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Hi Tom and all,
Just a note about liability. In California and
perhaps Oregon cities and counties may declare a shelter crisis,
and as a result by law, the localities may provide property to
people in need, liability free!
Also after meeting with two separate insurers to
develop a quote (non government) for a village's liability
insurance, i found while challenging, its not out of reach.
On 5/24/2021 4:26 PM, Tom Hickey wrote:
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
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!
On 5/24/2021 12:44 PM, Mimi German
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@...
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
On 5/23/2021 9:33 PM, Emerson This wrote:
Thanks for sharing this,
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.
WW interviewed me, I wrote it up:
"The houseless vs the
settlement: interview with Willamette Week".
discussing, among others:
County Commissioner Sharon
County Chair Deborah Kafoury
PSU Homelessness Research &
Action Collaborative director Dr. Marisa
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
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