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Welcome to Amanda's blog
The Plan for ending Houselessness
Are you wondering what is being done to help people experiencing houselessness? Wonder no more! An easy-to-read summary of the plan, known as A Home For Everyone, is posted here. Read more details here.
Note, I use the term "houseless" not "homeless". A survey has shown that 80% of the people unsheltered in Portland today have been Multnomah County residents for more than two years. Portland is their home. They don't have houses or apartments, but they are still our neighbors. Only 15% of those seeking services in Portland came to our city from elsewhere. Often, those folks come from other parts of the Metro region or the state of Oregon.
In the past 10 years, the City, County and Home Forward (formerly the Housing Authority of Portland) have helped over 12,000 people get off the streets and into homes. In the past ten years, average rent has increased 30% while average wage has decreased 5%. People are losing their housing every day due to this imbalance.
To fix this, the A Home For Everyone plan identifies $30 million in additional funding is needed - $20 million ongoing for services, such as rent assistance, subsidies, social services, etc.,; and $10 million for construction of new affordable housing. The plan calls for $5 million in additional funding for shelters, and $12.5 million for permanent supportive housing, in order to cut the number of people living outside by 50% in two years (i.e., by the end of 2017).
Together, the City and County have allocated $20 million so far. This is in addition to the Council tripling the budget for the Portland Housing Bureau, over the seven years I have been in office and voting on budgets. The plan states; "What it takes to end homelessness: Do enough, for long enough".
The question is now, are Portlanders willing to pay what it takes to do enough, for long enough? We know what needs to be done. We know what works and how to get to the goal. Are Portlanders willing to sacrifice other services, to pay for what it takes? More than half the City General Fund is used for Police and Fire services. The Council made cuts in five of the last seven budgets, since I've been on the Council. Money is needed for basic services in other areas, too, such as infrastructure maintenance, safety improvements, and equity for areas of Portland that lack parks, sidewalks, and other urban necessities.
Please participate in the upcoming City Budget process, to discuss how to pay for what needs to be done to improve the lives of thousands of our neighbors currently living outside, in vehicles, couch surfing, or doubled up with relatives. Information on the City Budget process is here.
February 24, 2016
Successful City Sock Drive 2015!
THANK YOU to all the City employees and visitors who donated to this year's City Sock Drive, and to Jasmine Wadsworth, Cristina Nieves, and the staff in Facilities Services. We collected 807 pairs of socks, plus 4 jackets, 17 hats, 13 scarves and 17 pairs of gloves.
This is what 807 pairs of socks looks like, in three 18" x 18" x 24" moving boxes.
Special thanks to Sock It To Me, who once again partnered with me to provide thousands of warm, woolly knee socks to folks living outside. Carrie Atkinson, Founder of this great local business, delivered 750 pairs of her wonderful socks to Janus Youth, 750 pairs to Street Roots, and 750 pairs to Transition Projects. Please support Sock It To Me! This is their stand at Powell's on Burnside:
With Sock It To Me's huge donation, plus City employees' generosity, the total number of pairs of socks donated this year is 3,057. It is sobering to recognize that this wonderful number in the context of warm-hearted donations still may not be enough to provide one pair of clean dry socks to everyone living outside, in shelters, in vehicles, or doubled up with relatives in Portland. The Council continues to work hard to provide meaningful, long-term solutions for ending houselessness and promoting affordable housing. In the meantime, I am grateful to everyone who made this holiday season a little less grim for our neighbors living outside.
December 17, 2015 | Comments (0) | Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)
City Sock Drive 2015
As you are shopping for gifts these next few weeks, please consider adding “Socks” to your shopping list. As in past years, my office staff and I are collecting new socks that will be donated to people living outside in Portland. New or gently used hats, gloves, and scarves are also welcome. Sometimes a pair of clean, dry socks can make a significant difference to a person or family enduring Portland’s winter without shelter.
Donation bins will be placed on the first and second floors of City Hall, the entrance to the Portland Building, at the Housing Bureau/Office of Equity and Human Rights floor of the Commonwealth Building, and at the 1900 SW 4th building.
I encourage you to “shop local” and/or participate in the Little Boxes adventure http://littleboxespdx.com/, remembering that more of your dollars stay in our area economy when you buy at locally-owned small businesses.
The Sock Drive will run through Tuesday, December 15. Thank you for considering participating. I wish you and your family peace and love over the holiday season.
November 30, 2015
Dog Whistle Politics
I'm reading "Dog Whistle Politics", a book by Ian Hanley-Lopez, a Berkeley professor who spoke at the Governing for Racial Equity conference in Seattle earlier this year. The book details how politicians and media campaigns have perpetuated and exacerbated racial biases and inequities in our country. The title references the fact that dog-trainers use whistles pitched so high that humans can't hear them, but the dogs can.
It's a profound, disturbing, and very helpful book. An excerpt I found particularly compelling:
"RACE AND LIBERAL GOVERNMENT
It would be bad enough if race provided a routine way to win elections, but beyond this, dog-whistling underlies efforts to dismantle government commitments essential to supporting a vibrant and growing middle class. As we learned in response to the last great economic calamity to confront the country, to ensure broad prosperity government has four crucial roles to play:
* first, to weather the vicissitudes that easily plunge families into poverty, for instance job loss or ill health;
* second, to provide escalators of upward mobility, such as quality schooling, higher education, and mortgage assistance;
* third, to build the nation's infrastructure, thus laying the groundwork for the next great economic boom; and
* fourth, to rein in marketplace abuses through regulation, and to prevent excessive concentration of wealth through progressive taxation.
This is the New Deal liberal vision that propelled the largest expansion of the middle class ever seen, and that once enjoyed broad support across the whole country."
I encourage you to read the whole book.
September 1, 2015
Portland Parks Foundation seeks new Executive Director
The Portland Parks Foundation is wonderful, independent, nonprofit organization that brings resources for the long-term stewardship of Portland's parks and park programs. The Portland Parks Foundation is currently recruiting for a new Executive Director. The recruitment is open through Friday, July 24th at 5:00 pm, PST.
Their ideal candidate is a collaborative leader who is passionate about their mission, and prepared to grow the organization. They are looking for someone with proven success and enthusiasm as a fundraiser who is eager to maximize opportunities to support Portland’s park system and partner with Portland Parks & Recreation in pursuing equity. This requires an articulate communicator and strategic thinker who excels at setting ambitious fundraising goals and working with diverse partners to accomplish them.
More information about this opportunity is on their website: www.parklandia.org/opportunities
Please alert anyone you know who may be interested.
July 13, 2015
Hearing on SB 921, the Fritz-Fairchild Act, Monday April 6 at 1 p.m.
The City of Portland's Government Relations staff have been hard at work partnering with me in crafting a bill that will require median crash barriers to be installed on Interstate highways throughout Oregon, wherever they are needed and not present. While the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has almost finished the safety improvements in Salem where my husband Steve and our friend Cary Fairchild were killed, there are still many miles in central, southern and eastern Oregon that need the barriers. Senate Bill 921 would require median crash barriers to be installed where needed on Interstates in Oregon by 2021.
The Fritz-Fairchild Act, as it will be known, is co-sponsored by Senate President Peter Courtney, House Speaker Tina Kotek, and three Republican legislators (Senator Kruse and Reps Hansell and Parrish). ODOT is supporting the bill. I am hopeful it will pass, however it is not a done deal.
The Senate Business and Transportation Committee will be considering Senate Bill 921 on Monday, April 6th at 1:00 pm in hearing room B of the Oregon State Capitol (900 Court St., NE, Salem, OR 97301). It would be helpful for interested Oregonians to testify in support. Please let me know if you're able to be part of the testimony team at the hearing. If you're not able to attend, please send a letter to the Committee. You may email letters in advance to the Committee Administrator James LaBar, firstname.lastname@example.org . Please send a copy to me if you send a letter.
Thank you for any support you can give to help pass this policy.
April 3, 2015
Speech on rejoining Joint Terrorism Task Force, 2/25/15
Mayor Hales, Commissioner Fish and Commissioner Saltzman have decided the City of Portland should dedicate Portland taxpayers' money to assign Portland Police Bureau officers to work full time with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)'s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Commissioner Novick and I disagree with that choice. M
My comments at the vote accepting the FBI's standard Memorandum of Understanding on JTTF terms are posted here.
February 25, 2015 | Comments (1) | Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)
Apply to be on the Community Oversight Advisory Board
DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JANUARY 16, 2015 5:00 PM
Press Release: December 11, 2014
CONTACT: Tim Crail, 503-823-3988
Applications Available to Become a Member of the Community Oversight Advisory Board for the Department of Justice Settlement Agreement
Community oversight body will monitor implementation of the Portland Police—
United States Settlement Agreement
Today, Commissioner Amanda Fritz posted the application to become a member of the Community Oversight Advisory Board, the group that will monitor the implementation of the City of Portland’s Settlement Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. People who live, work, or go to school in Portland are encouraged to apply for appointment to the Community Oversight Advisory Board by January 9, 2015.
"The Community Oversight Advisory Board’s job is to assess the City and the Police Bureau’s implementation of the DOJ agreement. This is a crucial role, as the Council works with the community to improve the way Portland Police serve individuals experiencing, or perceived to be experiencing, mental health crises," Commissioner Amanda Fritz said. "The COAB must represent a broad spectrum of Portland’s communities and a broad range of perspectives."
The City’s Settlement Agreement calls for reform to Portland Police Bureau policies and training, particularly related to interactions with people who have or are perceived to have mental illness. The Community Oversight Advisory Board (COAB) will be comprised of fifteen voting community members and five advisory members from the Portland Police Bureau. The Compliance Officer Community Liaison, an independent monitor, will chair the COAB and preside over COAB meetings.
The COAB will meet regularly to assess the implementation of the Settlement Agreement, and will make recommendations regarding changes to policy and/or practices as required to implement the Settlement Agreement. The COAB will also advise the Chief of Police, Police Commissioner and the City Council on community relations and police accountability, inform the community about the Settlement Agreement and its implementation, and seek public comments and concerns, including at Town Hall meetings and through surveys.
The application, developed with community partners, is available to download from Commissioner Fritz’s website (http://www.portlandonline.com/fritz/index.cfm?c=49247&a=512191). Paper copies are available in neighborhood coalition offices. Interested persons can also apply online: http://bit.ly/COABapplication. Applications are due January 9. A COAB Selection Committee with representatives from a diverse set of community organizations will choose five members the week of January 19. The Portland Commission on Disability and the Human Rights Commission will appoint a COAB member from each Commission, and jointly select three additional COAB members who are
Qualified Mental Health Professionals or persons with 10 years’ lived experience caring for their own or others’ mental illness. The remaining five COAB members will each be appointed by a City Commissioner.
The City strives to eliminate barriers that may prevent persons with disabilities from participating in City programs, services and activities. If accommodations or translations are needed to submit a COAB application, or you have any other questions, please contact Jasmine Wadsworth in Commissioner Fritz’s office at 503-823-3008.
You can find more information on the COAB in the Settlement Agreement here:
You can find more general information on the Settlement Agreement here:
December 11, 2014
City Sock Drive
As you are planning your time off over the Thanksgiving weekend, please consider adding “Socks” to your shopping list. As in past years, my office staff and I are collecting new socks that will be donated to people living outside in Portland. New or gently used hats, gloves, and scarves are also welcome. Sometimes a pair of clean, dry socks can make a significant difference to a person or family enduring Portland’s winter without shelter.
Donation bins will be placed on the first and second floors of City Hall, the entrance to the Portland Building, and at the 1900 SW 4th building.
I encourage you to “shop local” and/or participate in the Little Boxes adventure http://littleboxespdx.com/, remembering that more of your dollars stay in our area economy when you buy at locally-owned small businesses.
The Sock Drive will run through Monday, December 15. Thank you for considering participating. I wish you and your family peace and love over the holiday season.
November 24, 2014
Give your input on a crucial contract NOW!
The Council is in the process of selecting a Compliance Officer/Community Liaison (COCL) to oversee implementation of the Department of Justice Settlement Agreement regarding the Portland Police Bureau's interactions with community members experiencing mental illnesses. The three COCL finalists' presentations are here. Please comment by 10/30 at 5 p.m. on which candidate you prefer.
Additional information and how to comment is posted here. An overview of the process and candidates will be broadcast on Portland Community Media, Channel 30, at 2 p.m. on Wednesday October 29, 2014.
For more information, please contact Cristina in my office at 503-823-4124.
October 28, 2014 | Comments (0) | Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)
Volunteers needed for Tree Code Oversight Advisory Committee
Volunteers Needed for the Citywide Tree Code Project Oversight Advisory Committee
In April 2011, City Council adopted The Citywide Tree Regulatory Improvement Project (Tree Code Project) that created a new Title 11 Trees. The Tree Code Project will improve long-standing problems with the existing regulatory system and promote the continued viability of Portland’s urban canopy. Budgetary constraints delayed implementation of the Tree Code Project until January 1, 2015. With funding in the Fiscal Year 2014-2105 budget, City staff are working to create a seamless transition from the current Code to the new regulations.
An important component of this work is the formation of a Tree Code Project Oversight Advisory Committee (Oversight Committee) to monitor and evaluate implementation of the new regulations. The purpose of the Oversight Committee is to:
Committee members will be asked to:
The Committee will meet monthly during 2015 and will complete its work with a Report to Council early in 2016. It is not expected to be an ongoing standing committee. Meeting time is expected to be 2 hours once per month, with the time and day of the meeting to be determined by Committee members. City staff will provide technical support to the Committee.
The Committee will form in late October 2015 to begin project outreach and education. It will be comprised of seven members: 2 appointed by the Development Review Advisory Committee, 2 appointed by the Urban Forestry Commission, and 3 at large members. You do not need to be an tree expert to apply. Ideal candidates include individuals 1) with experience participating in local government activities, 2) with an ability to work effectively with staff and other interested parties and work towards positive problem solving, and 3) who represent underserved communities including communities of color.
If you are interested in applying for Tree Project Oversight Committee membership, please contact my Senior Policy Analyst, Patti Howard email@example.com using Tree Oversight Committee Membership as the subject of your message. Send a paragraph about your background and why you would like to serve. Applications will be processed when received, so please contact Patti soon. If you have questions, please contact Patti at 503-823-1120.
September 18, 2014 | Comments (0) | Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)
Old Town Chinatown plans
I support most of the Old Town Chinatown Plan passed by City Council on a 3-2 vote this month. I voted against it because I disagree with two key elements: subsidizing middle-income housing, and not providing adequate parks amenities for new and current residents. My speech at the vote is posted here: https://www.portlandonline.com/fritz/index.cfm?c=49205&a=500283
August 18, 2014 | Comments (0) | Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)
Technology Oversight Committee Vacancy
A vacancy has opened up on the City’s Technology Oversight Committee (TOC). I will be nominating a volunteer in the near future. This group oversees large or complex technology purchases and upgrades. Details here: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/?c=26912&a=355277
Please email my Senior Policy Analyst, Tim Crail firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested, using Technology Committee Volunteer as the subject of your message, and stating within the email your experience and expertise with technology systems. Applications will be processed as received, so please contact Tim soon. If you have questions, please call Tim at 503-823-3988.
Many thanks to Doretta Schrock, who has served as my delegate on the Committee since its inception.
August 4, 2014
Volunteers needed for Development Review Advisory Committee
The Development Review Advisory Committee (DRAC) is the City of Portland’s primary community advisory group regarding development review and the Bureau of Development Services' actions. The DRAC’s members represent groups with interests in the outcome of policies, budgets, regulations, and procedures that affect development review processes. Back ten years or so ago, as a community activist I worked with Bonny McKnight and others in the Citywide Land Use group to make sure the DRAC has balanced representation from all stakeholders - neighbors, large-scale developers, small-scale developers, nonprofits, etc.
The purpose of the DRAC is to foster a timely, predictable and accountable development review process that implements the City's goals for land use, transportation, housing, economic development, neighborhood livability and the environment. The DRAC advocates for and supports consistent and fair application and implementation of regulations.
The Bureau of Development Services (BDS) provides staff support to the DRAC. BDS is currently soliciting applications for two vacant positions on the DRAC representing these stakeholder groups:
If you are interested in applying for DRAC membership, please contact Mark Fetters at BDS, at (503) 823-1028 or email@example.com.
For more information about the DRAC, please visit the DRAC website: http://www.portlandonline.com/bds/index.cfm?c=46405. The DRAC meets the third Thursday of each month from 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. in Room 2500B (2nd floor) of the 1900 Building, 1900 SW 4th Ave. DRAC meetings are open to everyone.
July 29, 2014 | Comments (0) | Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)
How to schedule accommodations for meetings needing American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters
For City of Portland meetings:
* Contact the Office of Management and Finance (Procurement services under the Bureau of Internal Business Services). The website address is: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bibs/26522? The City has recently hired ASL interpreters, on call based on contracts.
For other meetings:
* Contact Oregon Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Program (ODHHSP) with the State of Oregon. The website is http://www.oregon.gov/dhs/odhhs/Pages/index.aspx. You can either make a request online or make a call. ODHHSP has recently contracting out with a private interpreting agency to coordinate such requests. Call Jeff, [(503) 947-5183] and see if he could refer you to appropriate private interpreting agency that ODHHSP contracts with.
* Look up on the website under http://asnwonline.com/ and schedule ASL interpreters, either call to (503) 447-5000 or click on the button "Request Online." Do this if the first one or second options are not successful.
June 14, 2014
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