Everyone has a Right to Feel Safe in Portland ~ Felicia Williams

Everyone has a right to feel safe in Portland

This post is the second in a series based on our interview with Felicia Williams, City Council Candidate for Position 3. More on Felicia here.

Q: Many Portlanders are concerned about crime and livability — they’re tired of  theft, drug dealing, and garbage and litter— how do you address those issues?

Felicia:  – My first priority is increasing police staffing levels. Have you ever called 911? Did you get a quick response? Right now the typical wait times range from 3 minutes up to 15 minutes, and police response times can range anywhere from 9 minutes to over an hour. The current police staffing shortages put all of us at risk.

You can find data on police response times here.  And sort it by neighborhood

Q: What would you say to those that oppose increasing police staffing?

Felicia: The police staffing shortages also mean that we no longer have community policing foot patrols, or enough officers working in the Behavioral Health Units and Enhanced Crisis Intervention Teams to respond to people experiencing mental health crises.

Our emergency dispatch and police staffing numbers have reached critical levels and it is affecting how quickly people receive emergency services when they need it most. No one wants to wait on hold when they call 911 or have an exhausted cop at the end of a sixty-hour work week showing up in a moment of crisis.

Q: Where would the staffing funds come from? Would you take it from Parks & Rec?

Felicia: Portland Parks & Rec has multiple sources of independent funding, including that recent bond measure. In looking at many years of their budget, it’s clear that the biggest challenge with Parks is that they make cuts every year, but when they get a windfall, rather than reinstating previous cuts they choose to start new programs. By contrast, the Police and BOEC are general fund bureaus and therefore every penny of their funding has to come from the general fund. Focusing on core services and funding them adequately is the basic responsibility of the City Council.

Felicia Williams on How PDX Can Survive the “Big One.”

The best way to survive an earthquake

This post is the first in a series based on our interview with Felicia Willams, City Council Candidate for Position 3. More on Felicia here.

Q: We’re all a little freaked out by thoughts of “The Big One.” Tell us more about your campaign plank on “Emergency Preparedness.”

Felicia: We’ve all read the New Yorker article about the “Big One,” and have witnessed what happened with failed federal relief in Puerto Rico. When a natural disaster strikes Portland, we can’t necessarily rely on the federal government for a rapid and adequate response, so we need to get serious about preparing our city.

Q: Agreed … and we secretly suspect Trump would be glad to leave the Left Coast hanging. (joke) Seriously, what would you do to get us better prepared to survive an earthquake?

Felicia: The best way to survive an earthquake is to prepare for it.

Q: That sounds good, but do you have any specifics?

Felicia: Yes, I do. Here’s my five point plan that I will support as a Commissioner:

  1. Install an earthquake early warning system attached to both civil defense sirens and personal smart devices. This would give people up to two minutes to get to safety.
  2. Train additional Neighborhood Emergency Team Members (NETs) throughout our City and making sure we have NET teams in every single Portland neighborhood and high density apartment building.
  3. Develop Emergency Operations Plans for all of our K-12 schools.
  4. Make sure every family has Personal Action Plan.
  5. Test the early warning system and Personal Actions Plans annually.

Q: We’ve heard you did disaster work in the Air Force?

Felicia:  Yes, my concerns for emergency preparedness grow out of my work in Command and Control while serving in the U.S. Air Force.  I know what it’s like to directly coordinate high level responses to fires, gas leaks, plane crashes, tornadoes, and mass casualty events.  When a disaster strikes, it will be critical to have calm, experienced leadership guiding our response, and this is exactly what I will provide Portland.

Q: Sounds like you’ve been in challenging situations before.

Felicia: Each is unique, but we can take action so Portlanders can work together to get through a disaster. We can utilize the public-private partnerships that already exist throughout Portland to create neighborhood and community safety plans so we can survive a catastrophic emergency.

PDX Police needs adequate staffing

Portland Police Bureau Recruiting
We support the Portland Police Bureau’s request of funds for 93 additional sworn officers, and nine additional non-sworn professional positions. These requests support the Mayor’s key priorities of increasing public safety and police accountability, maintaining the City’s critical infrastructure, and enhancing livability. The bureau’s requests for additional ongoing resources will advance the bureau’s mission and goals to provide 21st Century Policing services, to support organizational excellence and inclusion, and to rebuild police units so they can better deliver community policing to all residents.

Staffing within the PPB has been a critical issue for the bureau for many years, and there are several factors that impact this issue: recruitment and hiring, attrition and number of officers.

There are the fewer officers in the bureau as there were a decade ago, despite a 10 percent increase in Portland’s population. This request would increase the number of officer positions by approximately 10 percent–on par with Portland’s growth.

Click here to tell city council to invest in adequate police staffing

The Portland Police Bureau continues to face challenges in patrol staffing, which has led to declining response times. In the last five years, total 911 call volume has increased by over 22%. These calls include a 97% increase in stolen vehicle calls, 64% increase in unwanted persons calls and a 32% increase in disorder calls.

Without an increase in staffing, the response time for these calls will only grow, threatening the safety of all Portlanders.

We urge constituents with any public safety concerns to voice their support for this proposed budget.

Your voice in this conversation is essential, and we urge constituents to either submit written testimony, contact city commissioners or attend one of the upcoming community budget events:
 
Community Budget Forums
April 17, 2018, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Roosevelt High School
6941 N Central St, 97203
Bus lines 44 and 75
Most testimony by random drawing

Budget Committee Hearings
May 10, 2018, 6:00pm – 8:30pm, hearing to receive public testimony 
Council Chambers, Portland City Hall
1221 SW 4th Ave., Portland, OR 97204 
 
May 16, 2018, 2:00pm, Council Action to approve City Budget, testimony heard
Council Chambers, Portland City Hall
1221 SW 4th Ave., Portland, OR 97204
 
Utility Rate Review
May 17, 2018 (first reading), 2:00pm, second reading May 23, 2018, time TBD
Council Chambers, Portland City Hall
1221 SW 4th Ave., Portland, OR 97204
 
TSCC Public Hearing 
June 6, 2018, 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Rose Room, Portland City Hall
1221 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97204
 
Council Action to Adopt Budget
June 7, 2018, 2:00pm
Council Chambers, Portland City Hall
1221 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97204

NPB: Starting Point for “March for Our Lives PDX”

March for Our Lives PDX

The North Park Blocks is proud to serve as the staging area for the “March for Our Lives PDX” Event Facebook Page

On Saturday March 24, student organizers from Portland-area middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities will lead March for Our Lives PDX. Thousands of Portlanders will join more than 500 worldwide events to demand an end to gun violence in our schools and communities.

Supporters will gather at the North Park Blocks at 10:00 a.m. and march to Pioneer Courthouse Square from 10:30 to noon. The Grammy-winning band and Portland-based band, “Portugal. The Man”, will perform a concert in the Square beginning at noon. The event is expected to wrap up by 2 pm.

Event organizers have worked with the police and proper authorities and have permits for the march and gathering at the Square. As of today, 7000 people are signed up to attend.

Marchers are encouraged to use public transportation,  expect downtown to be very busy on Saturday.

March for Our Lives Press Release

March for Our Lives Route

PDX Winter Light Festival Coming to North Park Blocks

North Park Blocks is proud to host the 2018 Winter Light Festival. (Feb 1-3) Visitors will see installations at Froelick Gallery, WeWork, RACC, Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Blackfish Gallery, PDX Contemporary, PNCA and The Society Hotel. More about installations around North Park Blocks: Hub C

“Lumascope” by 2.ink Studio photo by Amy Sakuri

This year, we are honored to present more than 100 artists and organizations from all across the Cascadian region. The 2018 festival is truly citywide, with Festival Hubs and Affiliate Locations showcasing illuminated art installations, vibrant performances, and stunning kinetic fire sculptures throughout Portland.

As always, we are fully committed to keeping the Portland Winter Light Festival family-friendly, free to attend, and open to everyone. So bundle up and celebrate the power of light and community with us!

Why During The Winter?

Inspired by light festivals around the globe, the Portland Winter Light Festival, a Willamette Light Brigade event, aims to counteract the city’s tendency to hibernate during the winter. The festival brightens up the winter skyline and brings warmth to the outdoors with dazzling displays of light, color, and imagination. Bundle up and celebrate with us!

Free, All Ages Event!

The Portland Winter Light Festival is interactive, family-friendly, and designed to inspire adults and kids alike. Combining art and technology, people of all ages will find something to capture their spirit and fill their minds with imagination and wonder.