Ontario city council declines to endorse Euvalcree shelter proposal, dooming the project

Gustavo Morales, executive director of Euvalcree, speaks at the public hearing last Friday. (The Enterprise/Liliana Frankel)

ONTARIO – Euvalcree’s ambitious plan to convert the Red Lion Inn & Suites into transitional housing was definitively rejected by the city council Tuesday after a public hearing June 25 failed to demonstrate sufficient support for the project. 

The state’s Project Turnkey was slated to fund the venture through the Oregon Community Foundation. The foundation required a letter of support for the project from the city to release the funds. Euvalcree, a local non-profit, aimed to oversee the project. 

During the two-hour hearing June 25, Euvalcree’s executive director, Gustavo Morales, answered questions from Ontario residents, councilors John Kirby, Ken Hart, and Eddie Melendrez, and Mayor Riley Hill regarding the finances, logistics and operations of the shelter. Still some of the details of the project were not clear enough for some of the councilors. 

“Quite frankly it looks as though we’d be funding something with no plan,” said Councilor John Kirby, the project’s most vocal detractor, before the vote.  “We’ve set a standard for the way that we move, the way that we work. Let’s be collaborative.”

Councilor Michael Braden disagreed.

“(Euvalcree doesn’t) have it all laid out for us to see right now, but they are a credible organization,” he said. 

In the end, Kirby’s side won out. 

Kirby, Hart, Hill and Councilors Freddy Rodriguez and Sam Baker voted against endorsing the shelter. Melendrez and Councilor Michael Braden voted in favor of endorsing the shelter. 

News tip? Contact reporter Liliana Frankel at [email protected] or 267-981-5577.


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