KGW: PDX has turned into TentCityUSA

Portland deserves safe and livable streets and public spaces.
We believe that the issue isn’t housing status but behavior.
Nonetheless …

Survey: 34% of Portlanders may leave the city because of homelessness
KGW is tackling the issue with a recent survey and television feature: #TentCityUSA

KGW writes: Homelessness has such a significant impact on Portlanders’ daily lives that 34 percent are considering moving out of the city because of the issue, according to a new survey from DHM Research.

In addition, more than half of Portlanders are dissatisfied with the way the mayor and police bureau are addressing homelessness.

KGW commissioned the survey as part of a larger project about homeless tent camping in Portland. The project, Tent City, USA, launches Monday at 6 p.m. on KGW-TV and online at tentcitypdx.com.

DHM Research, a nonpartisan and independent research and consulting firm, surveyed 300 Portlanders representative of the city’s population, based on age, gender, race, education level and area in which they live. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percent.

The results show that homelessness is highly visible. The average Portlander sees someone living in a tent and someone panhandling five times a week. Residents said they see drug paraphernalia and human waste or urine more than twice a week.

Read more here

City Ignores Old Town Concerns About New Shelter

375 NW Hoyt at 4th Ave

Reposted from Old Town Chinatown Community Association doesn’t want city’s proposed homeless shelter by Lyndsey Hewitt Portland Tribune Sept 20, 2017 Link

The Old Town Chinatown Community Association has one word for the city and county’s proposed 200-bed homeless shelter at Northwest Hoyt and Northwest Third Avenue: Nope.

The city plans to proceed despite the association’s lack of support and objections from many community organizations.

Read Old Town Chinatown Community Association’s letter to city and county

Note: There are currently seven homeless shelters and centers in the Old Town Chinatown area alone. An agreement called the No Net Gain agreement was established to mitigate adding more services there.

OTCTCA say they recognize that the city is in a homeless crisis, but that overconcentration of homeless services in that district — which has the highest number of homeless individuals sleeping on its streets on a given night, at around 350 — poses a detrimental impact to the neighborhood, inviting crime and a negative effect on business and tourism.

“As you saw in our presentation during the September 6th meetings, Old Town Chinatown has the highest crime-rate concentration in all of Portland. You also heard the feedback from our residents that they are not just fearful for their lack of safety and security, but are pleading with the City for more support after having a neighbor recently stabbed to death, watching open drug deals on our streets, and the recent drive-by shooting on NW 4th and Everett,” the statement reads.

Our neighborhood knows first-hand the unintended consequences of services and shelters being over concentrated in a single area. The issue is not with those receiving services or seeking shelter, but rather with those who prey on vulnerable populations. Drug dealers, sex traffickers, and gangs often target those seeking services, resulting in a confluence of chaos and lawless behavior. In the midst of this chaos, businesses continue to try and operate, tourists visit and watch in shock, and Clean & Safe and Portland Police attempt to respond to the countless calls they receive to this one neighborhood. Homeless people are some of our City’s most vulnerable, and are frequent victims of violence and lawless behavior. Until there is a sizeable decrease in crime in Old Town Chinatown, it is irresponsible for the City to propose that 200 new permanent shelter beds be located here. Consider these statistics that can be found on portlandmaps.com for 203 NW 3rd Avenue, Portland, OR:

  • From August 2016 – August 2017, the average Person Crimes total for Old town Chinatown was 252 incidents. The city average is 2.
  • From August 2016 – August 2017, the average Property Crimes total for Old town Chinatown was 511 incidents. The city average is 15.
  • From August 2016 – August 2017, the average Society Crimes total for Old town Chinatown was 329 incidents. The city average is 2.

But the biggest reason for their resounding no is linked to previous promises made between the city and Old Town/Chinatown associates — the No Net Gain agreement, a deal made back in the 1980s to prevent more homeless services concentration there.

“That is inconsistent with everything the City has told us over the years. It is hypocritical to continue concentrating high-needs, homeless individuals in this neighborhood using the circular reasoning that there are already services here that they need to access, and it is irresponsible to continue steering vulnerable people into the lowest-income, highest crime area of the City,” their letter reads.

Oregon bill would allow people to camp in parks

This proposed state law would turn our city and state parks into  camps. It even includes a provision that would make it illegal to remove personal belongings that people might leave behind.

Contact your city, county and state representatives and tell them that while homelessness is NOT a crime, our parks were NOT designed to shelter people in camps. Portland needs affordable housing. Warehousing people in our parks is not the answer.

The photo above was taken in the North Park Blocks ~ Summer August 2015.

Reposted from KOIN 6

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A new bill aimed at decriminalizing homeless camping in public spaces has already drawn harsh criticism from locals who are worried about growing camps in their neighborhoods.

But supporters of House Bill 2215, otherwise known as the Oregon Right to Rest Act, say people should have the chance to sleep anywhere that isn’t private property.

“Why do we have to fight to sleep when it’s a human right?” homeless advocate Ibrahim Mubarak asked.

HB 2215 would allow homeless people to use public spaces freely “without discrimination and in time limitations that are based on housing status.”

It would also ensure those camping on public property wouldn’t be subject to “harassment, citation or arrest by law enforcement officers, public or private security personnel or employees of local governments.” If passed, the bill would make it nearly impossible for law enforcement to sweep camps.

Mubarak is in favor of HB 2215. He thinks homeless people in the area should be allowed to sleep in public spaces like city parks with little to no recourse.

“If they get housing for everybody, this problem wouldn’t exist,” he said.

While some opponents agree — and want to see the homeless better served — they say pop up encampments in parks near homes and schools aren’t the solution.

“It frees the city or the state from having to deal with the homelessness problem,” East Portland resident David Potts, who opposes the bill, said. “You really don’t have to create any housing for them if you’ve just made it state law that they can camp in any place.”

Another part of the bill that’s concerning to some has to do with protecting homeless people’s belongings. Residents are concerned that if people abandon their tents, shopping carts and other property, not much could be done to clean it up.

So far, HB 2215 has only been introduced in the House.

Terminal 1 or Wapato: Better Than Dying on PDX Streets

Day Campers on North Park Blocks ~ Aug 2015
Day Campers on North Park Blocks ~ Aug 2015

The sad truth is that the down trodden sleep on our streets with no treatment or protection and people are increasing dying. Our current policies are not working. We need more shelter beds and a consistent street policy to eradicate unregulated, unsanitary and unsafe street camping. Terminal One or Wapato – are real impactful solutions – big enough to make a measurable impact, giving people a roof and safe haven for sleep and nourishment. The argument that a large shelter concept would be warehousing homeless is the least of our worries when people are dying on our streets. ~ Michelle Cardinal

From: 88 Homeless People Died on Portland-Area Streets Last Year by Rachel Monahan, Willamette Week, Sept 9, 2016

The number of homeless people who died in Multnomah County rose sharply in 2015—to 88, up from 56 the year before.

That’s the highest number of deaths since the county and the Street Roots newspaper began compiling the data in 2011 for a report entitled “Domicile Unknown.”

It’s may be a first, official indication that the number of homeless Portlanders has risen sharply since the last count in January 2015.

The lack of affordable housing is a contributing factor, says Street Roots executive director Israel Bayer.

“We’re not getting people into housing at a quick enough pace to save the lives of people who are elderly and vulnerable,” says Bayer. “There are more people on the streets because we’re not moving people inside.”

Using the same method since 2011, the county has tallied the number of deaths investigated by the medical examiners’ office.

In all, 17 homeless women died in 2015, up from four in 2014. The number of African-Americans rose to 10 from seven. The number of homicides rose from one to five. Women died at an average age of 41; men at an average age of 50.

Drugs or alcohol contributed to 44 deaths in 2015, up from 31 in 2014. Deaths related to heroin or other opiates remained relatively flat: 19 in 2014, 22 in 2015.

As in years’ past, roughly an equal number of homeless died from April through September and October through March.

Here’s a link to the report.

PBOT: Suck it Up, Unhappy PDX Drivers Citywide

Bolt Bus reduces Everett to 1 lane during rush hour
Bolt Bus reduces NW Everett to one lane during rush hour

The folks who live and work around the North Park Blocks keep getting the cold shoulder from Portland’s Commissioner of Public Safety Steve Novick and his Bureau of Transportation.

For months we’ve documented how Bolt Bus turned a quiet historic park into a bus depot. We were startled when PBOT suggested we suck it up since drivers all over Portland are frustrated.

Cevero Gonzalez, constituent services coordinator for the Portland Bureau of Transportation, wrote us that “PBOT has not documented any increased safety impacts as a result of the Bolt Bus location,” … “Double parking and impatient motorists are problematic in all neighborhoods citywide.”

We invite Commissioner Novick and Mr Gonzalez to spend some time with us and watch the logjam and traffic violations created by Bolt Bus’ 40+ daily stops at NW Everett and Broadway.

Each Bolt Bus drops off up to 50 passengers (with baggage) who get picked up by double-parked drivers. Add to that another 50 passengers waiting on the sidewalk to board the next bus.  Without access to restrooms or cover from inclement weather they  seek shelter or a restroom by approaching businesses in the neighborhood.  Many huddle beneath overhangs in near-by buildings. At times more than 100 people (with baggage) block the sidewalk, making it nearly impossible for pedestrians to get through.

Simple solution – get Bolt Bus out of our historic park and let them use nearby Greyhound bus station (at NW 6th and Hoyt)

Read all about it in the Northwest Examiner.
Click headline below BoltBus Creates Logjam (August 2016)
2.5mb pdf

NW examiner Aug 2016