We’ve come a long way! Almost 100 years ago our little community of Longview was born. How cool to be around to celebrate this significant milestone. The “planned city” of 1923 had a civic circle focal point as a hub for commerce, avenues for transportation, civic and social institutions, and all the beginnings of a “city beautiful”. Homes, banks, stores, a post office, city hall, schools, churches, a hotel, a public library, the YMCA, and tree-lined streets quickly followed. Robert A. Long had the makings of not only a city beautiful, but also a lovely community in which citizens could work, grow, thrive, and begin families.
I have spoken before of my own grandparents who, in the early 1950’s, packed up their meager belongings from their Minnesota home and moved to Longview with their four children to make a home and life for my dad and his siblings.
Fast forward to 2022. Who knew the population of Longview would grow to be over 38,000 and Longview would become a Tree City USA and would include well maintained parks, multiple high schools, theaters, a man-made lake (our beautiful Lake Sacajawea), squirrel bridges, a hospital, an historic downtown with an outdoor gallery, a four-year college, golf courses, regional transit, a regional airport, and major industry and businesses throughout the city.
It was our founder R. A. Long who challenged us: “Until Longview gives every man, woman and child within its limits an opportunity to live happily, to improve mind, soul, and body, to have healthful surroundings, honest work to do, and a home in which to reside, Longview has an unfinished task.” Will we possibly ever accomplish such a plea from our founder?
In the past few years and in recent months, the Longview City Council has voted for city staff to help with an ‘unfinished task’. The city is now in the throes of creating a space for those who are homeless, that desire to make a change, to be on a path to wellness. The plan is a hosted pilot project “pallet home” community, “Hope Village” (see www.palletshelter.com for more information about “pallet homes”). Pallet homes are emergency sheltering for homeless individuals. While sheltering, individuals will be required to connect and keep appointments with social services. The pallet home community will have a full-time host (Salvation Army), and will include a set of village rules promoting a safe, sanitary, orderly, clean and sober environment, a Good Neighbor Agreement, and security for the community and the surrounding areas. The hope for Hope Village is to help homeless individuals that desire change to get on a path to wellness and become productive members of the community.
Of course, such a plan requires much effort, much contemplation, thought and action. We expect to learn, adapt, and change as needed to improve the circumstances for everyone. In addition, our hope is that all our citizens and businesses will get behind us and help to support the outcome goals of Hope Village.
In these last months before we celebrate our big ‘100’ in 2023, I hope that our community continues striving to find ways to work together to fulfill our founder’s vision, and that all citizens enjoying the blessings of that vision do their individual parts to merit such a community.
May you all find happiness, peace and wellness in your day!
Courage and blessings to all,
Mayor MaryAlice Wallis