Monday’s City Council meeting saw Lincoln City postponing a transitional housing deal, voting to vacate a portion of NW 44th Place for Chinook Winds’ Sky Bridge and passing a resolution making it a Class C misdemeanor to store vehicles in the right of way for more than 24 hours.
Transitional housing deal
The City’s plan to purchase property to provide transitional housing for Lincoln City’s homeless population was questioned by councilors who said the public might not have known what the City was up to.
The deal involves Lincoln City purchasing two lots, 3454 NE Highway 101 & 2201 NE 34th Street, for $400,000 — budgeted nearly a year ago — for Helping Hands Re Entry, who will be the owner. A $350,000 rehabilitation loan will be given to the outreach center to bring both buildings up to code and will be paid back over 20 years at $1,500 per month. Both the purchase of the property and the loan are secured with promissory notes and trust deeds. If Helping Hands does not use the property for transitional housing, the building will revert back to the City.
Councilors Rick Mark and Riley Hoagland felt citizens didn’t have ample notice about the proposed real estate transaction, despite a public hearing notice published in The News Guard newspaper Dec. 3.
“It’s not that easy to read this type on the public notice,” Mark said. “I think there might be a lot of people who are not as informed as they would like to be.”
Immediately following the councilor’s comments, City Manager Ron Chandler went into the details of the deal: Video @ 23:30
Chandler was thorough in his summation, giving background and including how the city council directed staff to budget money and look into homeless solutions nearly a year ago.
The council voted unanimously to close the public hearing, close the record and postpone the deal until Jan. 13.
Storing motor vehicles on streets
Resolution 2019-33, aimed at prohibiting vehicles stored in the right of way, passed 4-2 with councilors Mitch Parsons and Mark voting “nay.”
“What problem are we trying to solve here?” Councilor Mark said.
Lincoln City Police Chief Jerry Palmer testified before council that his officers were dealing with a vicious cycle. When police tag vehicles that have sat for over 72 hours, the owner of the vehicle has 72 hours to respond and can move it “10 feet,” restarting the process for about a week.
“Not once in the time that I’ve been here have we ever gone down and towed somebody’s vehicle that’s parked here on vacation or associated with a residence that I’m aware of,” Palmer said.
If a vehicle stored in the right of way is ticketed under the new city ordinance, it will be a Class C misdemeanor with an accompanying $500 maximum fine. By comparison, Oregon State law allows 72 hours for abandoned vehicles and is a Class B misdemeanor with a $1,000 fine.
City Attorney Richard Appicello pointed out the city manager is delegated authority for traffic and can make changes which could include allowing more time for parked vehicles in certain areas and reminded the council that police were good at determining if a vehicle is blight, abandoned, unregistered, uninsured or legitimate.
“It feels like a solution in search of a problem here,” Mark said. “Storage is defined as 72 hours, so we’re changing that to a more onerous burden, but I don’t even understand why it should be illegal if my son comes down for a week and parks his car and we do all the driving. Why am I now turning that car into an illegal violation?”
“I would just argue that it’s not a violation yet,” Mayor Dick Anderson replied. “It gets tagged. And unless I’m wong, tagging is not the violation. The tagging is the response either from a complaint from a neighbor, who has seen it here for a week, and is suspicious.”
“We’re trying to solve the problem of abandoned vehicles and discarded property being continually left in our right of ways with no real method of addressing that,” Palmer said.
In other council news, a unanimous vote approved a vacation for a portion of NW 44th Place at Chinook Winds Casino to facilitate an Americans with Disabilities Act compliant skybridge.