In response to the July 19 “As I See It” written by the Rev. Jennifer Butler regarding the West Hills Neighborhood Association, I would like to offer the following correction.
The WHNA Board proposal submitted to the Benton County Planning Commission (Page C160 of attachment to the staff report) and referenced by Terri Homer does not seek to control Safe Camp or to “protect neighborhoods from undesirable humans.”
The board proposal states “a community advisory committee would work to address the needs of the site residents and the surrounding neighborhood residents, and help solve community problems in real time.” The proposal seeks to bridge the gap between Safe Camp and the neighborhood with the goal of ensuring the long-term success of the site. It does not “seek to dictate who belongs in a neighborhood and who does not.”
The proposal is the result of one year’s experience and informed by best practices. The Rev. Butler describes the harassment of guests, but does not share how the board has worked to solve these problems on behalf of Safe Camp. The Rev. Butler’s article exemplifies the misunderstandings and communication challenges between the site host and the neighbors, which would easily be solved by a joint committee.
The HOPE Board is a wonderful forum for communitywide concerns, but cannot be expected to solve the daily issues and conflict resolution that this site requires.
The proposal seeks to increase collaboration, not reject it, with the idea that all stakeholders deserve a seat at the table.
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