Re: Guerilla Homeless camps & Ted Wheeler

Emerson This

Sorry for not being more clear. When I said “guerilla” I meant it a bit more figuratively. Although building unsanctioned villages would certainly qualify, the idea I was trying to get at was more about just generally not waiting for the city and solving problems in a grassroots way. I thought the idea we were converging on is that the city is limited by political/legal constraints that individuals and perhaps NAs are not. And perhaps there is power in that... Perhaps there are things the city wishes it could do, or would at least tolerate, if not for those constraints. I think we’ve already seen examples of that. So I’m going to think more about it.

On May 24, 2021, at 6:23 PM, Ree Campbell <reethefaerie@...> wrote:

Can confirm Diane Rivera's statements, Ted Wheeler sent Lucas Hillier to my house at 6:30 on a Friday night to threaten me in my own home with my children upstairs over Village of Hope.
Ree Campbell 
Executive Director 

On Mon, May 24, 2021, 5:49 PM Diane Rivera <drivera@...> wrote:

Guerilla Camps have led to Ted Wheeler's minions knocking on the doors of supporters.
Late. after normal work hours. not in a friendly manner.
Blind CC'ing persons who can attest to the trauma, and there are others in this group who can share how well-intentioned efforts can backfire.

Your mileage might vary.

(not an opinion of my employer)


On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 4:33 PM Tom Hickey <Hickeyt+BNA.PDX@...> wrote:
I am not an expert on any of these topics but I am the current chair of the Bridgeton Neighborhood Association in North Portland, and for the last year have written letters and sat on committees trying to break down the bureaucratic walls that prevent government action to authorize sanctioned locations for camps. I think that one unspoken obstacle that prevents government participation is liability. Every person who is injured, sickens or dies in a sanctioned camp is a lawsuit waiting to happen and the city legal team is probably having secret conniption fits every time a council person says anything in support of supported camping. So long as the camps are illegal, the government avoids liability for the health of camp residents.

I think guerrilla camps are called for, and I think that, behind closed doors, will get support from City Hall. This is only true though, if the camps also have local support from their housed neighbors as a buffer against sweeps. Sweeps are triggered when housed neighbors protest, so camp locations need to be negotiated in good faith from both sides of the situation in order to thrive.

Neighborhood Associations are NOT city entities, although there are links and influences. I am surely biased on the subject, but I think that local people can negotiate with each other without the city and its bureaucratic obstacles and come to mutually agreeable terms, then TELL the city how it's going to be.

I am disheartened when I see people on either side of
the conversation, including in this thread, name calling or dehumanizing their counterparts. It reminds me of the Palestine/Israel crisis, and is not productive. Enough fighting amongst ourselves when working together is the way forward.

On 5/24/2021 1:03 PM, Jayme Delson wrote:

Hi Mimi,

Can you advise , i do not see a choice in the matter.  without permission of the bureaucracy they end up being swept away, sadly.  Over the decades i have suffered thorough seeing this happen countless times.

With a kind and competent team willing to do the work and carry on after it is established, in many locations it could be done in months, i propose!

Sincerely Jayme

On 5/24/2021 12:44 PM, Mimi German wrote:
Jayme, everything about your email reminds me that going at this via the very same bureaucracy that created it will only lead to its already known end which is, with nothing accomplished i.e., villages for houseless. Far too many people will die on the streets by following the route of permissions from here to eternity. I cringed when I read all the hoops in your email. There is nothing in the route you suggest that even hints at immediacy. Without immediate action, more will die on the streets. We are beyond permission to be humane for the sake of bureaucracy.

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 10:22 AM Jayme Delson <jayme@...> wrote:
Hi All,
Emerson, I fully agree. 

I have a slide show presentation that outlines this.  It calls for an emergency iteration Phase 1, and a permanent iteration Phase 2.  It brakes down initial start up costs and operating costs for Phase 1 and also for Phase 2.  As well as a cost comparison to current models.  Additionally it outlines a vision of what such a place may look like as it evolves.

I have found support within local planning departments and among elected officials as well.

So far i have had the most difficulty in finding people who can make a little time to spear head such a course of action.  Winning over elected officials, community development departments as well as the citizens in the general area of such villages.  As well as all the documentation necessary to satisfies everyone's questions etc.

Also a team is needed to help initially establish such places, as well as resolve and avert potential difficulties etc. 

On 5/23/2021 9:33 PM, Emerson This wrote:
Thanks for sharing this, Tim!

In that interview you touched on several things that I've been thinking/feeling for a long time! The main take-away for me is that the debate between "permanent" housing vs immediate remedies to the humanitarian crisis is a false dichotomy. We need BOTH! My sense is that the conversation has devolved into competing factions mostly because we know there's insufficient political will and/or funding to do both. In other words, there's no practical reason why we couldn't walk AND chew gum. Rather, we feel like we can't afford the gum and the walking shoes. Do we have to accept this constraint?

Obviously, the money has to come from somewhere. But it's frustrating and tragic that the options seem to have been reduced to expensive long-term "permanent" housing solutions or slightly-less-expensive short-term alternative shelters / villages. I don't have anything against either of those approaches. But I talk to unhoused people on a weekly basis, and they list the same urgent needs you mention in your interview. Folks repeatedly ask for the same super basic things: trash bags. Anywhere to stay dry and not get harassed. A way to prevent their stuff from getting stolen so they can leave their campsite to do... anything besides guard their stuff all day! These specific problems just aren't that complicated or expensive. I know because I've seen it with my own eyes. I've seen ordinary citizens take it on themselves to provide trash cans, upgrade tents to make them warmer and drier, provide places to secure stuff... etc. These kinds of things immediately improve the lives of unhoused people and their housed neighbors and they cost pennies. Of course, many of the folks on this forum already know all this. But I never hear anyone in City Hall talk like this. It seems like the politics of the moment (and tons of red tape) have made it suicideal to consider simple, imperfect, commonsense ideas.

I wonder what readers of this forum think? Do we have the stomach for admittedly imperfect, short-term solutions? For example, what if the city magically escaped the political gridlock and sanctioned unused spaces all across the city for camping. Maybe each one gets a dumpster. And maybe they even buy hundreds of  cheap garden sheds. I'll be the first to admit this is not "good enough" in the long term and flawed in many ways. But it's also 100 times better than the current situation, right? And it could literally be accomplished in days for less than the cost of a single fancy shelter or village. To be clear, I'm not claiming this is the solution. It's just a hypothetical example of the kinds of messy, imperfect ideas that I wish there was more space for.

On Sun, May 23, 2021 at 3:44 PM Tim McCormick <tmccormick@...> wrote:
WW interviewed me, I wrote it up:

"The houseless vs the settlement: interview with Willamette Week".  

a field report from Portland's increasingly heated, fractious homelessness policy battles.

discussing, among others: 
County Commissioner Sharon Meieran, 
County Chair Deborah Kafoury 
PSU Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative director Dr. Marisa Zapata 
Homer Williams, founder of Oregon Harbor of Hope
Councilmember Dan Ryan.

Sophie Peel, Reporter, WW
Mark Zusman, Publisher WW
Aaron Mesh, Editor, WW 
Nigel Jaquiss, Reporter, WW
Rachel Monahan, Reporter, WW
Tess Riski, Reporter, WW
[note to WW staff or others receiving this email: you can reply to PDX Shelter Forum by using Reply to All or addressing to].
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 

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