Meeting called to order at 6:40
Attendance: by sign-up sheet – quorum attained.
Motion to accept minutes from March ENA meeting as posted by Johnny Engleheart, Annie Rudwick seconds.
Members at general meeting can vote. Minutes were not handed out. Meeting minutes are always on the website and posted approximately a week after the meeting.
Montse Shepherd requested that a few copies of the minutes should be available in printed copy for residents that attend the meeting and have not read the minutes or may not have access to the internet. All agreed this was a good idea.
Vicki Guinn from Legacy asked for Dawson park concerts to be added to the agenda.
Guests, Chad Stover and Ben Mauro from Mayor Hales’ office are in attendance to discuss the homeless situation in Portland and specifically the homeless camp, Forgotten Realms. Chad Stover worked for Mayor Adams and now for Mayor Hales on livability issues.
Pat Montgomery stated that it is situated behind Emanuel Hospital on Kerby Avenue near Graham Street. The camp is capped at 25 campers and there have been some issues that have arisen lately and that is why the representatives from the Mayor’s office are in attendance.
Chad Stover discussed at length about the state of emergency that Mayor Hales has initiated to address the homeless problem.
In November the Mayor declared a state of emergency on housing and homelessness. In a state of emergency laws and policies can be more flexible. Therefore, zoning codes such as where shelters can be set up can be put in places that otherwise would not be allowed and are not required to have parking spaces, for example.
This is a shared responsibility between City of Portland, Multnomah County, State of Oregon and Federal Government. So a number of committees have been formed like Home for Everyone. Also land is being identified to be used or buildings to be used for covered shelter. The Sears building in Multnomah is one example but only for a few months until the lease from the Federal Government. The Menashe family has been generous to donate a building on SW 4th and Washington. The sliver of land below Overlook park is Hazelnut Grove which is an experiment for long term camping. Some people cannot live indoors so need a permanent place to stay outside. A new system has been created a homeless toolkit and information on that can be found at www.portlandoregon.gov/toolkit
There is also a safe sleeping policy. The distinction between what is camping and what is sleeping which is important because we are talking about the public right of way and constitutionality issues. We are trying to make that distinction because last summer there was a lot of issues with encampments. At the same time it is not a crime to be homeless so how do we strike that balance. As unorganized camps set up it becomes an inner-city civil war as more campers arrive, more issues arrive, police are called more often and campers are asked to move. The cycle of moving camps is not working and so solutions are being explored. Plus the DOJ says that moving a camp is unconstitutional since it is taking away rights to sleep.
Jackie Johnson brought up the point that because of new zoning property taxes may go up and she may not be able to hold onto her property which she rents to 5 renters that may become homeless if she has to sell her property and move out of the neighborhood
Pat Montgomery has concerns that the temporary sites becoming permanent is not helping but keeping them from seeking the help they need to get a secure home situation and employment.
Stover says the goal is to have the social services go to the shelter sites and engage and find out who the people are that are living at the shelters so the city knows what each person needs so services can be sent to the shelter or referrals can be given to the campers.
One group of organizations that have been going and establishing relationships with the shelter campers are NERT, Cascadia Behavioral Center, NARA and Urban League.
Stover said that we are a far more connected neighborhood association that a lot of them he speaks to. Mauro said that Forgotten Realms and Hazelnut Grove were anomalies in that the homeless campers found the land and then talked to the city and requested services such as trash, recycling, etc.
According to Mauro, Saint Hood, the leader of the group at Forgotten Realms is working to educate his campers on how to be a good neighbor, keep the camp clean, teach how to recycle and uphold the code of conduct and how to transition from being homeless to becoming a contributing member of society again. If campers cannot uphold the code of conduct they will be asked to leave the camp.
Homeless people are not all the same. Some are drug addicted, some have challenging mental health issues but others are just going to a tough spot financially and need a chance to collect deposits for a new apartment.
Mayor’s office is dedicated to working on these issues as long as it takes and will continue until Mayor Hales leaves office and then will pass the baton to the next Mayor. They are asking neighborhood associations what they can do. Parkrose neighborhood has organized a trash pick-up for a camp in their neighborhood so that’s one great idea and collaboration.
The Wapato jail has been suggested as a shelter. However, it is not owned by the city, it is far from social services, it would cost too much to run and it is also far from society so that it would not benefit the homeless that would live there in transitioning back into society.
Questions from community members and board members and responses by Stover and Mauro:
How many homeless camps are anticipated being set up? No specific number of camps as of yet but there are a consistent number of homeless since the 1980’s which is about 3000 not including the travelers that arrive to Portland in the summer months.
What can we do to get services and assistance for transition to the homeless? With Home for Everyone there’s a board that works with Central City Concern and other agencies provided by the county they are trying to get the services to the people as effectively as possible including a new office by Washington High School (Revolution Hall) called the Navigation Center which offers services for transition, education and referrals.
With more chatter about homeless camp already happening is there an education piece for the residents of neighborhoods being that the neighborhood association only talk to a small percentage of the total residents? Chatter goes viral quickly. Yes, getting people like Vicki Guinn involved and educating their employees, speaking to neighborhood associations at meetings, and also having the Office of Neighborhood Involvement which set up all the 95 neighborhood associations and 7 coalitions and that allows the city to come talk to smaller groups rather than just at city hall.
Vicki Guinn stated that Legacy has been educating their employees and helping them to change their perception of who the homeless are. They are a subculture of our community. We are dealing with Legacy’s perception. With the issues that have arisen like car break-ins,
How much of the Homeless Tool Kit is mitigating the situation and preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place? Just a note that it looks like the homeless problem has grown but they are really just more out in the open because of all the development of old warehouses like in the Pearl District so there’s no place to hide. The city is just trying to bite off small chunks of the bigger problem and do the best they can at this time while moving forward with more action.
Why can’t the developers of the new buildings be required to have 5 or 10 percent of the units affordable housing for a tax credit so that buildings have more mixed incomes, vibrant neighborhoods, and keep longtime residents in our neighborhood? Angela Kremer answered that something like this is in place and also she is working with an organization that is enlisting churches to engage with the community members and help with communicating how to get services. She also would love to see more establishments like Sisters of the Road where you can work for your meal and learn skills at the same time.
Jere Fitterman said we need to talk to the County and see what they’re doing and what they can do for us.
Neighborhood action plan could be the following:
- Neighborhood watch – more streets should start a neighborhood watch block by block. Jere Fitterman will contact Mark Nervo with Neighborhood Watch to have him come to a summer neighborhood association meeting to try to get more people informed and involved.
- Foot Patrol
- Good Neighbor Agreement – not just for homeless shelter situation but also to establish what ideals and etiquette residents in the neighborhood agree should be followed, for instance, pan handling on the freeway entrance, teaching how to recycle.
More information can be found at ONI on Good Neighbor Agreement. https://www.portlandoregon.gov/oni/
So we as a neighborhood need to set up an agreement so that it can be followed. It can be used to help any number of problems even outside the issues of a homeless camp. Neighborhoods can set up agreements that the
As far as Forgotten Realms or other homeless camps, some of the items in the agreement could be: Are they allowed to go into Legacy during the cold months for a couple of hours? Can they use the phones? Is panhandling allowed?
The use agreement is actually more important right now for Forgotten Realms and the Mayor’s office is working on getting that drafted. The neighborhood agreement can come out of that discussion and they will be in communication with us. To reach Stover and Mauro, email to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Nervo will be asked to come to a future meeting to talk about Neighborhood Watch and also Jere will check into statistics about car break-ins to see if they are up and when they are most prominent so if we establish a foot patrol we will know when to instigate it. His attendance at the July meeting will be announced in the newsletter.
Budget discussion: Annie Rudwick, Treasurer, gave out a sheet with what we usually contribute and what income sources we have. We get money from NECN for communication funds of $1000 per year. Also the clean-up usually makes about $1000. The Blazers gave us money for community livability and we have $6254 left of those funds.
This year Widmer is not giving us the $1000 that we bring in for them to have a donation avenue in order to donate to Dawson Park Concerts. It is just passed through to them so is not used by the ENA for anything except a dontation to the concerts. We typically give $500-1000 to the concert series. Other things we donate to are Good in the Hood ($150), National Night Out ($276), Meals on Wheels Summer in September ($500).
It would be best if we knew what our financials look like so that we can make appropriate decisions on sponsorships throughout the year. Prioritizing sponsorships will be discussed by the ENA.
Discussion about land that Legacy has not developed. Land Use and Transportation Committee member, Montse Shepherd, said that it is not the LUTC’s job to develop a plan for the empty lots. If we can find a group with a proposal for the lots temporarily then LUTC can help them to connect with Legacy.
Mike Beard suggested there be a subcommittee like a vision committee and he would like to be a member. The vision has to be defined to be able to decide what to spend money on. Angela motioned that we investigate a vision committee, what its job will be, who will be on that committee and report back in a month, Pat Montgomery seconds. Unanimous vote in favor.
Jeri Stein motioned that the intersection painting be funded up to $1000 by the livability funds this year. Annie Rudwick seconds. Three separate budgets ranging from $160 to $300 to $1000 depending on if we have to buy paint from VBC or have it donated by Ace Hardware. Question of liability insurance if we don’t go through VBC which offers insurance is being researched by the intersection painting committee. Motion passes.
Updating of mission statement as presented with two slight edits. Jeri Stein motioned, Sue Stringer seconds. Motion passed with edits.
April 18, 2016-Motion to change Article II to the following:
The purpose of the Eliot Neighborhood Association is to educate citizens and provide a forum for citizen engagement around plans, issues and events that may influence their quality of life:
- Concerning the creation and execution of plans by various entities including governmental, social, and private around change, development, employment opportunities and services within the neighborhood
- To encourage community pride. Protect the aesthetic, cultural values and diversity of the neighborhood
- To promote projects, programs, and social activities to improve the general well-being, viability and heart of the community.
Meeting adjourned at 8:50pm.