With all the news coverage and local discussion on the new TSOS (Temporary Safe Outdoor Space) recently opened on Highway 93 South across from the Buckhouse Bridge, city of Missoula officials are concerned about what they see as misinformation and misconceptions by the public from recent reports.

City of Missoula Communications Director Ginny Merriam explained.

“The Missoula City County Joint Information Center for COVID-19, which is part of the incident command structure of COVID, is run by the communication staff from the city and from the county. We run it together and we're responsible for all COVID related information that is not related to illness itself,” said Merriam.

Merriam said the TSOS is not located within the city limits, nor is it funded by taxpayer dollars.

“The temporary safe outdoor space (TSOS) is a project of the United Way of Missoula County and the Hope Rescue Mission being done on private land outside the city to shelter up to 40 homeless people during the COVID epidemic,” she said. “It is outside of any local government project. But there's a lot of misunderstanding about why it is there, who is doing it, what does it mean and will there be law enforcement services and other services?”

Merriam said the city itself will hold a ZOOM meeting to clarify these issues.

“We decided we would just hold a public meeting so that people could ask whatever they wanted to ask and get real information that is true about what the project is,” she said.

Merriam provided the information on how the public can access the meeting, ask questions and provide comments.

“So the meeting will be open to the public and the press,” she said. “It's not a press conference, so it’s open to anybody. It’s Wednesday the 16th from noon to 1pm. If you go to the city’s website, on our homepage, we have a rundown of news and you can click on the item and get a zoom link so that you can join the meeting at noon.”

There was a meeting last Thursday of local business people, a Missoula city councilor and a representative of Hope Rescue Mission in which several comments were made about homeless and transient persons, inferring that residents of the TSOS may have been causing problems, however, Merriam said the camp did not officially open until this weekend.

Click here to join the meeting scheduled for noon on Wednesday.

 

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