Contact: Thomas Hottman
One of the key components of the effort to build a "human services campus" on South Sixth Street is moving forward and that's good news.
The Klamath Falls Gospel Mission, a valuable Klamath Falls asset whose leadership had previously announced its intent to relocate from 823 Walnut Ave. downtown to the former site of West One car dealership on South Sixth Street, has scheduled a lunch and program at the site June 14 to provide more details about the project.
The land is located on South Sixth Street near the railroad overpass, where work has already started on the building. The facilities eventually will include, in addition to the mission, a sobriety station, a satellite Klamath Basin Behavioral Health office for mental health services and geothermal thermal greenhouses, job skills programs and mentoring services.
The facilities will be operated separately, but the location allows easier coordination with each other that means faster and better handling for those in need of its services.
The site was purchased for the project by Sky Lakes Medical Center, which has been working on it with the local Klamath Works organization.
Mission leaders hope to begin construction by March and have raised more than $1 million toward the $2.35 million project. It will include a 44-bed men's facility, a women's shelter for 16 women and a dining hall for 144 people.
Originally, the mission's expansion plans called for construction of a new women's shelter across the street from the present shelter, then another location in the downtown area in a former church was considered, but ran into public resistance.
Meanwhile, the Klamath Works organization was looking for another location which would combine several needed services in one location and selected the West One location.
This should be a step forward for Klamath Falls, especially since it includes an emphasis on job skills. Together with local efforts to improve community health and educational attainment, and touching another part of Klamath Falls that needs help, it shows a strong effort by the local community to solve some major problems.