Planning Commission on Helping Hands
Tuesday evening’s planning commission meeting opened to a packed house. Many residents there to weigh in on the second item on the agenda…a proposed land use change for the vacant building just south of Roby’s Furniture and Appliance. Helping Hands is wanting to open a space so that it can provide meals to those in need. There were many against the proposed site, but not necessarily the mission. Planning Director Wendy Farley-Campbell:
“No one was against the concept or the non-profit’s mission, they just thought it was not a good location due to its proximity next to the neighbor with a lot of houses just to the east of it.”
Farley-Campbell says that Helping Hands has been consistently looking for appropriate locations that are already zoned for their needs, but supply of those types of properties has been limited. The commission decided for the moment to wait on a decision:
“They decided to continue the hearing to june 27th and the purpose for them continuing is that there were materials that were received by the planning commission from Helping Hands as late as yesterday afternoon.”
The planning commission wanted more time to review the documents before rendering a decision.
Debe Hamilton and Lois Bass with Helping Hands say time is running out for their organization. They say they have been trying to find a new location in order to be able to feed the underserved in the community but that it has been difficult to find landlords willing to rent to them. They say they got lucky with the current building they are hoping to lease.
“He’s even helping us with some of the work that needs to be done. For example we have to put in an ADA bathroom and an entrance with a ramp.”
According to Bass, the difficulties to overcome are mainly financial. With all of the upgrades it will take additional money that she says is not currently available. The planning commission is asking them to improve the parking which will require adding more paved spaces and that will take another $15,000. They are currently still working out of the United Methodist Church, but that will not last much longer.
“We had to go to reverend Carroll of the United Methodist Church and ask her if she would continue letting us work and we have her assurance that we can work through the end of July, but it is making it very tight for us.”
They said it is very likely that if they don’t get the money to pave the parking lot Helping Hands could cease to exist. A scenario they believe would have a very negative effect on the community.
A logging truck struck the southbound entrance to the Umpqua Bridge in Reedsport. At first authorities were concerned that it might be closed for up to a month, but ODOT inspectors got to the scene quickly and determined that the damage was not significant enough to warrant a long term closure. It took several hours before traffic was allowed to cross the bridge. ODOT spokesperson Jared Castle said the driver left the scene:
“We’re working with OPS because the truck that hit it pulled its equipment down and it’s a hit and run.”
Motorists can expect 20 minute delays as repairs begin. ODOT has opened one lane to southbound traffic.