Letters: Fact Check: Oops, OP&L got it wrong

Opinions Letters

Oly Power & Light has had a strong commitment to factual reporting since it began. To that end, I must report a factual error that I have now read twice in different articles.

As early as 2003, some downtown proponents were proposing a Comprehensive Services Center for the Homeless – and the ‘Where’ was an issue then, even as it is now, with the People’s House. At that time, one downtown property owner, Steve Cooper, offered up property he owned on Martin Way for such a facility, as the property worked well, and he was willing to donate a significant portion of the remodel and sales price – which sparked a debate even then about whether the facility needed to be downtown.

It is this same property that some downtown, including Cheryl Selby, have said should be considered for a facility like the People’s House. I think it is generally pretty well-known what property folks are talking about when they mention ‘Martin Way’.

The factual error reported by OP&L lies in Who owns this property, and who contributed to local campaigns. You identify Bryan Kolb as both the owner, and a supported of Cheryl Selby. The latter is true, Mr. Kolb did indeed contribute to the campaign. But he does not own the property on Martin Way. Mr. Steve Cooper owns that property – and he has made no contributions to the campaign at all.

I can, however, see where the confusion might arise. Both Mr. Cooper & Mr, Kolb (and Mr. Kolb’s sons actually, now as well) are long-time, committed investors to a vibrant downtown. Both have been in the community for decades, and are truly local. Any number of historic properties downtown have been re-developed and saved by these two. Downtown housing has been created by them. An all ages music venue for the youth has happened. From re-habilitating blighted buildings and making real commitments to downtown – well, Mr. Cooper and Mr. Kolb are both very high on the list, and it is easy to see where they might get confused.

The facts, however, are clear – Mr. Cooper, who owns a prospective property on Martin Way that has long been identified as a potential for human services, did not contribute to any campaigns that I know of this year, but most certainly not Cheryl Selby’s. Mr. Kolb did contribute – but does not own properties Martin Way being considered for any projects of this nature.

I will of course disclose that I served as campaign treasurer for Ms. Selby – which puts me in the best position to know who did and did not donate.



Joe Hyer


Editors’ note: We stand corrected. Apologies to Mr. Kolb, Mr. Cooper, and Ms. Selby, and thanks to Mr. Hyer for catching our error.

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