Dear Friends and Neighbors,
You cannot live in Clackamas County without noticing people who are homeless. Even out here in rural Damascus we have had people living in their cars parked on our dead end road. This is a community problem that affects us all. There are many stereotypes, myths and negative perceptions of the houseless but it is important to remember that the NUMBER ONE CAUSE OF HOMELESSNESS IS LACK OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
Project Turnkey aims to reduce homelessness by acquiring hotels/motels and providing transitional housing with on-site wraparound services. In 2020, at the start of the pandemic and a devastating forest fire season that resulted in the loss of over 4000 Oregon homes (including 139 Clackamas County homes), the Oregon legislature awarded 65 million dollars for the first iteration of Project Turnkey. With the Oregon Community Foundation as grant manager and fiscal agent, Project Turnkey 1.0 was implemented in 13 counties and resulted in a statewide 20% increase in non-aggregate shelter housing.
The Oregon Legislature is poised to commit an additional 50 million dollars for Project Turnkey 2.0 and Clackamas County is in the process of applying. They have identified the Quality Inn, at the intersection of I-205 and Sunnyside Road as an optimal location. Having attended Board of Commissioners meetings in person and by Zoom, clearly there has already been a tremendous amount of time, study and energy put into this process by the Commissioners and their partners. The Clackamas County DA's Office and Sheriff's Department are very supportive of Project Turnkey. Kaiser Sunnyside, which is right across the street from the Quality Inn, is also in support.
Key points from the plan include the following:
1. Services will be provided onsite by experienced and successful service providers, in close collaboration with county oversight, the sheriff's office and the surrounding community.
2. Security features will include 24/7 on-site staff, perimeter cameras and walks, and fencing.
3. Drugs and alcohol will not be allowed. Weapons will not be allowed. Camping outside the building will not be allowed.
4. Residents must be referred; walk-up services will not be offered.
5. A transparent line of communication with neighbors will remain open.
6. Intended for people who may benefit from structure, support and skill-building to address issues that led to their homelessness and move into stable housing.
7. On-site services will include behavioral and physical health, case management, housing placement, counseling, financial education, conflict resolution, and healthy food.
Clackamas County Commision Chairperson Tootie Smith has clearly been the most positive about this initiative. Other Commissioners have been opaque or wavering in their views. There has been significant opposition to Project Turnkey by some Happy Valley residents and businesses. The Clackamas Land and Housing Cohort, of which I am a member, is asking you to inform yourself about Project Turnkey. We anticipate that once you realize how successful this model has been in other communities and counties, you will also be willing to support this initiative.
Please join me in attending the Commissioners meeting where they will make the final vote for Project Turnkey. WEAR GREEN! Make a sign in support!
6:00pm, Thursday February 16th.
Public Services Building, 2051 Kaen Rd. Oregon CIty, OR.
Please feel free to call me (503-806-94980) if you would like more information or to discuss this further. And please consider showing up for the Commissioners meeting on February 16th. Let's get this done!
Attached are multiple links to help you better understand Project Turnkey.
Yours in Christ, Mary Steinberg, Alison Calsy, Deb Hibbs, Debi Stromberg, Jan Mallory, Shirley Peterson
Creator Members of the Clackamas Land and Housing Cohort