Aberdeen City Council vote to close TASL; comment on Basich Blvd project

At the Aberdeen City Council meeting on Wednesday the councilmembers, minus John Maki who was absent, met via teleconference for what was said to be the first virtual meeting of the city leadership.

At the meeting the council was limited to items that were routine or related to the current emergency proclamation issued by Mayor Pete Schave.

On the agenda was a recommendation from the Ad Hoc Committee of Homeless Response to close the Temporary Alternative Shelter Location, or TASL, due to lack of non-city funding. 

In that report, read to councilmembers and the public listening in on muted phones, it stated that the closure was due to a lack of funding despite requests both within the county and statewide to support operations. 

In a written public comment submitted to the council from Chaplains on the Harbor, they expressed concerns and opposition to the closure, stating that “When one group of people is made more vulnerable” it places everyone at risk as these people move from place to place. It also stated that with added regulations and the current “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, it placed those without a home to shelter in at a loss for a safe space to be.

Following the report from the Public Safety Committee, the council voted unanimously to  close the TASL on May 15. There was no discussion on possible re-opening.

Also heard through public comment was a question from Dr. Ed Brewster on the status of repairs for Basich Boulevard which collapsed and was closed in December

In a statement from Mayor Pete Schave, he stated that the delay was due to funding challenges. In January the city reported that they would look for funding for a full design and construction support, and that work would  be completed within 8 months.

Mayor Schave added on Wednesday that they are “looking for funding” and the council would be able to use money from the General Fund if they chose to do so.

Councilman Tim Alstrom reported that the discussion would be on the next Public Works Committee agenda.