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Liability is taking responsibility for your actions. Immunity under the law and/or insurance is not meaningful in solving what is causing the liability. A big payout may be satisfying, but the person is dead.
Peter Finley Fry AICP PhD MUP
Land Use Planning
303 NW Uptown Terrace; Unit 1B
Portland, Oregon 97210
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From: Emerson This via groups.io
Tuesday, May 25, 2021 10:35 AM
Re: [pdxshelterforum] Interview with Willamette Week on PDX homelessness battles
@Jayme That’s super interesting! I’d love to know more details about if/how that law applies in Oregon!
On May 25, 2021, at 10:33 AM, Elise Aymer <elise@...> wrote:
There it is!!! Thanks, Jayme.
On Tue, May 25, 2021 at 12:28 PM Jayme Delson <jayme@...> wrote:
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:
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
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:
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 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:
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.
WW interviewed me, I wrote it up:
"The houseless vs the settlement: interview with Willamette Week".
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
Sophie Peel, Reporter, WW
Mark Zusman, Publisher WW
Nigel Jaquiss, Reporter, WW
Rachel Monahan, 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
Co-founder, Critical Diversity Solutions