CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The Benton County Board of Commissioners voted to contribute a $60,000 funding match for this year’s cold men’s shelter with the location still up in the air.
The vote comes just one day after Corvallis City Council members voted to provide $60,000 of the city’s money in support of the SW Second Street location.
Just last month, county commissioners withdrew the funding match following controversy surrounding the shelter.
"We have people who ... the same behavior, exchanging drugs, defecating, and many people with those services provided in this family area here ... we're going to see an impact with all of our businesses, impact with the neighborhood, impact with downtown," said Kent Buys, owner of Troubadour Music Center in Corvallis.
Despite controversy coming from the community about the Second Street location, there are some community members who hope to see the shelter on SW Second Street.
“We have a centralized location for the services that are planning to go in there from the men's shelter to the soup kitchen and the Corvallis daytime drop-in center,” Corvallis resident Chis McFarland said. “To have those in one location is not only a necessity but it makes sense."
Others are neutral about the location.
“We're a community-owned grocery store. We're here for the community,” said Jim Mitchell, board president of First Alternative Co-Op, a grocery store in the downtown area. “We want to support the activities and the community, and these folks are part of our community, so we're there for them. We just don't want to have to take an impact we can’t otherwise cover."
Mitchell said he's worried about theft and loitering after experiencing those issues with last year's cold men's shelter.
Commissioners say the $60,000 contribution will go to support a shelter, despite the location.
A site location was not discussed at the meeting Tuesday because commissioners said they need more time and open conversations with the community to reach a decision.
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