Warming shelter

The La Grande City Council considers testimony Wednesday night concerning the conditional use appeal that has delayed the opening of the town's warming station.

LA GRANDE — The La Grande City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to deny an appeal that has delayed the opening of the Union County Warming Station.

Roughly 200 people attended the hearing for the shelter's conditional use permit in the commons area at the La Grande Middle School. The council heard from dozens of residents on both sides of the issue over the span of almost four hours.

Many in favor of the appeal said homelessness is a major issue in the community, but a warming station at 2008 Third St. near downtown La Grande is not a good fit. Those against the appeal and in favor of opening shelter often stressed how urgently the homeless need the facility.

City councilors for the most part said they needed to stick to determining if the shelter would create "serious adverse effects" in the neighborhood, but they had not heard convincing evidence to make that case.

City Planner Mike Boquist at the end of the meeting said he would mail notifications about the council vote to the parties involved, which would trigger a 21-day period to allow an appeal to the state Land Use Board of Appeals.

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