providing the remainder. The three social services would pay rent in the new building.
Possible sites for the consolidated facility include the Hanson building, Southside Marine on Highway 99W in South Corvallis and an undisclosed location in north Corvallis.
Carone’s timeline indicates the new building could be ready for occupancy by August 2019.