City approves step toward Coffee Oasis

POULSBO — Supporters of the youth center Coffee Oasis celebrated on Wednesday when the Poulsbo City Council took a policy step toward allowing a new at-risk center to open in the city.

The council approved 5-1, with David Musgrove abstaining and Linda Berry-Maraist voting no, to allow a contract to move forward.

The Finance Committee approved the proposal to lease the former city Public Works building to Coffee Oasis management at a subsidized rate.

“We’re thrilled with the progress to date,” said Meredith Green, president-elect of Rotary Club of Poulsbo-North Kitsap, who has been a partner of Coffee Oasis to bring a center here. “We look forward to having a lease contract between the city and Coffee Oasis.”

Musgrove said he wanted to avoid any “appearance of impropriety” because of discussions between his business, Hot Shots in downtown Poulsbo, and Coffee Oasis. Berry-Maraist said she felt uncomfortable approving a resolution that had not been vetted by legal review, particularly because the agreement would be between a government and a religious-based organization.

Mayor Becky Erickson said the city attorney had reviewed the resolution, and will review the lease contract before it goes to council.   She also said Poulsbo has historically had a healthy relationship with another religious-based organization, Martha and Mary. “In a way I feel we’re going back to our roots,” She said. “Poulsbo has a history of taking care of our children — our most vulnerable children.”

Coffee Oasis is a nonprofit organization based in Bremerton that does outreach to homeless youth, and provides case management and job training.

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