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Nonprofit Defends Its Tax Status

MONMOUTH -- Some people don't like the idea of a nonprofit organization getting into the bakery business.

Partnerships in Community Living has taken some heat from the local business community.

The controversy arose when PCL leaders called for a community forum to come up with alternatives for the vacant Market Place space in Monmouth.

PCL didn't want to take over the business, said Steve Keszler, the organization's business services director. PCL leaders were just trying get something like a co-op going.

Nonetheless, some business people reacted angrily.

"We don't need a nonprofit taking another business off the tax rolls," said one downtown merchant.

Joanne Fuhrman, associate director of PCL, said there is a fundamental misunderstanding of taxes and nonprofits.

PCL provides group homes throughout Polk County for people with developmental disabilities. Those homes are off the tax rolls.

Businesses owned by PCL, including the Monmouth bakery and F-Stop (formerly Star Photo) in Independence, are not exempt from business or property taxes.

"I know PCL having homes off the tax rolls is not a very popular idea with some people," Fuhrman said. "But you have to look at what is put back into the community."

PCL, with 500 employees, is second to Western Oregon University as Monmouth's largest employer.

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