County to Open Monmouth Satellite Resource Center | News

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Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the Itemizer-Observer March 2. We are re-running it in its entirety after the town of Monmouth made several corrections to the original copy.

Work to provide better access to basic services for families and individuals in cooperation with Independence and Polk County began at the February 15 meeting of Monmouth City Council.

These services are now provided by Polk County Resources in Dallas, and Monmouth and Independence are seeking to have the county provide a satellite site that would make the services more accessible to residents of Monmouth and Independence than they have been.

The proposed site is the Ash Creek Annex, located at 1483 16th St. N, Monmouth. It is owned by the Central School District, which is ready to lease the site beginning March 1.

Basic needs provided by the Polk Resource Center (PRC) include food, hygiene products, diapers and formula, transportation assistance, household items, school supplies, pet food and emergency financial assistance.

Monmouth and Independence would reimburse the county, up to $25,000 for March through the end of the fiscal year using ARPA funds for the cost of operating the RPC at the satellite site. The county would operate the site eight hours a day, three days a week, with the option of possibly adding one or two days. It would staff the site with qualified employees, at least one of whom would be bilingual (English and Spanish).

Council authorized City Manager Marty Wine to sign the agreement.

In other matters, the board voted, subject to the agreement of Independence and Western Oregon University, to disband the Western-Independence-Monmouth Public Educational Government (WIMPEG) community access cable channel. The online delivery of public programs and the demise of cable television have allowed cities to provide their own broadcast services at lower cost.

City Manager Marty Wine said Independence appears to be in favor of the change and WOU’s legal team is working on it.

Councilor John Oberst suggested that the city use the savings for the sound system for the new city hall.

Monmouth Senior Community Center leaders have urged council to allow three more residents than the currently permitted out-of-town resident to sit on the centre’s board. Barbara Cronin, the center’s manager, noted that about 40% of the center’s users live out of town, even as far away as Woodburn, and the board has three vacancies.

“I learned that we are now attracting members from 12 cities, previously six, who come for the friendship and the programming,” said board chairman Pat Ohlsen.

Councilor Jon Carey said he was in favor of the proposal with one caveat, that a Monmouth resident should be needed for a quorum.

“A problem could be carried by three people outside Monmouth,” he said. “I prefer 6-3 to 5-4 decisions.”

Ohlsen said he worked hard on board member unity and never noticed any disunity on the board.

City Attorney Lane Shetterly said passage of the proposal could be achieved at the council’s first meeting in March if the vote is unanimous.

On another topic, Mayor Cecilia Koontz reported that the Oregon House of Representatives Housing Committee had unanimously approved $1 million in funding for a pilot program to work with other county towns to address homelessness. The bill must then go to the ways and means committee, she said.

Wine reported that the police department has openings for a sergeant and an officer. She also noted that Chuck Thurman will be retiring as superintendent of electrical and lighting in April and that the city hopes to begin demolition of Old City Hall in March.


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