Here are the notes from the meeting at Kaiser Town Hall on Saturday 7/18/09, at which about 70 community members and City staff discussed issues facing people living outside and others using public spaces downtown and in other neighborhoods. Many thanks to Judith Mowry who helped organize the meeting and transcribed the notes, and to Resolutions NW's staff and volunteers for facilitating the small discussion groups. Thanks also to Dora Perry and Sara Hussein in my office, and Carmen Rubio, Sam Chase, and Sally Erickson of Commissioner Fish's staff. And to the many community leaders who encouraged Portlanders living inside and outside, from many neighborhoods, to participate.
We will find out answers and follow up on suggestions, and post more here ongoing. The following are the notes written at the meeting:
Who uses sidewalks?
- Office workers
- Street Roots vendors
- Dog walkers
- Food carts
- Delivery vehicles
- SRO residents
- People waiting for the bus/MAX
- Private security officers
- Labor unions
- People eating
- Petition gathers
- Utility workers
- Can/bottle collectors
- Newspaper boxes
- People hanging out
Needs/uses Outside downtown
- Sidewalks narrower/don’t exist
- More utility poles
- Street fairs
- Garage sales
- Labor union picketers
Report back from small groups:
- Does the Julia West have 70 or 80 spots?
- Where will Transition Projects locate services for projected number of users? (Doesn’t appear to be room)
- How can people find restrooms? Know hours of operation?
- Who is responsible for cleaning public bathrooms?
- Are the restrooms available when they are supposed to be?
- Are they safe?
- Do business interests dominate in solutions?
- Is there selective enforcement? Are some people more likely to encounter enforcement/consequences? How do we create accountability?
- How can we access the actual need?
- How can people find available services?
- Where are benches located?
- Resource Access Center won’t be completed until Spring 2011, urgent need now.
- Space has decreased/need increased.
- Lack of resources outside of downtown.
- Do we have an accurate assessment of need?
- Safety of resources – people are reluctant to use because of safety concerns
- Lack of resources for some populations:
- People with pets
- Transgender people
- People with criminal records
- Single fathers
- Parents losing children to state because of homelessness
- We need jobs.
- Need lockers/storage areas
- Use underused parking spaces
- Locate benches in “hot spots” (e.g. Rite Aid/Burnside Bridge)
- Look at what other cities are doing well.
- Increase involvement of business community with more outreach
- Make information available on what constitutes disorderly conduct.
- Use city-owned land/facilities
- Learn from/replicated successes of Dignity Village model
- Involve homeless people in identifying and implementing solutions