River City Camp is No More, After Tight Rotation Local Churches Throw in The Towel

The deadline passed over the weekend and River City camp is no longer available for Grays Harbor’s homeless. Fifteen residents were given supplies and moved out of the parking lot near the Aberdeen High School over the weekend, two have found a home since our last story.

The camp was formed in June of 2015 after several people were evicted from private property along the Chehalis River in Aberdeen. The Amazing Grace Lutheran Church hosted river city camp first and last. While the sites have hosted between 10 and 20 people at time sources tell us they have helped hundreds move on from the streets to affordable living arrangements.

Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers has worked closely with the camp and their hosts over the past two years, “We had established a kind of understanding of how this was going to work, and expectations of what was going to be happening, and what wasn’t going to be happening.”

Myers said the camp spent more time on his side of Myrtle Street than in Aberdeen. He added during a recent CoffeeeTalk interview, “We actually received a lot of positive feedback from the residents that felt safe, they felt it was a good place to be. And the churches did a really good job of keeping track of that and being part of the community not in spite of the community. And that’s really the key of what we need to be doing, I think, in our society.”

After three months at Amazing Grace, Hoquiam First Presbyterian Church hosted the site then the Hoquiam Baptist Church followed by Our Lady of Good Help in Aberdeen. The camp went back to Hoquiam First Presbyterian before ending up at the Amazing Grace Lutheran Church. While no timeline was ever imposed in Aberdeen, the churches agreed to host the camp for 90 days at a time. The city of Hoquiam in late 2015 adopted an ordinance specifying a maximum of 120 days.

Pastor Val Metropoulos said that May 13th marked the end of the 5th month that the camp has been with Amazing Grace. She said that her congregation would be happy to host the camp again in the rotation, but they don’t want to impose too much on neighbors and supporters by hosting the camp for extended periods of time.

The group Revival of Grays Harbor worked with volunteers and homeless advocates to put together supply kits. New tents and tarps from a recent taco feed at the church were also given to the remaining fifteen campers as they were removed from the parking lot Saturday.

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