Hoquiam City Council opened with a moment of silence for Washington firefighters who had recently been lost while working to contain wildfires that still burn across the state. Once completed, the meeting got underway with Pastor Jeani Shofner of First Presbyterian in Hoquiam announcing that her church has stepped up to be the next to host the homeless encampment. The camp is currently situated at Amazing Grace Lutheran Church in Aberdeen. State law allows churches to host homeless camps such as these as a way in which congregants practice their faith. Camps are allowed on church premises for 90 days, and the time limit for Amazing Grace Lutheran run out on August 31.
Pastor Jeani explained that her church elders, with her support, decided to reach out to camp organizers and invite them to set up on their property after a meeting last week. Their church, located at 210 K Street in Hoquiam, has a large lot that will provide the space needed to host the camp. She reported that the decision has been met with mixed feelings from her congregation, but so far the response has been supportive overall, with only a few voices against the move at this point.
Pastor Jeani alerted the council and those present that their church organized a public meeting to discuss the move and answer questions last Thursday evening at 6pm at the church. Mayor Jack Durney voiced support for the move, stating the city of Hoquiam would welcome those who are part of the camp. Other business covered at the Hoquiam meeting included accepting a $10,000 grant for purchasing new radios for the police department. A representative from Renewable Energy Group was present and spoke briefly about the company's recent acquisition of the Imperium Renewables facility at the Port of Grays Harbor. He explained that the Iowa based biofuel company is pleased to now have a presence on the West Coast.
The next Hoquiam city council meeting will be held September 8.