During the Olympia City Council meeting on January 14th, city staff stated that the decision was made to abandon the 4th Avenue Bridge project because, “No housing or behavioral health organization, with the capacity, stepped up to manage the site.”
First Christian Church and the Concerned Clergy of Olympia have offered time and time again to take on supporting and managing the camp.
Are we to believe then that The City backed out of the 4th Avenue Bridge project because the CCO and FCC are not housing or behavioral health organizations?
Concern about the qualifications or capacity of faith-based groups was not an issue when the city left it to the faith communities to host Camp Quixote—a project that to this day is still recognized and upheld as a success. It wasn’t an issue when the original version of O.M.C 18.50 was adopted, which authorized only faith communities to host tent communities. It wasn’t an issue when the City came to the CCO in 2018, asking if any of them could host or manage a temporary community on their properties. It wasn’t an issue when The City asked FCC to move the 4th Ave Bridge Community to their property, just days after the Council stayed the sweep in September of 2019.
The decision by the City to back out of this project is not about the qualifications or capacity of FCC and the CCO, or about liability or absence of willing partners; It is about exhaustion, fear, and a lack of will to follow through on this project.