To the people of Lincoln City
For the last week you have probably heard a barrage of accusations and opinions against me as mayor and whether or not I used my office for personal financial gain. The questions surround the renting of a building that my wife and I own to the Warming Shelter group. This group had received a grant from the city to use toward aiding our homeless population; a grant that I, along with the entire city council, voted to approve.
At no time prior to or during the application and award process did I have any conversations with anyone associated with the Warming Shelter group except in open session during public meetings about this money.
Two years ago we donated the use of our building to the Warming Shelter group to use as an emergency shelter during the winter months. Debbie and I feel very strongly about doing all we can to help the less fortunate in our city. That was just one way that we were able to help. That was the extent of our relationship with the Warming Shelter group.
The following year the group chose to use a different facility closer to the center of town and we had no further conversations.
In September this year I was contacted by a representative of the Warming Shelter group who told me that the many options that they were pursuing for a shelter site fell through and they were in desperate need of a building or they would not be able to open this winter. The group wanted a temporary but full time time facility to meet and serve from. Working on a temporary set up and tear down basis within other sites was getting too taxing on the volunteers and the people that managed the buildings used as the shelter.
My wife and I determined an amount that would cover our cost and they agreed. We signed the lease for a four month period with an option for a fifth if weather dictated.
The space in question is a newly remodeled 2000 square foot area which includes a commercial kitchen, freezer, walk in refrigerator, clothes washer and dryer, shower facility ample parking and is one block from the highway. It also includes all utilities and trash. We did not require a security deposit or final month’s rent. This arrangement also required us to cancel events we had scheduled over the holiday period resulting in the loss of that revenue.
Looking back I can see how some might question the relationship; but I cannot. I can handle the criticism because it comes with the territory of being an elected official but I find it reprehensible to question the ethics of even a single person on the Warming Shelter board. There was no prior contact, no collusion no quid pro quo.
This amazing group of people that volunteer their time to help others approached me because they were in need. I said yes because I too want to help others. That is the end of the story and I would do it again if needed. As always I am available to talk I may be reached at 541-992-9494.
Mayor Lincoln City