All over the Pacific Northwest we've been hearing about issues involving homeless camps, especially in Seattle (The Jungle) and Portland. It's spreading to other areas. It's not necessarily with the homeless themselves, but unfortunately the criminal element that acts like a weed in the lawn and inserts itself.

According to The Walla Walla Union Bulletin, the temporary homeless camp near the city golf course is going to be moved to another location, near Second Ave. and Monroe Streets, which is next to the police station and City Service Center.

Officials say they spoke with workers, and they are in favor of the idea. Officials also say it will give them at least another year to come up with a more workable plan on how to deal with the need for providing free shelter for those who are dire need.

City Manager Nabiel Shawa said, according to the Union Bulletin, the city is going to "put it's arms around this thing."  City officials admit the original tent and tarp 'facility' next to the Municipal Golf Course was probably not the best original idea, but it was the best that could be done in the short term with little preparation time.

City residents have made it very clear they want no part of such a facility by their neighborhoods, so the city is going to step up. Officials knew they had to come up with an idea, and actually were inspired by a guest letter to the editor in the paper who suggested the proposed location.

Reports indicate residents near the golf course and original facility came forward with stories of their property being gone through or vandalized, finding needles and other drug items in their yards, and violence. They also feared for the safety of their children.

Walla Walla officials are working with the Housing Authority to come up with security and procedural measures under which the new camp will be run. These include fencing, established hours of entrance and exit, requirements of the people who will use it, and other security mandates.

The plan will be presented soon to the Walla Walla City Council.  Officials believe by putting it next to the police station, they will avoid many of the problems found in Seattle and Portland.


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