The Hilarity Of This Puff Piece Is Impressive, Even For The Missoula Current

by Travis Mateer

When it comes to influence, it’s important to NOT underestimate people, even if they have “little fingers”. I think Martin “Gomer” Kidston understands this, considering his terrible reporting keeps my ten little fingers busy archiving what’s REALLY going on in Zoom Town.

The toy figure pictured above (which I will transform into art) was purchased earlier today at Secret Seconds, a great store that helps fund services for YWCA families. Or at least they used to, before customers got scared away by the location next to the Poverello Center and the sprawling encampment that ANYONE now sees as they come to downtown from the west.

Here’s an image from some footage I took on May 26th. It’s much worse now.

While this conversation about urban camping rages on, and a critical lack of funding is constantly being referenced by elected leaders, the Missoula Current piece that boggled my brain for this bonus post today is about the change-a-roo of plans to renovate a shitty motel just a couple hundred feet from the tent city that has ballooned at this location after Russell Street was cleaned up.

Some of the fun of this article includes the fact our CITY Council member, Heidi West, is ALSO a County Planner. I don’t think I knew that before today, so thanks Gomer!

From the link (emphasis mine):

An old West Broadway motel once eyed for renovation to provide transitional housing for homeless veterans in Missoula will be removed and replaced with a new facility, county officials said this week.

The Poverello Center in 2021 purchased the Clark Fork Inn using $1 million provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The city and county of Missoula each contributed $835,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding as well to help the Poverello secure the property and cover renovations.

But while the original plan envisioned rehabilitation, the project’s architect determined that new construction was the better and more cost-effective solution.

Did you know that EXPANDING projects makes them more “cost-effective”? I’m sure somehow this claim is technically accurate, but that doesn’t make some of the stuff that comes next any less galling, even IF we are talking about serving Veterans (emphasis mine):

“It was deemed more economical to take down the L-shaped building and construct 16 new units that would also better accommodate residents,” said county planner Heidi West. “That will allow room for a community kitchen, laundry and other shared facilities.”

The change in plans adds an estimated $2 million to the project’s initial $4.7 million cost. But the county in 2022 applied for and was awarded a $600,000 Community Development Block Grant, which will help cover the remainder when local ARPA contributions are included, West said.

I know my University degree is in English, but these numbers don’t really seem to be economical at all. Is there anything else in the article that might disabuse me of skepticism? Not that I can find. What I DO find is this final claim to be a little disingenuous, considering the location we’re talking about (emphasis mine):

“This will help eliminate the stressors for veterans who may need mental health support or who suffer from traumatic stress,” city grants administrator Tracy Pohndorf told the Missoula Current last year. “The move elevates the Poverello’s ability to help veterans thrive and heal as they transition from homelessness to stable housing.”

This MIGHT be accurate if the entire area around the Poverello Center wasn’t a lawless dystopia causing businesses to flee amid customer fear and staffing problems as a DIRECT result of what’s happening in this part of Zoom Town.

Due to recent stabbings (plural), Secret Seconds has had to go on lock down several times. My understanding is the STRESS of this location has caused one team member to recently quit. While things were far from perfect in years past, what’s currently happening is on a level never before seen or experienced, which is why our City Council is in such major damage control mode.

Not far from Secret Seconds, I stopped by Lion’s Park to see how things are going next to the Youth Homes facility that houses vulnerable youth. Not surprising, it’s not good.

If a Veteran at this new, upcoming facility for the Pov’s Veteran program wants to have some reflective moments at the park, or along the river trail, I’m not sure this will be a conducive environment for that kind of use if Missoula’s priorities continues to be WE CAN HAVE IT ALL AND DON’T TELL US OTHERWISE!

On the HAVE IT ALL front, there’s that new group exploring redevelopment of the ill-fated Fox Theatre Site, and the “due diligence” involved in buying a recreational mountain–a recreational mountain for the homeless? Maybe, so stay tuned, and consider supporting Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF), or making a donation at my about page.

Tomorrow’s post about the looming tax bill is already scheduled, and with all the worry about the average 37% increase in taxable property value this round of reappraising is about to drop on beleaguered tax payers, I understand if you wait before making that donation to see if tent housing in Zoom Town might not be the best option for YOU.

Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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4 Responses to The Hilarity Of This Puff Piece Is Impressive, Even For The Missoula Current

  1. Jay Putman says:

    The Missoula County website lists Heidi West as a grants administrator. Is Heidi West the city council member that sometimes does needlepoint during meetings?

  2. Concern Troll says:

    What do you know about these motor cycle gangs escorting these big pickup trucks through town? Any idea?

  3. Mrs Stitch says:

    These big projects are always for special populations.

    They tore down the old Shady Grove Autel here, which rented cabins to all comers for 25/wk. Promised they’d replace it was something better. So three places but just for mental, disabled or youth. If you go through the hoops.

    Now, veterans only. Go through the hoops. I suppose that’s the easiest way to get funding?

    Sucks to be none of the above.

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