Corvallis debates locations for tent city for homeless

Corvallis debates locations for tent city for homeless

CORVALLIS, Ore. --- The City Council in Corvallis is debating on establishing a campground or tent city for the homeless.

The possible locations? Avery Park, Willamette Park or BMX park.

"It's not the end all, we certainly don't want people camping for their lifetime...it is just a temporary stop gap." Aleita Hass-Holcombe said, the Chair of the Corvallis Homeless Shelter Coalition.

After the seasonal Corvallis Shelter closed down in March, the homeless people living there are now back on the street, and now Hass-Holcombe and other homeless activists are asking the city council for a specified legal place for them to live.

Problem is, people of Corvallis are weary of such a place near their homes and families.

Kristin Silbernagel, of Corvallis was initially weary, "My Concern would be around a park, especially around young children, and things like that," But she feels the issue is important, "They need a place in Corvallis."

Hass-Holcombe said those fears are unfounded she has worked with the homeless for years. "A lot of people that I've gotten to know over the past few years, there is not much to be fearful about."

Richard Kelly Plunkett, or "Bear" as he prefers to be called, is a homeless man in Corvallis, "We're profiled, they think everyone who is homeless is either a thief a drug addict or an alcoholic." he said.

 

Plunkett does admit however that there are a percentage of homeless people that pose a threat by stealing or other crimes, but that also goes for the general population, "Most of the people I know, the so called bums, we don't do that."

At the meeting Charlie Tomlinson, the mayor of Corvallis said peoples worries are given the utmost importance. "There is great sensitivity about where we will have a homeless camp if we have one, its all about the neighbors around the location we may choose." He said most people think it is a good idea, no one just wants it near their home. "It's called not in my backyard, something we call NIMBY and we have to work through that, and we have three possible sights to consider."

And while they consider that, Plunkett and those like him in Corvallis are stuck between a rock, and a hard place.

 "In a lot of cases were good people, were just down and out," Plunkett said.