The Grays Harbor Board of Commissioners on Tuesday called for a special meeting to be held at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the need for a temporary cold-weather shelter.
As overnight low temperatures were expected to be 33 degrees Tuesday night and well below freezing Wednesday through Friday nights, county officials were scrambling to find a site that could house people.
During a commission workshop Tuesday, Commissioner Randy Ross suggested that the Pearsall Building at 2109 Sumner Ave. in Aberdeen might be used as a temporary shelter. However, the building houses the county Public Health and Social Services department and sensitive documents would need to be kept secure.
The Union Gospel Mission was mentioned as a possible location; however, they want a paid security officer to be on site overnight.
The Polish Club, which opened as a temporary shelter last week, is not available, neither is the Salvation Army, senior center or Grays Harbor College buildings.
During Wednesday’s meeting, the commissioners will try to find a temporary site for a shelter along with addressing any staffing costs that might arise.
Commissioner Wes Cormier lamented a lack of planning and felt rushed into making a decision “at the 11th hour.”
Commissioner Vickie Raines challenged that it wasn’t for lack of trying.
“There was a lot of frustration on the county side,” Raines said. “I don’t agree that the department of health is late to the game. The staff has been trying very, very hard.”
She said that sometimes, multiple agencies working toward the same goal can make progress difficult.
The county has sought bids for temporary shelters, but any contracts wouldn’t start until Jan. 1.