Ella Vogel (left) and Leita Bibler.Senior Center's future in current location at risk posted on 02/01/2021
The Hoodland Senior Center faces an uncertain future as
Clackamas County considers ending ownership of the building the center has
occupied since 2012.
Senior Center director Ella Vogel noted Representatives of
Clackamas County Social Services told the local not-for-profit in July 2020 to
prepare for the sale of their current venue.
“There’s a good possibility we’d have to shut down,” Vogel
said about the possible loss of the venue.
County representatives have been unable to provide a
decision on the sale or a timeline for the not-for-profit to find a new
community space since the July announcement, leaving the center concerned about
its ability to continue to provide the community services it currently offers.
The building that the Hoodland Senior Center occupies was
originally built by the U.S. Forest Service as an information center. Clackamas
County Tourism and Cultural Affairs purchased the building following the
closure of the information center and entered into an agreement to rent the
property to the senior center for $1 a month in 2012.
The center’s lease with the county states, “because the
property was purchased with transient room tax revenue, this arrangement must
have a “tourism” benefit to justify the occupation by a lessee for below market
value rent. This arrangement will benefit the traveling public by making public
restroom facilities available.”
Vogel noted that the senior center’s lease includes an
agreement to purchase all supplies for the public restrooms and to keep them
clean. The lease details that all maintenance and repairs of the building are
the responsibility of the county.
The county tourism department implemented a 75 percent
budget cut as a result of pandemic related tourism revenue shortages in May of
2020. At that time the oversight of the senior center building was transferred
to the social services department. The county has made a decision to evaluate
continued ownership of the building due to revenue shortages.
“The income we have to keep facilities is gone,” said
Kimberly Dinwiddie, Clackamas County public information officer.
The county has not yet begun an evaluation of the building.
The evaluation will factor in maintenance and repair costs including a new
Dinwiddie stated that “all options are on the table” and
that the county will begin “gathering facts to form opinions” to present their
findings to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) in the summer. A decision
on the building is expected to be made by the BCC in the fall.
“These conversations are very early,” Dinwiddie said. “We’re
a long way from making a decision.”
The Senior Center offers programs and provides opportunities
that promote independent living for senior adults aging in place in the
county’s rural communities.
The Senior Center uses its current location to provide a
Meals on Wheels program for seniors 60 years of age or older in Alder Creek,
Sandy, Brightwood, Rhododendron and Welches. The organization provides medical
rides, food boxes, energy assistance and information and assistance connecting
with Clackamas County resources. The center serves as a meeting space for
community organizations such as local water districts, the Hoodland Women’s
Club, the Trillium Garden Club, classes, study groups, tai chi and the Welches
“We realize the Senior Center plays a pivotal role in our communities,
not only with the services it provides, but as a gathering place. We intend to
keep the community informed on the decision-making process,” Dinwiddie said.
The Hoodland Senior Center is located at 65000 E. Hwy. 26 in
the Mount Hood Village RV Resort and can be reached by phone at (503) 622-3331.
By Ben Simpson/MT