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Welcome to Philomath (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Mayor-Elect Chas Jones appears to be jumping in feet first in his new role with the city through an idea to further the discussion on housing affordability and homelessness in Philomath.

During the City Council’s Dec. 14 meeting, Jones shared his hopes to organize a January event.

“I’ve started talking with Julie Arena with the HOPE Advisory Board and also have had conversations with Karen Rockwell of Habitat for Humanity and we were discussing the idea of the city of Philomath hosting a panel discussion on issues of homelessness and housing affordability in Philomath,” Jones said. “I’m hoping for a panel discussion with three to four speakers in January.”

Beyond Arena and Rockwell, Jones said Ruth Causey and Jessica Andrade have shown support for the idea. Causey is a current city councilor and Andrade has been participating on the Inclusivity Ad Hoc Committee with Jones and will be sworn in as a city councilor on Jan. 4.

Jones said the three or four panelists would respond to questions relayed through a moderator.

“The moderator would present a series of questions to the panelists and maybe directed toward an individual looking for a response but also soliciting back-and-forth discussion amongst the panelists and allowing some people to participate in a Zoom session,” Jones said. “But I’m hoping for a conversation more than a presentation.”

Jones would report back to the City Council on the event, but he also made it clear that councilors would be invited to participate in the conversation if they were interested.

The panel discussion seems like it would have the potential to be very interesting. To me, I’d be interested in viewpoints on “affordable housing” and exactly what that means in Philomath. Housing that cost less than $300,000? Apartments that rent for less than $1,200 a month? Interesting topic.

(Daily Scoop is a blog published by the Philomath News. This blog often contains news items but also could include opinions of Brad Fuqua, publisher/editor).