After a year of turmoil and turnover, the Longview City Council on Thursday will hold a joint workshop with the Housing Opportunities of Southwest Washington.
The workshop will begin at 6 p.m. in Longview City Hall and is an opportunity to “engage in an open dialogue and discuss strategies that provide greater access to affordable housing and increase the quality of life for Longview’s citizens,” according to council documents.
The entire six-person board of commissioners for Housing Opportunities (formerly the Longview Housing Authority) has turned over since December 2017. That’s when Longview Mayor Don Jensen and Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Wallin, in a leaked email, said they would ask for all housing commissions’ resignations. The email added that those who did not resign might be charged with “inefficiency,” but Jensen and Wallin declined at the time to cite specific examples.
There was a public backlash, and the mayor backed off the statement but still replaced Vice Chair Linda Brigham, whose term was ending, with Allan Rudberg. Since then, four of the other board members have resigned and the fifth moved.
Former agency CEO Chris Pegg, who stepped down at the end of 2018, said the council’s actions played a part in her decision to retire. New CEO Jennifer Westerman took over earlier this year.
Some councilmembers at the time said they were frustrated that Housing Opportunities was spending time on housing projects around the county and region instead of focusing on Longview.
Wallin told The Daily News this week that the council’s current relationship with Housing Opportunities is “better than ever before” and the two groups are “on the same page and moving in the same direction.”