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In January 2020, the Lincoln City Council adopted a resolution authorizing the conveyance of properties at 3454 NE Highway 101 and 2202 NE 34th Street to Helping Hands Re-Entry Outreach Centers (HHRC) to be used for transitional housing. The City Council also provided appropriation for a $350,000 loan to HHRC for renovation of the properties.

With the entire inside cleared out, Helping Hands discovered an issue with a retaining wall that’s going to cost a pretty penny.

At the Dec. 14 city council meeting, the city discussed authorizing an additional $250,000 for the project to stabilize a leaning retaining wall that was lacking reinforced steel causing the building to shift 7-12 inches since it was originally built, according to Alan Evans of HHRC.

“It kind of pushes us way outside of our budget to make it happen,” Evans said. “We have two other capitol projects going on at the same time… raising that money outside the capitol project is something that would make us compete with ourselves right now, and be almost impossible to pull off.”

Aside from the retaining wall, Evans said fixing it would push the project to a point where underground utilities would also need to be redone, farthing increasing costs.

“This is a major issue,” Evans said. “We can work through small issues within the range of what we are capable of doing. We don’t force anything else, but this issue needs to get fixed whether we do it or not because it’s a danger to the property next door.”

Councilor Riley Hoagland asked Evans if a building inspection had been done prior to the purchase of the property. Evans stated that an environmental inspection was done, but a home inspection wasn’t.

“I don’t know how a 12 foot lean didn’t get noticed at all… and now, however many months it’s been, now it’s coming up. I find that to be a big problem,” Hoagland said.

All councilors acknowledged that a mistake was made by not having an inspection, but councilor Rick Mark felt that the city had no choice but to approve the loan considering the amount of commitment already made to the project. Hoagland disagreed.

“We put that trust in him,” Hoagland said of Evans. “I don’t feel we as the city have to give any more money to him in order for (the repair) to be accomplished. He inspected it, he told us it was good, he told us the building would work and that’s where it stops.”

Mayor Dick Anderson reminded council that the properties would likely become the city’s responsibility if the project falls through, so repairs would need to be made regardless. Anderson also believes the cost to the city would exceed $250,000.

“I think the evaluation here is do we still have the need?” Anderson said of transitional housing in Lincoln City. “Do we want to fill that need? If not, what are you going to do with that asset (the city) purchased.”

The council made a motion to approve the additional $250,000 loan that will include a monthly payment of $1,991.17 over the next 25.11 years. The motion passed 5-1.

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