On Thursday, September 27, in response to the ongoing issue of homelessness in our
community, and in particular in response to how the increase in the number of the homeless is
affecting our city parks, city staff met to formulate short term and long term strategies to address
both the needs of the homeless, and the broader community. A press release was issued outlining
the plan for responding to this emerging issue. At the September 27 City Council meeting, the
Council gave City Manager Sacha direction to, among other things, coordinate and communicate
with the Cowlitz County Department of Health and Human Services for the immediate
protection and enhancement of public health, safety and welfare and to take other such necessary
actions as needed to protect and enhance the health and safety of all area residents.
Homelessness is an issue facing communities throughout the United States. While being
sensitive to the needs and rights of the homeless, we must simultaneously preserve the quality of
the services, including our public areas and parks, that all citizens value. With regard to our
parks, these areas simply do not contain the facilities needed to provide adequate shelter to the
homeless. Yet, we find an increasing number of the homeless using parks to provide their
housing (through temporary make-shift encampments) and sanitation (by using park restroom
facilities), and at a level beyond our capacity to serve. Consequently, it is necessary to declare an
emergency so that this situation can be addressed.
Consistent with LMC 10.60.010, City Manager Sacha has declared an emergency exists and that
immediate action is needed to protect the public peace, safety and welfare. The City will be
working with other local governments to develop and implement strategies to address this issue.
The Longview City Council ratified and confirmed this proclamation at the October 11 City