This document was sent to Paige Coleman, Northeast Coalition of Neighbors Executive Director, and Chris Lopez, NECN Board chair, on 7/28/11, in response to questions I heard when I was invited to visit with their Executive Committee earlier in July and was surprised to find the meeting had been advertised as a Public Hearing.
Questions/requests asked of Commissioner Fritz at the NECN Executive Board Meeting/Public Hearing on July 8th, 2011 – Responses prepared 7/27/11:
1. Cell phone number(s) neighbors can call on Last Thursday to report problems or volunteer to help:
- Volunteer opportunities: 503-888-2934
- General Complaints: 503-888-2934
- Garbage Pickup Morning after: 503-888-2934
- Parking Enforcement Dispatch: 503-823-3333 (they have tow trucks in the area on this night)
- Security: Shana 503-793-8150
2. Establish a way for people with disabilities to be able to park outside their homes.
- FoLT Vendor/Visitor guidelines specify to steer clear of dedicated home handicapped parking spaces. Call 823-3333 if violations occur.
- People with disabilities and need of a parking space dedicated to that purpose should work with PBOT to get designated spaces. Call 503-823-4000 to be connected with the staff in PBOT, or to ask Nickole Cheron in the Office of Neighborhood Involvement’s Disabilities program for assistance.
3. Number of participants currently active in FoLT?
- 40 Volunteers (total)
- 20 Ambassadors (on the night at the event)
Numbers fluctuate as in any volunteer group.
4. Have Police been told to "stand down" and not enforce laws except for open containers?
- No. As at any event. Police officers have discretion to decide what enforcement measures they will take to ensure maximum crowd safety. They evaluate LT in the broad picture, minute by minute, and take the measures they deem appropriate.
5. Who is liable if there is an accident e.g. with fire performers - City or performer?
- It depends. Fire performers are required to meet specific and stringent safety guidelines. The Fire Marshal is extremely diligent as regards enforcement. Those who are not compliant may not perform and could be cited. Liability would be determined based on what happened.
6. Does the City have any kind of liability insurance for LT?
- The City does not have specific liability insurance for Last Thursday. The City provides public safety services related to the gathering of large numbers of people. Just as with any use of the public right-of-way, the City has some responsibility - it depends upon the circumstances as to who would be liable. The City does have general liability insurance, of course.
7. Which LT protocols have been updated recently?
- Recent updates include additional parking enforcement and access enforcement for fire safety purposes. Agencies for some time now have been operating under specific protocols to maintain a safe event. Beginning last year, there is continued enforcement of food vendor permits, open and closing times, sound management (see below) and alcohol. Agencies have increased their efforts on these issues. Other updates are towards better communication (who to contact on the night of the event, for example), and increased coordination of meetings, closure, opening etc., between event volunteers and agencies (OLCC, County Health, Security, Police, PBOT, Tri-Met), particularly on the night of the event.
8. What is the price of the contract with the event coordinator?
9. Can neighbors be involved in Noise Monitoring and alert to Paul Van Orden, like at Hempfest?
- Yes. FoLT Ambassadors are working with Paul to gain noise compliance from musicians. If you would like to participate in this effort, more ambassadors for this purpose would help. Call 503-888-2934 in advance for training and signups.
- Please alert FoLT by texting 503-888-2934 with the noise location during the event, and volunteers and the Noise officer will respond as soon as possible.
- While monitoring is important, the biggest issue is not so much monitoring but having the personnel to write the citations when enforcement becomes necessary. That is an issue that needs to be worked on from a city-wide perspective and one in which I will engage my colleagues on. Commissioner Saltzman is in charge of staffing and budget for the Bureau of Development Services and its noise office.
10. Could there be shuttles from parking at nearby school parking lots?
- Yes. FoLT is working with churches, etc., to use their parking lots for vendor parking and is actively exploring shuttles for the 2012 LT season.
11. Could City funding be used for community leaders employing neighborhood youth for tasks such as litter pickup?
- Yes. As I mentioned at the meeting on 7/8/11, the City offers Neighborhood Small grants, with the projects selected by and administered through NECN. Paige indicated NECN’s grant application process is in November. Youth employment projects related to Last Thursday would seem appropriate use of grant funds to me, however the selection is up to NECN.
- Also as stated at the meeting, I believe these projects would be best led by community mentors rather than being an employment program run by the City.
- We are hoping that additional funding for youth employment activities will come from the private fund-raising efforts for the event, rather than from City funding.
- There are yearly summer youth work programs that the City has supported and could in the future look to connecting with LT efforts.
- FoLT is using community service crews for next day garbage support.
- FoLT is open to exploring all avenues of community fundraising and volunteer assistance for LT.