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Church files planning papers for food pantry in Springfield.

Byline: Elon Glucklich The Register-Guard

SPRINGFIELD - A religious organization may build a food pantry and supply store on Highbanks Road at the eastern end of the city.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has filed planning documents with Springfield's Development and Public Works Department, saying it wants to build what it calls a "bishops' storehouse" on a seven-acre parcel the church owns on Highbanks Road near 52nd Street in east Springfield.

The LDS, or Mormon Church, operates more than 100 of these storehouses across the country, including one in Springfield at South A Street near South 17th Street.

An LDS official declined to comment about the Highbanks Road project, calling the application preliminary. It's unclear if the South A Street storehouse would move to the new spot, or if the Highbanks Road project would be a second storehouse.

The storehouses provide food and household goods for needy families. Customers are referred to the storehouse by local LDS authorities, but don't need to be LDS members themselves to receive donations, the church's application says.

LDS members donate to the storehouses, according to the church's website.

The planning documents filed by the church say the Highbanks Road site would consist of a "warehouse, small retail area and small office area." An architect's rendering shows the building would be about 8,500 square feet.

The Idaho architect listed as the church's representative didn't return a message seeking comment Tuesday.

The Highbanks Road site has been owned by the Salt Lake City-based church since the early 1990s, deeds on file with the county indicate.

The Springfield metropolitan plan, the city's growth blueprint, designates the site for low-density residential development. Immediately to the west is the recently completed Hyland Business Park.

To the north is a factory and a network of ponds that have formed in old gravel pits.

The church application asks Springfield staff to determine if the LDS land needs to be rezoned for the storehouse project, and if the church can seek a building permit while going through the zone change process.

Officials with the nonprofit food bank FOOD for Lane County say the more private organizations offer food pantry services, the better off families dependent on food assistance are.

"There are a lot of private food pantries out there - various churches have them - that are not affiliated with us," FOOD for Lane County spokeswoman Dawn Marie Woodward said. "We just think it's great that they do that. It just creates more access to food."

Follow Elon on Twitter @EGlucklich. Email

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Title Annotation:Springfield; The site of the proposedstore is on Highbanks Road
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Sep 1, 2016
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