No action on winter campground use

 

Last updated 11/22/2022 at Noon

JIM CORNELIUS

Creekside Campground has been floated as a possible site for winter camping for the homeless —but no actual proposal has been made.

A small storm of rumor has been brewing in town regarding the possibility of Creekside Campground becoming a location for houseless camping this winter.

According to Mayor Michael Preedin, “No one has currently come forward with a proposal to use the campground in the winter. No one on the City Council or City staff has made such a request.”

At a town hall on houselessness in October, when responding to a hypothetical question about using the campground for a houseless camp in the winter, Councilor Andrea Blum commented that if someone brought a proposal to City Council, they would listen. Several attendees seemed to take that as a green light, but no one has gone to the City to discuss the plan or ask if it would be possible.

In a later interview with Blum, she clarified what she meant by her comment at the town hall.

“If there is a group with an idea and a plan, the City Council will listen to it,” she Blum. “That doesn’t mean I think it will work or that we would approve something, but we don’t deny something out of hand. Given the barriers and public sentiment, I doubt very seriously we would approve it. But I can’t speak for the whole City Council.”

There has been talk around town that “they” are organizing to use the campground, but “they” haven’t been identified nor has anyone brought a proposal to City Hall. The Cold Weather Shelter board told City Recorder Kerry Prosser the organization is not involved in the effort.

Preedin indicated that public sentiment is clearly divided regarding winter usage of the campground for houseless camping. It is an issue that would require a great deal of community discussion. There are a number of big obstacles to the plan, including a restroom that can’t be used in the winter, and a deed restriction on uses of the property.

“Creekside Campground is essentially a park the City loans out for a fee to the public for camping during the summer,” Preedin said.

With the extensive use the campground receives from April through October, the winter months provide for restoration of the grounds, and maintenance repairs and improvements. The summer camping fees are a big source of revenue for the City to help maintain all the City parks.

 

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