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my spoken testimony at Portland City Council, Weds June 30th, 2021 (AM session):
(starting 2:37:35, 3 minutes).
I was loosely testifying on agenda Item 519, "Safe Rest Villages" city ordinance, which passed by unanimous vote later in meeting. I didn't particularly comment on this ordinance, but generally remarked:
1) there was no engagement by city councilmembers or the Streets to Stability taskforce (which developed this ordinance, drafted last week and first publicly discussed today) with PDX Shelter Forum or me at all. Despite us being in respects the largest & most active houseless-led/centered advocacy group in Portland, regarding village & shelter issues. Also, despite our constant effort over the past year to engage councilmembers and staff via many channels - phone calls, emails, meeting requests, repeated invitations to all councilmembers' office to join our public forums and online web/email forum.
2. I don't agree with key points in the proposal as presented, eg the focus strictly on "chronic homeless" with over two years of unsheltered homelessness. The overwhelming majority of people experiencing houselessness do not fit this category.
3. I argue that the real need, if these issues are being taken seriously, is 10,000s of additional, low cost, low barrier, permanent homes, as rapidly as possible.
I noted that I have with collaborators for three years developed and presented detailed, worked-through proposals for rapid low-cost housing programs to meet such scale and timeframe of need, under the name New Starter Homes (and "permanent villages"), but have encountered near total refusal on the part of city officials, staff, media, and other leaders to even discuss any such approach.
Lastly, I noted that at this point I have left Oregon because of recently being abruptly forced out of my (always tenuous) housing, and I don't know if I will be able to or choose to come back to Portland. I don't see a place I can live, and I am increasingly doubtful it is a good place for me to pursue the advocacy, research, and housing-development projects I am working and wish to work on.
Thank you for your testimony Tim.
Yesenia L. Carrillo
Constituent Relations Specialist, Policy & Communication Advisor
Office of Commissioner Dan Ryan
Pronouns: she, her, hers,
Se habla español
1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 240
Portland, OR 97204
Sign up by 4pm to testify tomorrow AM on the new "Safe Rest Villages" ordinance proposed by Commissioner Dan Ryan coming before council tomorrow.
"The Council has directed City Bureaus to provide a list of surplus City property for use as Outdoor Shelters by June 30, 2021. Outdoor Shelters on City property will be known as Safe
"The [Homelessness and Urban Camping] Impact Reduction Program will refer persons residing in high impact encampments to Safe Rest Villages when available and will assist in said persons’
relocation to Safe Rest Villages."
Background / Process note:
The ordinance was drafted last week, and apparently first publicly posted via the Council weekly agenda materials posted Friday.
It what seems to be increasingly typical Portland official procedure, this was developed internally and based on specific & managed outreach engagements, overseen by Dan Ryan's office, rather than being publicly announced and developed
with open input, at least until now.
As with the other commissioners, Dan Ryan and his office staff have not responded to numerous efforts via many channels, over the last year, from me and co-organizers to engage with the PDX Shelter Forum community, participate in our public
forums, or to comment or respond to our many written and spoken testimonies and proposals.
I've never received a followup response from any City of Portland Commissioner, to many inquiries, invitations, and requests, made in writing, in person, or in spoken public testimony and comments, in three years of advocacy work since
I moved back to Portland.
I was born and part grew up in Portland, family came here in 1968, and I've lived here on and off across 45 years. My parents were longtime public servants with the City of Portland and Portland Public Schools, and I graduated from PPS
schools. Of the many other places I've meanwhile lived, worked, and advocated, I've never personally experienced such a consistent level of indifference or refusal of engagement by public officials (and to some extent, various other community leaders) to citizen
advocacy, as I have in Portland in recent years. Perhaps you may have better results though! Seems quite doubtful to me that it's worth my time trying though, and I'm now out of state travelling for the time being.
Lucas Hillier - director, HUCIRP (Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program, part of Office of Management and Finance, City of Portland).
All recipients: We incite open public discussion. You can reply to the PDX Shelter Forum group by replying to this message.