[The board meeting was preceded by a public forum and panel presentation, notes from which are included after the board meeting minutes.]
6/30/2015, 9:00 pm
Chair: Sue Pearce
Board members present:
Call to order - 8:58 pm
CG: Agree with outro that need interim solution; this is a step
MW: Zoning issue wasn’t addressed; seems like half-baked plan; no timeframe, assessment of how will impact business; when city spends resources, expect to know how successful it is; this is not a recreational campsite;
DK: Same conversations were held about Dignity Village; agree, has become our defacto housing policy
MS: Division between residential and industrial; what is our role?
JE: Disingenuous for Malsin saying he wants to help the problem, while CEID has no housing, is anti-density
CE: Nobody’s asking for our opinion or cares.
LN: SEUL cares what we think; not taking stand until neighborhood weighs in
CG: No other option, people would just disburse - [comment from Right 2 Dream Too that October 2016 is deadline]
SP: CEID is an industrial sanctuary; gained 17k-19k jobs 2000-2008; is unique within United States, fact that it is within central city; city ordinance forbids renting parking lots to other businesses; asking for change in ordinance in SE Quadrant Plan
[R2DToo Rep]: No public money spent so far; mission is to provide safe place to sleep, not to get people into housing
LN: Choice about whether we want to take any action; have gotten pressure from listservs;
PC: Do want to take action, troubled by fact that there doesn’t seem to be a plan; use opportunity to tell city we can’t accept this right now. Having it be camping zoning is kind of weird.
DK: Have a fire to put out in terms of houselessness right now; would like city to have a plan that doesn’t make this the defacto plan; replicating this lets us off the hook.
CE: Agree with about half of that; agree that we can accept it only if city can normalize it. This is one of our official strategies, develop a legal framework.
LN: Commend R2DToo as example of Portlander stepping up when agencies and officials don’t do anything; would like more comprehensive response to what is happening in CEIC; community policing fell apart
JE: Mostly agree, do think we need to say something; in favor of some kind of homelessness solution in our neighborhood; personally would say that HAND embrace R2DToo; don’t like fact that details are being fudged, permitting is not standard. Personal opinion, tent cities are desperately needed solution. Would like to see more of them.
MW: Opportunity to say something while HAND is in spotlight. Say it’s acceptable with contingencies; this is a temporary thing. Failure of urban planning of 10, 30, 50 years
CG: This is good opportunity to lean on city regarding failures to follow through on affordable housing agreements.
LN: Would like R2DToo at table when talking about contingencies
CE: Would it be possible for city to say camping is allowed on industrial land?
SP: For those who say tent camping is unacceptable, what is alternative? Problem of people sleeping on streets of Portland or any other city is not going away; should definitely mention breakdown of process
PC: Initiative like Division Design Initiative to bring forth plans for temporary housing
Motion: PC moves that we take an action; MW seconds
JE: Differentiate between wanting R2DToo in our neighborhood, vs. in our neighborhood at this specific site
[R2DToo Rep]: Is one of top 2 or 3 sites we’ve looked at in year and a half; publicly owned; is within funds available
PV: Agree with Jessica; believe we should embrace R2DToo
DK: Summarizing: take action? yes; embrace R2DToo? sounds like yes; legitimize camping as a solution?; time limit?
SP: Ask for continuing conversation, not as a stall, but in recognition of continuing problem
SP: Suggestion: support R2DToo in effort to find best possible site, improved public process; ongoing conversation in recognition that this is an ongoing issue; good neighbor agreement;
CE: Don’t want ongoing conversation, won’t go anywhere; want legal framework to force conversation; want them here but want them here legally;
LN: Encompass within ongoing conversation
CE: Don’t think we need to finalize a letter; don’t think we are able to; form committee to collaborate on a letter
DK: Board came to one conclusion; community came to a different conclusion; unscientific poll, 85% said no; letter should acknowledge that neighborhood opinion is different
Motion: Nominate adhoc subcomittee with ideas and concerns we’ve discussed tonight; should share with board before July meeting, vote and amend at next meeting; CE moves; JE seconds; all 10 present in favor; motion passes
Committee: Jessica Engelman, Katie McKinney-Bock; Linda Nettekoven; Paul Coleman
Public Panel Discussion regarding Right 2 Dream Too
6/30/2015, 7:00 pm, St. Philip Neri Paulist Center
Facilitator: Sue Pearce
Commissioner Amanda Fritz
Ibrahim Mubarak - Chairperson, Right 2 Dream Too
Brad Malsin - Beam Development, VP CEIC
Marc Jolin - Director, A Home For Everyone
Here because of lawsuit by Right 2 Dream Too, due to city opposing present location
Over 2000 people who live outside in our community; not enough shelter
Many became homeless due to recession; over half of women houseless due to domestic violence
Commissioner Fritz told BDS to stop fining Right 2 Dream Too, find settlement
Found site owned by PDC under Broadway Bridge; neighboring developers purchased property for $850,000
Looked for site within 1 mile of City Hall, near Bud Clark Commons; all sites were too expensive or purchased out from under
Current site at SE 3rd and Harrison, owned by ODOT; Portland began investigating
Property is environmentally sound - got report today
Right 2 Dream Too is helping with the problem
What will we do about affordable housing requirements in Pearl? I don’t know, not housing commissioner
Zoning use as community service; applying for recreational campground permit from state.
Will be good neighbor agreement, HAND will be involved
Has been decrease in crime around current site
How long will it be around? Don’t know.
How will we monitor the success of Right 2 Dream Too? Same as now, monitor turnover
How will we assess impacts on local businesses? Same as now; has not been any calls for service related to Right 2 Dream Too
Has number of people sleeping outside in 10 block radius increased or decreased? Believe it has decreased
Cities across the country are struggling with how to deal with houselessness
Economic structure has changed from affordable to unaffordable
Representation of houselessness in media is not accurate
Need to distinguish social status from human rights
Sleep is a human right
People being criminalized, more so than drug dealers or other criminals, for finding a place to rest
Since Right 2 Dream Too has been present, numerous people have found permanent housing, jobs, GEDs, etc
Crime rate in Chinatown went down, not up
Not hear to solve systematic problems, but can provide a safe place until these problems are solved.
Developer in Central Eastside for 15 years
Not against Right 2 Dream Too
Impressed with what Right 2 Dream Too has been able to do with so little
But, Right 2 Dream Too is not the answer - need to build affordable housing, and workforce housing
Housing is becoming unaffordable to even working-class poor
Devoting myself right now to finding opportunities and understanding challenges in building more affordable housing
Question SE Harrison location
Challenge Right 2 Dream Too to dream bigger, get involved with developers whose support can lead to more permanent solutions
Allowing camping will only invite more people to camp
Need to be more aggressive, imaginative to solve this problem
Many cities have struggled with this, but we can do better
Initiative Director, A Home For Everyone (HFE)
Inter-jurisdictional group committed to ending homelessness
1800-2000 sleeping outside, 1000 more in shelters or transitional housing
Every 2-year count of homeless - Seattle up 21%; other west coast cities up; Portland was basically flat
Ending homelessness - how to get people in Right 2 Dream Too, sleeping outside, into permanent housing
While working on that, what is happening to people who are still outside
Previous plans didn’t talk about shelters; HFE does address short term needs
Agreement that all interventions can provide basic safety (facility shelters, rest areas, etc)
Big difference is that Right 2 Dream Too and others, forming community themselves
Provide basic safety and support for those trying to use other services
It is vital; it’s not ending homelessness, but nor is any shelter in our community
Enormous amount of confidence that they will deliver on the promises they make
What is being done with revenue from Air BnB?
Fritz: About $1m generated from Air BnB taxes over 1 year; not enough to end houselessness; we put $5m into affordable housing
Jolin: Part of HFE was recommendation for investments in housing, placement; county put $5m into housing, $4.5 into placement and support services
Security of housleess has been mentioned - curious if Right 2 Dream Too campers are checked against sex offender registries? What happens to people who are turned away?
Mubarak: Not checked against sex offender registries; no background checks; our goal is to get people off the sidewalks; will ask people turned away to adhere to code of conduct, still allow them to use bathrooms
If the homeless [population] of Portland hasn’t increased, why is the safety in Ladd’s on the decline, and petty crime on the rise, what will city do to stop this?
Mubarak: Houseless are trying to keep low profile, stay in abandoned places; try to find somewhere safe;
Fritz: Currently having a problem with gang violence; could have chosen to increase funding for Police gang violence force; instead choosing to build community centers; for this issue; address crime issues by increasing services for houseless.
Malsin: Current police sweeps are insanity - sweeping people out of campsites, have nowhere else to go. If you are going to spend resources to sweep camps…makeup of people on street has changed; 5 years ago were really destitute; now there are tents, sophisticated campsites; sense changing demographic, urban camping movement
Jolin: People creating problems for neighborhood are not following Right 2 Dream Too, they’re already here; no evidence that Right 2 Dream Too brings more people causing negative behavior
How are you going to prevent complacency and long term residents a la Dignity Village?
Mubarak: Dignity Village is a camping site, tiny homes; Right 2 Dream Too is a rest area; do have people staying there who help with operations, but they are seeking housing, work, education; even if somebody like a Veteran doesn’t want to go inside, still getting them off the street
City has clearly stated support for Right 2 Dream Too, will city hold Right 2 Dream Too accountable to avoid long term camping?
Fritz stated property would be leased to Right 2 Dream Too - what cost, what if Right 2 Dream Too does not have funds?
Fritz: Right 2 Dream Too is providing a service, would be surprised if least cost was more than $1/year. Looking at providing trailer with bathroom/shower/kitchen facility; still way cheaper than Bud Clark Commons
Not concerned so much about Right 2 Dream members; what is city going to do to enforce homeless that follow encampment
Fritz: Concerned about whether folks at 4th and Burnside will want to come to SE 3rd and Harrison. Folks in Old Town are similarly concerned?
Mubarak: Hub of services is still downtown. Don’t know if people will follow
Have we as a city looked at what’s happening elsewhere, e.g. Utah?
Jolin: Salt Lake City - declared that they have ended veteran’s homelessness, chronic homelessness - means have developed adequate services and housing resources to provide permanent housing. "Just offered people housing." Follow housing first approach in this community, to tune of 3000 people a year. Also facing low vacancy rates, increasing rents. But we don’t have housing units to make that happen.
Mubarak: Similar effort in Tucson, but ran out of money
Is mental health community or veteran’s department helping, or involved?
Fritz: Also dealing with Justice Dept. settlement with PPB; we don’t have enough money for psychiatric care either. Went through $40m surplus like that; $500 million hole for housing; $500 million hole for parks; $500 million hole for transportation; 2% vacancy rate, until we get to where housing is more affordable, we’re going to have people living on the streets. All of our jobs to solve this problem.
Jolin: VA is more committed then they’ve ever been; national initiative; millions available for rental assistance. Challenge is the same, lack of available units
Concern about fact that it’s close to elementary school, possibly attractive place for houseless. Will city commit to help with safety enforcement?
Fritz: People living outside are just looking for a place to sleep, not looking to mess with you.
Questions about access to services. How does Right 2 Dream Too feel about this move?
Mubarak: My vision is having a site where social services can say “we’ll be here at this date at this time”, provide nearby or on-site services.
Malsin: Feels like SE 3rd and Harrison site is shoehorning and isolating the group. Burnside location is part of a neighborhood. Understand trying to find an affordable site, but maybe this is not the right one.
Jolin: One of commitments we’ve made is to provide mobile services for those who can’t easily access services.
Fritz: Site where they are now, owner wants to sell; site is part of entertainment district. Is not a quiet neighborhood place to sleep.
How much extra money would Portland need to provide housing for 2000 people on the streets? Affordable housing tax?
Fritz: Need a boatload of money. Saying $500m, but people at Right 2 Dream Too need somewhere to sleep this winter.
[Pearce]: Comp plan discussion includes incentives for developers for affordable housing
Mubarak: Right 2 Dream Too is an inexpensive place, about $2000 a month for over 100 people, every day
CEID is primarily 2-story buildings; why not have highrise affordable housing, wouldn’t that be helpful?
Malsin: If I was to imagine affordable housing, would design a fairly tall building, stratified income groups within building. People need to be integrated with everybody else, not isolated or ostracized; would like to build within central eastside
What happened to Bud Clark 12 point plan?
Jolin: Many common themes with 10 year plan. Individual cases are difficult; types of intervention are well understood. Provide safety, income, get them healthy, provide place to live; each new plan is a recommitment
How can this neighborhood help A Home for Everyone to reduce homelessness besides siting the camp?
Jolin: Solutions are community-wide. Every neighborhood association can help by supporting organizations (e.g. churches) with food, money; advocacy for affordable housing and services. Bring forward skills and resources that this neighborhood might have.
Malsin: If earthquake hit today, lost X% of housing, what would we do? Have disaster relief for disasters. When are we going to wake up and say “this is a disaster?” Why can’t find a larger site, help more people? Need to do more, on an interim basis, until we can build affordable housing.
Fritz: What Brad said, spread across 10-20 Right 2 Dream Toos around the city
[Rhetorical Question] How is a safe place, to be worse than sprawled out on sidewalks? How many people who objected have been to Right 2 Dream Too, or have been houseless?