Business appeals Union Gospel Mission’s shelter once more

A rendering of the new Union Gospel Mission men’s shelter. The shelter is expected to break ground in 2020. (Courtesy of Union Gospel Mission)

A year after businesses appealed a permit for Union Gospel Mission to proceed with its upgraded men’s shelter, it will now contend with at least one more appeal.

Last April, Salem City Council permitted the mission to build its three-story, 55,000-square-foot shelter on Commercial Street Northeast. The facility would include 300 beds, located across the street from the upcoming Salem Police Department headquarters.

The mission recently landed two new properties to integrate into its design and updated its permit with the city of Salem, which staff approved last month.

But one nearby property owner is appealing the updated permit. Gerald Bieze, who owns 250 Division St. N.E., argues it violates conditions agreed by the previous permit. He declined to comment when reached by phone.

In the five-page appeal, Bieze calls the new plan “inconsistent” with several city mandates. The original approval had 11 conditions, like requiring video surveillance in a nearby alley, having open space and pedestrian walkways.

Among Bieze’s other concerns were that the permit “failed to consider or address the 114 parking spaces proposed,” arguing the exceed the number allowed by Salem code.

In staff’s approval of the updated permit, they wrote that all the conditions continue to apply. Planner Bryce Bishop said the updated permit — including the two new properties — complies with the conditions better.

Dan Clem, executive director of the mission, agreed. He said the acquisitions allow the new shelter to have an entrance on Division Street, where it otherwise would have had to route people through a nearby alley.

“It just made perfect sense,” he said of the acquisitions.

Salem City Council has already declined to hear the appeal. It goes before a hearings officer June 12.

Have a tip? Contact reporter Troy Brynelson at 503-575-9930, [email protected] or @TroyWB.