Date   

Re: Article: Four Homeless People Sue Portland to Block Camp Sweeps

David Dickson
 

Would it be a better strategy for advocates of people experiencing houselessness in Portland to put together a class action lawsuit against the city and county, requiring unhoused people to be provided shelter?  This is happening in Los Angeles and seems to be a more humanitarian solution than to simply guarantee the right of people to live in unsafe and unsanitary conditions on the street.  An excerpt from the LA Times article…

The ruling argues that L.A. city and county wrongly focused on permanent housing at the expense of more temporary shelter, “knowing that massive development delays were likely while people died in the streets.” That element of the order underscores the judge’s skepticism of a core part of L.A.'s current strategy to tackle homelessness. 

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On May 25, 2021, at 11:49 AM, Elise Aymer <elise@...> wrote:

I thought this Willamette Week article, authored by Sophie Peel, was relevant to what we've been discussing:

Excerpts: "Four unhoused people filed a class action lawsuit against the city of Portland on Monday, asking a judge to block implementation of the city’s newly released guidelines for camp sweeps."

"The plaintiffs allege the city has failed to follow Oregon laws for seizing and storing personal belongings during sweeps."

"The lawsuit, filed by Portland attorneys Michael Fuller, Juan Chavez of the Oregon Justice Resource Center and Kelly Donovan Jones, makes it clear that the suit doesn’t aim to change standing laws surrounding sweeps; rather, it asks the city to comply with state laws that are already in place."


Full article here:


Re: Interview with Willamette Week on PDX homelessness battles

Jayme Delson
 

Hi Emerson and all,
I am pleased you like it too, not living in Oregon currently, i have not done that (housing crisis) homework for Oregon.  I bet it would not be hard to find out however.
Also I think you are very much on the right track longer term regarding composting toilets or what many codes call waterless toilets.  There is a code outlining in what ways one may use such systems and be code compliant.  As well as a code, to get around the code! 
Sorry i did my homework in Ca and I am speaking with a bunch of people in Oregon.
Cheers,
Jayme

On 5/25/2021 10:34 AM, Emerson This wrote:
@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.     

Cheers,

Jayme

jayme@...

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 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. 
Cheers,
Jayme


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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

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.

Bcc:
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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].
--
--
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 



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Elise Aymer
Co-founder, Critical Diversity Solutions
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TIP: how to manage volume of PDXshelterforum posts

Tim McCormick
 

thanks to everyone actively posting & replying on the list -- I am really pleased to have open, constructive discussion with many & varied participants. 

THAT SAID, I realize getting all the emails may get a bit much for people. We do tend to get some unsubscribes when volume peaks 

HOWEVER, not to fear, you can easily manage this, any time, by a) muting the thread, or b) switching to Daily Summary or Web only reading. Below is a note on how to do that, it's also always available on the PDXshelterforum.org front page. 

Also, if you have any concerns or ideas about how to make this group & project better, please feel free to share on list or email me tmccormick@... or text to (503) 482-8314, anonymously if you like. 
thanks, Tim

-----------

Too many messages? it happens, we understand. You can manage or fix this by using the links on the bottom of every message to to either

     a) Mute This Topic (the current 'thread' of set of messages with the same Subject line).  

     b) Unsubscribe. If you choose Unsubscribe, you'll be given alternatives to:

  1. Switch to Daily Summary
  2. Switch to Special Notices Only (e.g. from admin),
  3. Cancel and Stay (cancel unsubscribe request), 
  4. Leave Group (need re-approval to rejoin).

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Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 


Article: Four Homeless People Sue Portland to Block Camp Sweeps

Elise Aymer
 

I thought this Willamette Week article, authored by Sophie Peel, was relevant to what we've been discussing:

Excerpts: "Four unhoused people filed a class action lawsuit against the city of Portland on Monday, asking a judge to block implementation of the city’s newly released guidelines for camp sweeps."

"The plaintiffs allege the city has failed to follow Oregon laws for seizing and storing personal belongings during sweeps."

"The lawsuit, filed by Portland attorneys Michael Fuller, Juan Chavez of the Oregon Justice Resource Center and Kelly Donovan Jones, makes it clear that the suit doesn’t aim to change standing laws surrounding sweeps; rather, it asks the city to comply with state laws that are already in place."


Full article here:


Re: Guerilla Homeless camps & Ted Wheeler

Elise Aymer
 

Diane and Mimi, 

Yup, I get what you're saying.

Elise

On Tue, May 25, 2021 at 12:00 PM Mimi German <mirgerman0000@...> wrote:
Elise,

I completely understand.

The threats against advocates that came from RR/City were horrific. I've heard the stories of what happened from those directly affected.

Anything that threatens the status quo of making money off of Houselessness will be attacked by the machine that created and maintains poverty in the first place. It is for this reason that for me, the concept of asking permission from the machine to bring humanity to the people who are in need of it, is ridiculous. As a Jewish Queer woman, I would never ask a Nazi for directions, let alone ask permission to cross the street. And we, those of us who are doing the work with unhoused people, must maintain focus and keep urgency and humanity at the forefront of what we are doing for whom and with whom we are working. Class warfare/politics/racism/governments created and perpetuate houselessness and poverty. We need villages everywhere. Real toilets that get cleaned a few times a week. Food and clothing. A way to bathe. We need immediate housing. If we can bring any of this to those in need, that's what we should be doing. Let politicians politic. The rest of us should be land grabbing if that's what it takes, to bring humanity in droves to the people in need.

On Tue, May 25, 2021 at 8:03 AM Diane Rivera <drivera@...> wrote:
Elise, that is why Ree (  who also a WOC)  said what she did:
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 
BootsOnTheGroundPDX

Diane Rivera, Career Advisor

Career Boost (for SNAP recipients)

Direct phone number (503) 972-3243

FAX (503) 719-6169

Worksource Portland Metro - SE / SE Works

We MOVED, NEW ADDRESS:
6401 SE FOSTER ROAD 
PORTLAND, OR 97206
During COVID please send all mail to :
(PO BOX 86280, PORTLAND .OR 97286)

www.seworks.org




On Tue, May 25, 2021 at 7:59 AM Elise Aymer <elise@...> wrote:
Thanks for answering that, Mimi. What you said is extreme. 

I assumed they would use violence and intimidation at the camps. 

Never expected the police to follow activists like you during your day.

I keep thinking that as a black woman, I would feel like my life was seriously being threatened if they did that to me.

What a big gap between Wheeler's public image and the reality.

Other folks were saying minions came to their residences to threaten them. I wonder what with/how.

Elise

On Tue, May 25, 2021, 9:21 AM Mimi German, <mirgerman0000@...> wrote:
Elise, it's a good question and one that I think I have a partial answer for.

When JBL first began, we were on Metro land. Metro gave control of the land over to Parks. Lynn Peterson was new and unfortunately, spineless, so instead of doing the right thing by just saying yes to us, she gave the "power" to evict us to Nick Fish. Here's where it gets really ugly. Fish had his Rangers harass our camp multiples times, weekly. There were racial slurs/attacks against a Black woman at our camp. There were issues from the Rangers who'd come in like Nazis, destroying everything they saw. They tore tents. They came in and tore our kitchen apart, throwing everything on the land while yelling at us. The abuse from Fish was extreme. We had one resident go to the hospital via ambulance from the trauma of the terror of the nazi Rangers. They started after me, early on. They came at me w/ exclusions to the Parks (and again, this time where they threatened me w/ a 2-year exclusion from the parks), which we fought. We fought back every single time we got exclusions. Then the cops started to follow me all over St. Johns. For months. It was a tactic. It didn't work because I knew what they were doing and didn't care. I let them know that. Then COVID happened. The story goes on, but it's more of cops being assholes than anything else. Ted has the power to get the cops to harass and terrorize anyone. Fish had that power, too. He did it w/ the Rangers and eventually, the cops came to assist in those efforts. It's just part of the thug mentality of politicians wanting money from PBA to destroy the lives of Houseless people so "their" city looks pretty.

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 9:45 PM Elise Aymer <elise@...> wrote:
Push-back is probably to be expected. But what would Wheeler threaten a private citizen with?

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 11:23 PM Mimi German <mirgerman0000@...> wrote:
JBL is and has been an unsanctioned camp. We refuse to "ask" permission to exist. While it might seem a futile approach for some, waiting for politicians to receive our kisses on their asses is just not something we're willing to do while folks are dying on the streets. We've tried the other approaches. And people have died waiting for the lies to be unfurled. I'm all in on the guerilla approach to villages. The more, the better. For the people, with the people, by the people.

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 6:53 PM Emerson This <emersonthis@...> wrote:
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 
BootsOnTheGroundPDX

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

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. 
Cheers,
Jayme


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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

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.

Bcc:
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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].
--
--
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 





Virus-free. www.avast.com





Re: Interview with Willamette Week on PDX homelessness battles

Peter Finley Fry
 

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

Cultural Anthropologist

303 NW Uptown Terrace; Unit 1B

Portland, Oregon 97210

503 703-8033

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Emerson This via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2021 10:35 AM
To: pdxshelterforum@groups.io
Subject: 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.     

Cheers,

Jayme

jayme@...

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 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. 
Cheers,
Jayme

 

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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

 

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.

 

Bcc:

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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].

--

--

Tim McCormick

Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative

Portland, Oregon 

 


 

--

Elise Aymer
Co-founder, Critical Diversity Solutions

Pronouns: She/her

Thanks for your message!

 


Re: Interview with Willamette Week on PDX homelessness battles

Emerson This
 

@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.     

Cheers,

Jayme

jayme@...

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 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. 
Cheers,
Jayme


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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

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.

Bcc:
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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].
--
--
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 



--
Elise Aymer
Co-founder, Critical Diversity Solutions
Pronouns: She/her

Thanks for your message!


Re: Interview with Willamette Week on PDX homelessness battles

Elise Aymer
 

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.     

Cheers,

Jayme

jayme@...

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 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. 
Cheers,
Jayme


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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

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.

Bcc:
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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].
--
--
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 



--
Elise Aymer
Co-founder, Critical Diversity Solutions
Pronouns: She/her

Thanks for your message!


Re: Interview with Willamette Week on PDX homelessness battles

Elise Aymer
 

Hi Emerson,

I wish I had a magic funding wand. I was thinking that there are some larger organizations that do have access to greater funds or could get it, either through grant funding or fundraising. It should be possible, as well for organizations to partner for funding -- perhaps with a larger organization acting as a sponsor, putting their name to an initiative in which several other smaller orgs are engaged. It would be amazing to see that kind of collaboration. I think depending on the initiative that crowdfunding is also an option. There is also the possibility that individuals and businesses could donate materials and services and sponsor project.

A number of good possible solutions have been put forward on the listserv.  I tend to think that there isn't a single solution that's needed but several simultaneous ones that speak to the various needs. Each solution/initiative would have different costs and degrees of ease in implementing.

I don't want to feed the dichotomy but people posting have been mentioning a variety of solutions for needs -- some immediate and others longer term, some having to do with housing, shelter, and what I would call supportive services for people on the street or in encampments  (such as someplace people can secure their things, toilets and handwashing stations, showers, dumpsters, etc.).

Example: While there may be a hold on villages at the moment, is it the case that the city would block the expansion of mobile shower services? Would they block the setup of a network of lockers where people could store their stuff? Would activists need to wait on the City to provide better structure designs, like the tarpees Mimi has mentioned?  

I think the reality is that even if by some miracle there were villages enough to meet the need on paper that there would still be people on the street or living in their cars who would need help/services.

Re land: Public land would be ideal. It is the case though that land lots are for sale in the city. The costs vary by location but Portland isn't San Francisco or Seattle and so most are in the hundreds of thousands with some in the tens of thousands versus millions. Linking to some land listings here: https://www.mckillion.com/results-gallery/?status=A&city=36240&photo=1&sort=importdate&proptype=VC&source=adwords&gclid=Cj0KCQjwwLKFBhDPARIsAPzPi-I_B9kC897CEv9HMkXdoxwab-UbmWujuoMfALxm0qVslxaupo4uw50aAnOmEALw_wcB

Buying land could be something factored into funding an initiative. Granted it still would not be zoned for use as a village and may have other issues as well but would get around the City liability roadblock and depending on how insulated it is from other properties lean into some of the security benefits of private property.

Leasing land or structures is another option. I think Tim McCormick knows of intentional communities in California that have done this. There are, I think, the same concerns with zoning and inspection services as there would be with buying property. Lower levels of insecurity and peril from sweeps/raids as unsanctioned encampments on public property though.

After Tom mentioned liability, I started looking into it and thought, as you mentioned Emerson that there must be some workaround. A way for the City to designate land for another use and then not look too closely at how it's actually been used. I found, however, though I didn't look too deeply into it, that even in situations where land is designated for camping (as in a state park) that the state accepts at least basic liability for what happens there. The one out seems to be when liability is legislated away for the location/use and I couldn't find any actual cases of that.

Something I have been thinking about a lot is how the governmental, bureaucratic process seems to pit organizations and activists against one another rather than encourage working together or community-based, grassroots action.

Reading through the posts here, I see so many good ideas, will and energy - much of it directed at trying to get City Hall or the County to budge on individual solutions. And the politicos seem disinclined to do what's actually necessary for some strong and often non-transparent reasons.

It would be wonderful to see folks come together more.

Elise

On Tue, May 25, 2021 at 11:38 AM Emerson This <emersonthis@...> wrote:
Elise,
Can you say a bit more about the alternative finding sources you described? I believe that a safe, humane village / camp (along the lines of what I described previously) could be established for as little as $15k. I feel like Wheeler’s shoes cost more than that. But I don’t have anywhere close to that in my back pocket and my NA typically has around $200 in the bank...

The other big missing piece is the land. Even if we get cash to build yurts, etc we need to put them somewhere. I don’t have a moral objection to setting up camps in certain places without permission, but I don’t think it’s effective in the long run. The goal is to create a safe place where people can live instead of just survive. And with no buy-in from the city or community, folks will always be looking over their shoulders, as Mimi described. 

Maybe the first step is to get the city to designate unused land for a use that they can euphemistically call whatever they want to avoid liability. Then communities step in to improve those spaces. If the first couple go well, maybe it could gain momentum?



On May 24, 2021, at 9:09 PM, Elise Aymer <elise@...> wrote:


Emerson and Tom:

Tom - I think you are right about sanctioned villages and liability. Official encampments mean the City agreeing to guarantee their safety. This does seem a major, if unnamed sticking point. 

Re negotiating with neighborhood associations for unsanctioned camps -- the associations don't speak for all of the housed residents. Couldn't sweeps happen triggered by complaints from just a few of those residents who are unaware of or not on board with the association's agreement with the encampment? This question isn't meant to shoot down your idea - just thinking it through...

Emerson - Obviously the money that the City and County have is significant and they have it earmarked for some housing use, however, I don't think it's true that money for these efforts doesn't exist elsewhere. There are a lot of people on this listserv, many of them representing organizations that work on housing and homelessness, who have funding or could get it. Fundraising for specific efforts also seems a possibility. What I notice in reading through the listserv messages though is that most of these folks are working independently and often on a solution that they think of as "the one." It seems like, as Tom was saying, more would get done acting together -- pooling resources, access to funding and integrating approaches.

There is definitely more interest at City Hall and at the County in talking about these issues and in seeming to do something about them (even if it's not what the people most affected say they need) but as Mimi said, in the meantime (and especially if there are significant reasons like liability why we won't see official villages) people will die.

Elise

Elise

Virus-free. www.avast.com

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 8:27 PM Emerson This <emersonthis@...> wrote:
Well said, Tom.

I like the bottom-up / “guerrilla” approach, too. The impasse I see is that NAs don’t have any money. The kinds of immediate, high-impact solutions we’re talking about would be a rounding error for the city budget, but very tough for ordinary citizens to self-fund from their own pockets.

Maybe the big question is how to get funding from the city while still giving them plausible deniability. Essentially allowing the NAs (or whoever) act as a liability shield for the politicians. Are we on to something here?



On 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. 
Cheers,
Jayme


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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

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.

Bcc:
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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].
--
--
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 

<hickeyt+bna_pdx.vcf>



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Elise Aymer
Co-founder, Critical Diversity Solutions
Pronouns: She/her

Thanks for your message!

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Pronouns: She/her

Thanks for your message!


Re: Interview with Willamette Week on PDX homelessness battles

Jayme Delson
 

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.     

Cheers,

Jayme

jayme@...

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 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. 
Cheers,
Jayme


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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

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.

Bcc:
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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].
--
--
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 


Re: Guerilla Homeless camps & Ted Wheeler

Mimi German
 

Elise,

I completely understand.

The threats against advocates that came from RR/City were horrific. I've heard the stories of what happened from those directly affected.

Anything that threatens the status quo of making money off of Houselessness will be attacked by the machine that created and maintains poverty in the first place. It is for this reason that for me, the concept of asking permission from the machine to bring humanity to the people who are in need of it, is ridiculous. As a Jewish Queer woman, I would never ask a Nazi for directions, let alone ask permission to cross the street. And we, those of us who are doing the work with unhoused people, must maintain focus and keep urgency and humanity at the forefront of what we are doing for whom and with whom we are working. Class warfare/politics/racism/governments created and perpetuate houselessness and poverty. We need villages everywhere. Real toilets that get cleaned a few times a week. Food and clothing. A way to bathe. We need immediate housing. If we can bring any of this to those in need, that's what we should be doing. Let politicians politic. The rest of us should be land grabbing if that's what it takes, to bring humanity in droves to the people in need.


On Tue, May 25, 2021 at 8:03 AM Diane Rivera <drivera@...> wrote:
Elise, that is why Ree (  who also a WOC)  said what she did:
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 
BootsOnTheGroundPDX

Diane Rivera, Career Advisor

Career Boost (for SNAP recipients)

Direct phone number (503) 972-3243

FAX (503) 719-6169

Worksource Portland Metro - SE / SE Works

We MOVED, NEW ADDRESS:
6401 SE FOSTER ROAD 
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During COVID please send all mail to :
(PO BOX 86280, PORTLAND .OR 97286)

www.seworks.org




On Tue, May 25, 2021 at 7:59 AM Elise Aymer <elise@...> wrote:
Thanks for answering that, Mimi. What you said is extreme. 

I assumed they would use violence and intimidation at the camps. 

Never expected the police to follow activists like you during your day.

I keep thinking that as a black woman, I would feel like my life was seriously being threatened if they did that to me.

What a big gap between Wheeler's public image and the reality.

Other folks were saying minions came to their residences to threaten them. I wonder what with/how.

Elise

On Tue, May 25, 2021, 9:21 AM Mimi German, <mirgerman0000@...> wrote:
Elise, it's a good question and one that I think I have a partial answer for.

When JBL first began, we were on Metro land. Metro gave control of the land over to Parks. Lynn Peterson was new and unfortunately, spineless, so instead of doing the right thing by just saying yes to us, she gave the "power" to evict us to Nick Fish. Here's where it gets really ugly. Fish had his Rangers harass our camp multiples times, weekly. There were racial slurs/attacks against a Black woman at our camp. There were issues from the Rangers who'd come in like Nazis, destroying everything they saw. They tore tents. They came in and tore our kitchen apart, throwing everything on the land while yelling at us. The abuse from Fish was extreme. We had one resident go to the hospital via ambulance from the trauma of the terror of the nazi Rangers. They started after me, early on. They came at me w/ exclusions to the Parks (and again, this time where they threatened me w/ a 2-year exclusion from the parks), which we fought. We fought back every single time we got exclusions. Then the cops started to follow me all over St. Johns. For months. It was a tactic. It didn't work because I knew what they were doing and didn't care. I let them know that. Then COVID happened. The story goes on, but it's more of cops being assholes than anything else. Ted has the power to get the cops to harass and terrorize anyone. Fish had that power, too. He did it w/ the Rangers and eventually, the cops came to assist in those efforts. It's just part of the thug mentality of politicians wanting money from PBA to destroy the lives of Houseless people so "their" city looks pretty.

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 9:45 PM Elise Aymer <elise@...> wrote:
Push-back is probably to be expected. But what would Wheeler threaten a private citizen with?

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 11:23 PM Mimi German <mirgerman0000@...> wrote:
JBL is and has been an unsanctioned camp. We refuse to "ask" permission to exist. While it might seem a futile approach for some, waiting for politicians to receive our kisses on their asses is just not something we're willing to do while folks are dying on the streets. We've tried the other approaches. And people have died waiting for the lies to be unfurled. I'm all in on the guerilla approach to villages. The more, the better. For the people, with the people, by the people.

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 6:53 PM Emerson This <emersonthis@...> wrote:
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 
BootsOnTheGroundPDX

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

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. 
Cheers,
Jayme


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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

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.

Bcc:
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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].
--
--
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 





Virus-free. www.avast.com


Re: Interview with Willamette Week on PDX homelessness battles

Emerson This
 

Elise,
Can you say a bit more about the alternative finding sources you described? I believe that a safe, humane village / camp (along the lines of what I described previously) could be established for as little as $15k. I feel like Wheeler’s shoes cost more than that. But I don’t have anywhere close to that in my back pocket and my NA typically has around $200 in the bank...

The other big missing piece is the land. Even if we get cash to build yurts, etc we need to put them somewhere. I don’t have a moral objection to setting up camps in certain places without permission, but I don’t think it’s effective in the long run. The goal is to create a safe place where people can live instead of just survive. And with no buy-in from the city or community, folks will always be looking over their shoulders, as Mimi described. 

Maybe the first step is to get the city to designate unused land for a use that they can euphemistically call whatever they want to avoid liability. Then communities step in to improve those spaces. If the first couple go well, maybe it could gain momentum?



On May 24, 2021, at 9:09 PM, Elise Aymer <elise@...> wrote:


Emerson and Tom:

Tom - I think you are right about sanctioned villages and liability. Official encampments mean the City agreeing to guarantee their safety. This does seem a major, if unnamed sticking point. 

Re negotiating with neighborhood associations for unsanctioned camps -- the associations don't speak for all of the housed residents. Couldn't sweeps happen triggered by complaints from just a few of those residents who are unaware of or not on board with the association's agreement with the encampment? This question isn't meant to shoot down your idea - just thinking it through...

Emerson - Obviously the money that the City and County have is significant and they have it earmarked for some housing use, however, I don't think it's true that money for these efforts doesn't exist elsewhere. There are a lot of people on this listserv, many of them representing organizations that work on housing and homelessness, who have funding or could get it. Fundraising for specific efforts also seems a possibility. What I notice in reading through the listserv messages though is that most of these folks are working independently and often on a solution that they think of as "the one." It seems like, as Tom was saying, more would get done acting together -- pooling resources, access to funding and integrating approaches.

There is definitely more interest at City Hall and at the County in talking about these issues and in seeming to do something about them (even if it's not what the people most affected say they need) but as Mimi said, in the meantime (and especially if there are significant reasons like liability why we won't see official villages) people will die.

Elise

Elise

Virus-free. www.avast.com

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 8:27 PM Emerson This <emersonthis@...> wrote:
Well said, Tom.

I like the bottom-up / “guerrilla” approach, too. The impasse I see is that NAs don’t have any money. The kinds of immediate, high-impact solutions we’re talking about would be a rounding error for the city budget, but very tough for ordinary citizens to self-fund from their own pockets.

Maybe the big question is how to get funding from the city while still giving them plausible deniability. Essentially allowing the NAs (or whoever) act as a liability shield for the politicians. Are we on to something here?



On 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. 
Cheers,
Jayme


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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

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.

Bcc:
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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].
--
--
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 

<hickeyt+bna_pdx.vcf>



--
Elise Aymer
Co-founder, Critical Diversity Solutions
Pronouns: She/her

Thanks for your message!

Virus-free. www.avast.com


Re: Interview with Willamette Week on PDX homelessness battles

Tom Hickey <Hickeyt+BNA.PDX@...>
 

Elise,

You are correct. NAs do not have control over the residents in their community in any meaningful way. But they ARE conduits for communication and negotiation with those communities, just like local religious congregations and other civic organizations.They represent one aspect of the voice of the neighbors and are one tool to reach agreement between community members and the government. A cooperative NA would likely be not enough to guarantee a stable encampment, but it would be part of the solution.

The broader suggestion is that when people try to ram their demands down the throats of their neighbors they rarely succeed. I mean that equally to refer to NIMBY housed people who want the unsheltered to just go away and leave them alone, and to the encampments that disregard the concerns of the broader community. The only way for public opinion to supersede government policy is through unity.

On 5/24/2021 9:08 PM, Elise Aymer wrote:
Emerson and Tom:

Tom - I think you are right about sanctioned villages and liability. Official encampments mean the City agreeing to guarantee their safety. This does seem a major, if unnamed sticking point. 

Re negotiating with neighborhood associations for unsanctioned camps -- the associations don't speak for all of the housed residents. Couldn't sweeps happen triggered by complaints from just a few of those residents who are unaware of or not on board with the association's agreement with the encampment? This question isn't meant to shoot down your idea - just thinking it through...

Emerson - Obviously the money that the City and County have is significant and they have it earmarked for some housing use, however, I don't think it's true that money for these efforts doesn't exist elsewhere. There are a lot of people on this listserv, many of them representing organizations that work on housing and homelessness, who have funding or could get it. Fundraising for specific efforts also seems a possibility. What I notice in reading through the listserv messages though is that most of these folks are working independently and often on a solution that they think of as "the one." It seems like, as Tom was saying, more would get done acting together -- pooling resources, access to funding and integrating approaches.

There is definitely more interest at City Hall and at the County in talking about these issues and in seeming to do something about them (even if it's not what the people most affected say they need) but as Mimi said, in the meantime (and especially if there are significant reasons like liability why we won't see official villages) people will die.

Elise

Elise

Virus-free. www.avast.com

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 8:27 PM Emerson This <emersonthis@...> wrote:
Well said, Tom.

I like the bottom-up / “guerrilla” approach, too. The impasse I see is that NAs don’t have any money. The kinds of immediate, high-impact solutions we’re talking about would be a rounding error for the city budget, but very tough for ordinary citizens to self-fund from their own pockets.

Maybe the big question is how to get funding from the city while still giving them plausible deniability. Essentially allowing the NAs (or whoever) act as a liability shield for the politicians. Are we on to something here?



On 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. 
Cheers,
Jayme


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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

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.

Bcc:
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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].
--
--
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 

<hickeyt+bna_pdx.vcf>


--
Elise Aymer
Co-founder, Critical Diversity Solutions
Pronouns: She/her

Thanks for your message!

Virus-free. www.avast.com


Re: Guerilla Homeless camps & Ted Wheeler

Diane Rivera
 

Elise, that is why Ree (  who also a WOC)  said what she did:
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 
BootsOnTheGroundPDX

Diane Rivera, Career Advisor

Career Boost (for SNAP recipients)

Direct phone number (503) 972-3243

FAX (503) 719-6169

Worksource Portland Metro - SE / SE Works

We MOVED, NEW ADDRESS:
6401 SE FOSTER ROAD 
PORTLAND, OR 97206
During COVID please send all mail to :
(PO BOX 86280, PORTLAND .OR 97286)

www.seworks.org




On Tue, May 25, 2021 at 7:59 AM Elise Aymer <elise@...> wrote:
Thanks for answering that, Mimi. What you said is extreme. 

I assumed they would use violence and intimidation at the camps. 

Never expected the police to follow activists like you during your day.

I keep thinking that as a black woman, I would feel like my life was seriously being threatened if they did that to me.

What a big gap between Wheeler's public image and the reality.

Other folks were saying minions came to their residences to threaten them. I wonder what with/how.

Elise

On Tue, May 25, 2021, 9:21 AM Mimi German, <mirgerman0000@...> wrote:
Elise, it's a good question and one that I think I have a partial answer for.

When JBL first began, we were on Metro land. Metro gave control of the land over to Parks. Lynn Peterson was new and unfortunately, spineless, so instead of doing the right thing by just saying yes to us, she gave the "power" to evict us to Nick Fish. Here's where it gets really ugly. Fish had his Rangers harass our camp multiples times, weekly. There were racial slurs/attacks against a Black woman at our camp. There were issues from the Rangers who'd come in like Nazis, destroying everything they saw. They tore tents. They came in and tore our kitchen apart, throwing everything on the land while yelling at us. The abuse from Fish was extreme. We had one resident go to the hospital via ambulance from the trauma of the terror of the nazi Rangers. They started after me, early on. They came at me w/ exclusions to the Parks (and again, this time where they threatened me w/ a 2-year exclusion from the parks), which we fought. We fought back every single time we got exclusions. Then the cops started to follow me all over St. Johns. For months. It was a tactic. It didn't work because I knew what they were doing and didn't care. I let them know that. Then COVID happened. The story goes on, but it's more of cops being assholes than anything else. Ted has the power to get the cops to harass and terrorize anyone. Fish had that power, too. He did it w/ the Rangers and eventually, the cops came to assist in those efforts. It's just part of the thug mentality of politicians wanting money from PBA to destroy the lives of Houseless people so "their" city looks pretty.

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 9:45 PM Elise Aymer <elise@...> wrote:
Push-back is probably to be expected. But what would Wheeler threaten a private citizen with?

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 11:23 PM Mimi German <mirgerman0000@...> wrote:
JBL is and has been an unsanctioned camp. We refuse to "ask" permission to exist. While it might seem a futile approach for some, waiting for politicians to receive our kisses on their asses is just not something we're willing to do while folks are dying on the streets. We've tried the other approaches. And people have died waiting for the lies to be unfurled. I'm all in on the guerilla approach to villages. The more, the better. For the people, with the people, by the people.

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 6:53 PM Emerson This <emersonthis@...> wrote:
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 
BootsOnTheGroundPDX

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

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. 
Cheers,
Jayme


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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

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.

Bcc:
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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].
--
--
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 





Virus-free. www.avast.com


Re: Guerilla Homeless camps & Ted Wheeler

Elise Aymer
 

Thanks for answering that, Mimi. What you said is extreme. 

I assumed they would use violence and intimidation at the camps. 

Never expected the police to follow activists like you during your day.

I keep thinking that as a black woman, I would feel like my life was seriously being threatened if they did that to me.

What a big gap between Wheeler's public image and the reality.

Other folks were saying minions came to their residences to threaten them. I wonder what with/how.

Elise

On Tue, May 25, 2021, 9:21 AM Mimi German, <mirgerman0000@...> wrote:
Elise, it's a good question and one that I think I have a partial answer for.

When JBL first began, we were on Metro land. Metro gave control of the land over to Parks. Lynn Peterson was new and unfortunately, spineless, so instead of doing the right thing by just saying yes to us, she gave the "power" to evict us to Nick Fish. Here's where it gets really ugly. Fish had his Rangers harass our camp multiples times, weekly. There were racial slurs/attacks against a Black woman at our camp. There were issues from the Rangers who'd come in like Nazis, destroying everything they saw. They tore tents. They came in and tore our kitchen apart, throwing everything on the land while yelling at us. The abuse from Fish was extreme. We had one resident go to the hospital via ambulance from the trauma of the terror of the nazi Rangers. They started after me, early on. They came at me w/ exclusions to the Parks (and again, this time where they threatened me w/ a 2-year exclusion from the parks), which we fought. We fought back every single time we got exclusions. Then the cops started to follow me all over St. Johns. For months. It was a tactic. It didn't work because I knew what they were doing and didn't care. I let them know that. Then COVID happened. The story goes on, but it's more of cops being assholes than anything else. Ted has the power to get the cops to harass and terrorize anyone. Fish had that power, too. He did it w/ the Rangers and eventually, the cops came to assist in those efforts. It's just part of the thug mentality of politicians wanting money from PBA to destroy the lives of Houseless people so "their" city looks pretty.

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 9:45 PM Elise Aymer <elise@...> wrote:
Push-back is probably to be expected. But what would Wheeler threaten a private citizen with?

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 11:23 PM Mimi German <mirgerman0000@...> wrote:
JBL is and has been an unsanctioned camp. We refuse to "ask" permission to exist. While it might seem a futile approach for some, waiting for politicians to receive our kisses on their asses is just not something we're willing to do while folks are dying on the streets. We've tried the other approaches. And people have died waiting for the lies to be unfurled. I'm all in on the guerilla approach to villages. The more, the better. For the people, with the people, by the people.

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 6:53 PM Emerson This <emersonthis@...> wrote:
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 
BootsOnTheGroundPDX

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

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. 
Cheers,
Jayme


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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

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.

Bcc:
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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].
--
--
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 





Virus-free. www.avast.com


Re: Guerilla Homeless camps & Ted Wheeler

Mimi German
 

Elise, it's a good question and one that I think I have a partial answer for.

When JBL first began, we were on Metro land. Metro gave control of the land over to Parks. Lynn Peterson was new and unfortunately, spineless, so instead of doing the right thing by just saying yes to us, she gave the "power" to evict us to Nick Fish. Here's where it gets really ugly. Fish had his Rangers harass our camp multiples times, weekly. There were racial slurs/attacks against a Black woman at our camp. There were issues from the Rangers who'd come in like Nazis, destroying everything they saw. They tore tents. They came in and tore our kitchen apart, throwing everything on the land while yelling at us. The abuse from Fish was extreme. We had one resident go to the hospital via ambulance from the trauma of the terror of the nazi Rangers. They started after me, early on. They came at me w/ exclusions to the Parks (and again, this time where they threatened me w/ a 2-year exclusion from the parks), which we fought. We fought back every single time we got exclusions. Then the cops started to follow me all over St. Johns. For months. It was a tactic. It didn't work because I knew what they were doing and didn't care. I let them know that. Then COVID happened. The story goes on, but it's more of cops being assholes than anything else. Ted has the power to get the cops to harass and terrorize anyone. Fish had that power, too. He did it w/ the Rangers and eventually, the cops came to assist in those efforts. It's just part of the thug mentality of politicians wanting money from PBA to destroy the lives of Houseless people so "their" city looks pretty.


On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 9:45 PM Elise Aymer <elise@...> wrote:
Push-back is probably to be expected. But what would Wheeler threaten a private citizen with?

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 11:23 PM Mimi German <mirgerman0000@...> wrote:
JBL is and has been an unsanctioned camp. We refuse to "ask" permission to exist. While it might seem a futile approach for some, waiting for politicians to receive our kisses on their asses is just not something we're willing to do while folks are dying on the streets. We've tried the other approaches. And people have died waiting for the lies to be unfurled. I'm all in on the guerilla approach to villages. The more, the better. For the people, with the people, by the people.

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 6:53 PM Emerson This <emersonthis@...> wrote:
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 
BootsOnTheGroundPDX

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

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. 
Cheers,
Jayme


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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

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.

Bcc:
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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].
--
--
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 





Virus-free. www.avast.com


Re: Guerilla Homeless camps & Ted Wheeler

Elise Aymer
 

Push-back is probably to be expected. But what would Wheeler threaten a private citizen with?

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 11:23 PM Mimi German <mirgerman0000@...> wrote:
JBL is and has been an unsanctioned camp. We refuse to "ask" permission to exist. While it might seem a futile approach for some, waiting for politicians to receive our kisses on their asses is just not something we're willing to do while folks are dying on the streets. We've tried the other approaches. And people have died waiting for the lies to be unfurled. I'm all in on the guerilla approach to villages. The more, the better. For the people, with the people, by the people.

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 6:53 PM Emerson This <emersonthis@...> wrote:
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 
BootsOnTheGroundPDX

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

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. 
Cheers,
Jayme


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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

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.

Bcc:
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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].
--
--
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 





Virus-free. www.avast.com


Re: Interview with Willamette Week on PDX homelessness battles

Elise Aymer
 

Hi Peter,

When you wrote about shelter were you writing about it in the ideal or calling for a re-imagining of it in Portland?

I agree that shelters should be safe, calm spaces where someone can pause. When I think of what they actually are now, though I think of them as places that are quite the opposite -- in which people feel anxious, worried that someone will assault them and/or take their stuff, that they'll get sick, get bed bugs, have to leave by a certain time each morning and come back by a certain time each night, that a portion of their support check will be garnished, etc.

I took from your post that you think that it's necessary to hold space for the concept of shelter. I am wanting to know your thoughts on how what you described might look like in the real.

Elise

Elise



Virus-free. www.avast.com


On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 9:58 PM Peter Finley Fry <peter@...> wrote:

Thank you for providing this public forum as a means to share ideas and experiences.

 

I read with interest the interview and learned a great deal.

 

The issue of shelter and housing are not a dichotomy.

 

Permanent housing is a home not a place that you rent.  A home is where you root and grow.

A shelter is a safe place to pause, reassess, access resources, and move forward.

 

We are seeing many forms of housing (re) emerge.  The housing needs to be embedded in a community and not a sterile place to sleep.  Housing and neighborhoods do not have to be the subdivisions first aggressively built after World War Two.  Older neighborhoods and new villages can be blended.  These need to efficiently and effectively provide for the collection and disposal of waste, the provision of water and energy; and sustainable within the natural environment.

 

I supported Portland’s Planning Bureau in the creation of the Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) provision.  We filled the entire City Council chambers (and overflow) with opposition to ADUs.  Now everyone loves them.

 

People are community based and require a community to deal with the challenges we all face while collectively building wealth.  We are the government and we must take responsibility for what we consume and what we do.  Collectively, we must address the systemic racism and inequity.  As humans, we compete, bully, challenge.  The shy must be protected from the loud.

 

The shelter is not a home or a place to stay.  The shelter is a safe place to pause away from the demands of other  people, to find a calm place to move forward from.  The street is a community.  A comforting community without safety or security or privacy.   A shelter can provide these human needs without breaking the link to the comfort and acceptance of the street community.

 

A shelter is like an emergency room that is embedded in the community and not an institution. The concept and purpose of a shelter can not be lost in the politics of camping and villages.  The shelter is a particularly important thing and it is not a village or a campground or a camp site.

 

A Shelter is a critically important facility.

 

And then there is the fight over land and land use.

 

 

 

Peter Finley Fry   AICP PhD MUP

Land Use Planning

Cultural Anthropologist

303 NW Uptown Terrace; Unit 1B

Portland, Oregon 97210

503 703-8033

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Tim McCormick via groups.io
Sent: Sunday, May 23, 2021 3:44 PM
To: pdxshelterforum@groups.io
Subject: [pdxshelterforum] Interview with Willamette Week on PDX homelessness battles

 

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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

 

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.

 

Bcc:

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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].

--

--

Tim McCormick

Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative

Portland, Oregon 

 



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Elise Aymer
Co-founder, Critical Diversity Solutions
Pronouns: She/her

Thanks for your message!


Re: Interview with Willamette Week on PDX homelessness battles

Elise Aymer
 

Emerson and Tom:

Tom - I think you are right about sanctioned villages and liability. Official encampments mean the City agreeing to guarantee their safety. This does seem a major, if unnamed sticking point. 

Re negotiating with neighborhood associations for unsanctioned camps -- the associations don't speak for all of the housed residents. Couldn't sweeps happen triggered by complaints from just a few of those residents who are unaware of or not on board with the association's agreement with the encampment? This question isn't meant to shoot down your idea - just thinking it through...

Emerson - Obviously the money that the City and County have is significant and they have it earmarked for some housing use, however, I don't think it's true that money for these efforts doesn't exist elsewhere. There are a lot of people on this listserv, many of them representing organizations that work on housing and homelessness, who have funding or could get it. Fundraising for specific efforts also seems a possibility. What I notice in reading through the listserv messages though is that most of these folks are working independently and often on a solution that they think of as "the one." It seems like, as Tom was saying, more would get done acting together -- pooling resources, access to funding and integrating approaches.

There is definitely more interest at City Hall and at the County in talking about these issues and in seeming to do something about them (even if it's not what the people most affected say they need) but as Mimi said, in the meantime (and especially if there are significant reasons like liability why we won't see official villages) people will die.

Elise

Elise

Virus-free. www.avast.com


On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 8:27 PM Emerson This <emersonthis@...> wrote:
Well said, Tom.

I like the bottom-up / “guerrilla” approach, too. The impasse I see is that NAs don’t have any money. The kinds of immediate, high-impact solutions we’re talking about would be a rounding error for the city budget, but very tough for ordinary citizens to self-fund from their own pockets.

Maybe the big question is how to get funding from the city while still giving them plausible deniability. Essentially allowing the NAs (or whoever) act as a liability shield for the politicians. Are we on to something here?



On 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. 
Cheers,
Jayme


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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

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.

Bcc:
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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].
--
--
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 

<hickeyt+bna_pdx.vcf>



--
Elise Aymer
Co-founder, Critical Diversity Solutions
Pronouns: She/her

Thanks for your message!

Virus-free. www.avast.com


Re: Guerilla Homeless camps & Ted Wheeler

Mimi German
 

JBL is and has been an unsanctioned camp. We refuse to "ask" permission to exist. While it might seem a futile approach for some, waiting for politicians to receive our kisses on their asses is just not something we're willing to do while folks are dying on the streets. We've tried the other approaches. And people have died waiting for the lies to be unfurled. I'm all in on the guerilla approach to villages. The more, the better. For the people, with the people, by the people.

On Mon, May 24, 2021 at 6:53 PM Emerson This <emersonthis@...> wrote:
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 
BootsOnTheGroundPDX

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

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. 
Cheers,
Jayme


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. https://tmccormick.medium.com/the-houseless-vs-the-settlement-interview-with-willamette-week-495f07b79d66

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.

Bcc:
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 pdxshelterforum@groups.io].
--
--
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 

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