City of Aberdeen moves forward with homeless shelter proposal

The City of Aberdeen saw a packed council chamber on Wednesday evening, largely due to an agenda item to consider submitting a proposal to receive funding to construct a homeless shelter facility in Junction City.

Details on Aberdeen Homeless Shelter Property Proposal

Prior Story: City of Aberdeen proposal on agenda to purchase property for homeless shelter

The recent discussion by the city is the latest iteration over the previous decade to address the local homeless population that faces community backlash. 

A line of citizens came forward during over an hour of public comment to speak out regarding the proposal. This included Superior Court Judges Vini Samuel and Katherine Svoboda as well as Lisa Perry of Sierra Pacific Industries against the location, supporters of the effort to make some kind of progress, community members both for and against, and many others.

Photo from Moyer Multimedia

City Administrator Ruth Clemens explained that the proposal came following community surveys, townhalls, and outreach with local partners. She stated that in planning concerns from the public included cost, location, and more.

Clemens noted that there were concerns with previous shelter attempts, including the length of time to set them up, the cost to operate a short-term temporary cold weather shelter being equivalent to a year-round shelter, lack of staff and supportive resources, and other issues.

The current proposal would be modeled after locations in Walla Walla, Ellensburg, and Moses Lake featuring 100 huts that cost approximately $3,500 each.

Each shelter guest would receive case management, including a housing stability plan. The goal would be to offer on-site behavioral health, benefit, education, job, substance abuse, and other resources.

Councilmember Stan Sidor noted during council comment that this action is to lead to the possibility of a solution because the community had asked for it.

Sidor said that the public has brought forward many concerns, and instead of shutting the entire process down the city should attempt to resolve the concerns as part of planning. 

Following discussion, a vote on the proposal was tied 6-6, with Mayor Orr voting in favor to move forward with the RFP submission before the deadline later this month.


Yea: Ellis, Maki, Newbill, Pieraccini, Prato, Sidor 

Nay: Carter, Gakin, Hodgkin, Lawrence, Morrison, Taylor

Tiebreaker: Orr