I thank County Commissioner Greg Brotherton (District 3) for his patient and ultimately successful effort to move the large encampment of homeless people at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds to a more …
I thank County Commissioner Greg Brotherton (District 3) for his patient and ultimately successful effort to move the large encampment of homeless people at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds to a more suitable location. Before and during the pandemic a constantly growing crowd squatted there, many of them right up against the perimeter fence, where noise, filth, and openly criminal behavior ruined quality of life for residents surrounding the fairgrounds.
Residents had themselves organized to attend commissioner meetings, write letters, and make calls to get public officers to heed our pleas for relief. Greg Brotherton was the only commissioner who met with us on our home ground to witness the problems the homeless encampment was causing for residents.
From that meeting on, Greg maintained with us an open and cooperative relationship. He organized a series of stakeholder meetings in the 4-H Building at the fairgrounds for those individuals and organizations who held a personal or professional interest in the outcome of county efforts to free the fairgrounds.
Brotherton was also instrumental in obtaining money to purchase a large parcel of land on Mill Road, where the homeless were eventually transferred under supervision.
The arduous process of restoring the fairgrounds to Jefferson County taxpayers included appointing a new fairgrounds manager; recent well-attended events — the county fair, Fort Worden’s Centrum events, and the THING — went extremely well, thanks to the removal of the homeless and refurbishing of the fairgrounds.
Through it all, Greg Brotherton worked patiently to solve a two-pronged problem: Housing the homeless in a safe way and restoring fiscal health to the fairgrounds. He came when called. He stayed while needed. He provided genuine public service.
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