Tag Archives: Israel Bayer

Getting the policy ball moving forward begins with how we craft the message

Janet Byrd is a walking brain trust on housing issues and messaging. Working behind the scenes locally and with Elected officials in Salem, she has helped push forward a housing agenda statewide that is supported by scores of organizations, and individuals.

Byrd is currently the executive director of Neighborhood Partnerships, which works to create opportunities for low-income people. Byrd cut her teeth in neighborhood organizing in Chicago, working on housing issues such as insurance redlining, neighborhood disinvestment and tenant rights.

At Neighborhood Partnerships, Janet has been central to the success of the statewide advocacy coalition, the Housing Alliance.During her tenure, Neighborhood Partnerships also helped launch the innovative multi-county collaborative to serve high-need homeless families, Bridges to Housing, and quadrupled the impact of the Oregon IDA Initiative, a unique statewide partnership that builds the assets of low income Oregonians.

Street Roots recently talked with Byrd about the work she does, and the political climate we find ourselves in.

Israel Bayer: Can you talk about the messaging and framing work you are involved with and what you’ve found out over the past few years?

Janet Byrd: Neighborhood Partnerships has had the privilege of working with some wonderful experts in strategic communications this past year and a half, including Patrick Bresette of Demos and Larry Wallack of Portland State. We’ve been training and supporting a group of more than 60 leaders and advocates from a broad swath of issue concerns in our trainings, our Leadership Salons and our Advocates College.

We’re just coming to the end of the Advocates College now, and what I hear back from participants is that they’ve been able to use some of the new knowledge and skill in their work in Salem, in their communities, and within their networks.

The most exciting thing we’re doing is honing skills to create the terrain for new conversations. Rather than getting stuck in polarized positions, we are now better able to move toward policy change by carefully choosing words and the order of the concerns raised.

We’ve probably all been in a situation where the conversation we set out to have isn’t the conversation we end up having. We may be trying very earnestly to answer a question and realize mid-stream that we have no clear idea of what understanding lay behind the question, what viewpoint was shaping it.

That viewpoint is what the messaging folks call a frame. It comes from the recognition that humans aren’t blank slates. We walk around with preconceived understandings of the world and new information is slotted into pre-existing “frames.” All too often we don’t stop to think about what those frames are in our listeners. The result is that we’re talking, but we aren’t really having a conversation.

Where before we might end up getting angry or polarized, we now know that it’s possible to step back, spend some time analyzing and listening, and then re-engage in a different conversation. Sometimes the solution is to re-connect to the values that motivate our concern about the issue, because values shape thinking and create an emotional connection. Sometimes the solution is to offer a new way of thinking or naming something, so that you aren’t triggering a negative response. And sometimes it’s thinking about how you want to structure a conversation — the order of your points. Continue reading

Lecture series celebrates Burnside: A community

The PDX Re-Print Lecture Series will present Burnside: A Community, a book of photographs from the Old Town/ Chinatown area in the 1970s  by self-taught photographer Kathleen Ryan. The event takes place this Thursday, June 30 at 7pm, at Sisters Of The Road Cafe (133 NW 6th Ave.). $10 sliding scale is recommended.

The lecture will begin with the book’s author Kathleen Ryan in conversation with Street Roots Director Israel Bayer. The event will then open to Suenn Ho and Julie McCurdy, who will speak about their respective work with MulvannyG2 Architecture and Sisters Of The Road Cafe. Together, the group will explore the book’s relevance to Portland today, before a Q & A with the audience.

Documented in the book by Ryan are the flophouses, theaters and saloons  of skid row, with attention to the neighborhood’s ethnic and historical origins. The book opens a wider examination of the history of homelessness in Portland as well as current struggles. The book is being republished by The Dill Pickle Club with a new forward from Street Roots’ Executive Director Israel Bayer.

The PDX Re-Print Lecture Series is a series of four publications and free public lectures celebrating obscured and out-of-print books on Portland’s visual culture. Held at roving venues on last Thursdays at 7PM, lectures bring together authors, scholars, activists and community members, who will use the books to discuss how we understand our city. Each book will be reissued for sale by Publication Studio on the night of the lecture.

Media rhetoric in Old Town undermines public health debate

By Israel Bayer, Executive Director

Last month I tagged a story in my Director’s Desk titled, “Old Town Chinatown relations misguided.” The article argued that bad press and a major push to create political change by the neighborhood could have a negative impact on business in the area.

The Portland Tribune published a series of articles that in my opinion are sensationalized journalism for a political means. One article (above the fold) appeared with a photo of what appears to be an individual on the streets smoking crack cocaine with the headline “Crack Alley.”

I called the Tribune editors and the writer, Peter Korn, to ask them if they actually had proof that the person was smoking cocaine after people on the streets brought it to SR attention that there’s no way it could be cocaine due to the manner in which the drug is smoked. SR talked to more than a dozen addicts and former addicts, and they all believed it was marijuana, a very big difference. Continue reading

SR director writes forward for new Write Around Portland book

Write Around Portland is set to release its 35th anthology titled Still the Days Grow Longer. The anthology includes writings from the 2011 writing workshop participants along with introductions from Jeana Eldelman, co-owner of HOTLIPS Pizza, and Street Roots Executive Director Israel Bayer.

“I’m a proud supporter of Write Around Portland, and honored to be able to write the forward to the new book Still the Days Grow Longer,” says Bayer. “The organization is an essential voice in our community that brings people together to write, and be published. The new book is beautiful.”

Write Around Portland runs community-building writing workshops for people who are living in poverty, dealing with illness, facing isolation or experiencing other barriers.

Portlanders can attend the up and coming reading from people published in the new book on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 6:30pm at Collins Hall in the back of the First United Methodist Church at 1838 SW Jefferson St. (Goose Hollow TriMet MAX stop).

Admission to the reading is free, but donations of any amount are accepted to support the work of Write Around Portland. ADA-accessible. Childcare available – please call ahead if you need it (503-796-9224). Anthologies will be available for purchase for $12.

You can also purchase the new book later in the week at Reading Frenzy and Powell’s downtown.

For more information about Write Around Portland, please visit us at www.writearound.org.

Planned Parenthood CEO David Greenberg talks about what’s at stake

By Israel Bayer, Staff Writer

Planned Parenthood of Columbia-Willamette serves 60,000 women, men and teens each year in centers located throughout Oregon and SW Washington. It is the largest planning and reproductive rights organization in the region, providing a broad range of sexual and reproductive health care, family planning and myriad other medical services, including education and cancer screenings.

In charge of all of these programs is President and CEO Dr. David Greenberg — a quiet and soft-spoken advocate who has a long history of working for women’s rights and navigating complex systems surrounding reproductive rights. Greenberg has been with the local chapter of Planned Parenthood since 2001. He knows all too well that Planned Parenthood has been under attack for decades in this country, and that the latest round of legislation aimed at destroying the heart of the organization is just another obstacle in the long journey to maintain the rights of women, men and teens seeking professional medical services.

Street Roots spoke with Greenberg about the recent legislative attacks, and the politics that surround the services Planned Parenthood provides.

Israel Bayer: There are a lot of misconceptions out there around what Planned Parenthood actually offers to individuals and families. Can you talk a little bit about the services Planned Parenthood offers to people, specifically for low-income folks?

David Greenberg: Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette (PPCW) provides more than 60,000 women, men and teens with access to basic, preventive sexual and reproductive health care every year.

Ninety-five percent of the services we provide are preventive service — birth control and family planning, gynecological exams and Pap tests, screenings for breast and cervical cancer, and the testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. Less than five percent are for abortion services. PPCW offers permanent birth control options at our health centers — vasectomy for men, and Adiana for women. We also offer colposcopy and LEEP procedures (to test for and prevent cervical cancer).

The vast majority, 92 percent, of PPCW’s patients are low-income. More than 75 percent of our patients rely on some kind of federal funding to pay for their reproductive health care services at Planned Parenthood. For many of our patients, Planned Parenthood is the only health care provider they see every year. Without Planned Parenthood, many would have nowhere else to go. Continue reading

Vendors, readers make winter brighter

Street Roots wants to take the time to give special thanks to all of our hard working vendors. It’s this time of the year that we call the “February freak out” at SR. We’re months into the rainy season and tensions are high, people are cranky and the city is in a bad mood. For someone experiencing homelessness, all of these elements are compounded, and living on the streets becomes a living hell.

The health and wellbeing of individuals can become life and death in a matter of hours. Things like walking pneumonia and the flu are commonplace, and being able to prepare for the temperature changes can be a real challenge. It’s the pits for many.

That’s why it’s important to call out the vendors, and to thank them for staying upbeat and maintaining paper sales and for being involved in neighborhoods around the city.

Saying that, we can’t thank the vendors without thanking the readers. We so appreciate the relationships being built and maintained every day throughout the city. It’s these relationships that make SR special. The newspaper is just an added bonus.

Additional paper sales for vendors may mean the difference between a warm hotel room verses a shelter or sleeping under a bridge on a cold winter’s night. Thanks all, and enjoy the read.

— Israel Bayer

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times at the Portland Housing Bureau

The past two years at the Portland Housing Bureau have seen some enormous changes, ranging from the merger of the Bureau and Housing and Community Development and portions of the Portland Development Commission, to a new strategic plan, to working to change the way the bureau communicates with the broader public.

Continue reading

Thinking outside the box: Solutions to Old Town Chinatown open drug problems

By Israel Bayer

The following is a short list of examples that could be used to detour and drive out drug dealing during the early morning rush hour, and throughout the day in Old Town/Chinatown.

Open drug dealing has been a part of the culture in the neighborhood for decades. While some of these ideas may be pie in the sky — there’s no reason to believe that with a long-term strategic plan that some of these suggestions couldn’t work to curb the problem.

If the following examples below were positioned at key locations in the neighborhood, and supported by the larger Old Town/Chinatown community and the city — we could take back four to twelve blocks of our community. By doing so, we would be supporting local business, and promoting a healthy living environment for our neighborhood and the City of Portland.

The resources could be generated from the Portland Development Commission, and working with the Portland Business Alliance, the City of Portland, local businesses and non-profits to create enough income to generate supporting the projects. Continue reading

BTA: Rolling forward

Rob Sadowsky, Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s new director, looks ahead to the organization’s next 20 years

By Israel Bayer
Staff Writer

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is 20 years old this year. The organization has helped foster a bicycle movement in Portland that is looked at as one of the most forward thinking in the country.

In the past decade the organization has gone through tremendous change, tripling its budget and helping foster pro-cycling policies in Portland and legislation for Oregonians across the state. Among their work, the BTA has helped pass legislation, from lower speed limits on specific residential streets to stricter rules to protect pedestrians and cyclists injured by motorists convicted of careless driving.

In short, the BTA has been a leading voice in creating a movement that continues to grow and have influence locally and around the region.

The organization has also gone through a tremendous amount of change and staff turnover. Some critics say the BTA is soft and too close to those in power; others say it’s too dogmatic. The organization recently hired a new executive director, Rob Sadowsky, who led the Active Transportation Alliance in Chicago for the past six years. He also serves on the national boards of the Alliance for Biking and Walking and the League of American Bicyclists.

Sadowsky has more than 23 years of experience in nonprofits, mostly working on affordable housing and economic development issues. He offers a fresh perspective for the BTA and Portland on a range of subjects, which was clear from the moment our conversation began.

Israel Bayer: Can you talk about some of the program work the BTA does and how it’s benefiting the community?

Rob Sadowsky: There are three main areas that we work on. The first is advocacy around creating the best network that can be there for cycling. Be it bike lanes, bike corrals, parking facilities — just encouraging all of our local partners like the Bureau of Transportation to do the best that they can.

The second thing is around safety and education to both encourage people to look at bicycling as an option whether it’s for getting healthy and physical fitness or environmental reasons or both.

The third is trying to build a movement around bicycling so that it becomes an integrated part of our culture and who we are.

On the advocacy side we’re doing a lot of activity to try to move the Bike Portland 2030 Plan. It’s a very bold bicycle plan the city recently passed. We’re trying to keep the heat on and make sure the city is taking the proper steps in partnership with us to raise money for the plan. On the face, it seems expensive, but in the world of transportation dollars, it’s not expensive at all.

On bicycle safety and education we’re focusing on a lot of education in schools trying to encourage kids and parents to bike or walk instead of using cars. We’re also working through both policy and legislative means to try to create the safest streets possible.

For example, I’m representing the bicycling community on Tri-Met’s Safety Task Force that is looking top to bottom on how Tri-Met could change the culture of safety so that we don’t has as many accidents, etc. in the community.

Then around the movement, Portland and the state are really blessed in terms of its integrated movement. We have events and activities every single night. We have representation in a variety of communities from folks who “zoo bomb” to the people that do parties and “coffees” on the bridges to individuals that want to get formally involved in something.

One of the things we’re exploring is what role we (the BTA) play in building that movement. Having a place to share ideas is important and when the movement needs to speak with one voice, we are prepared.

Continue reading

Extra! Extra!

Relief is here! Not just the cooler weather, but also the new edition of Street Roots, practically smoking with the heat of the press on its pages. Help a vendor out and take one off his hands this weekend, and enjoy cool interviews and important news. Here’s a sneak peek:

BTA: Rolling forward: Rob Sadowsky, Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s new director, looks ahead to the organization’s next 20 years. Israel Bayer interviews Sadowsky for a better understanding of what cyclists – and the city – really need.

The unfiltered lens of Mary Ellen Mark: Amanda Waldroupe interviews the iconic photographer who has recorded some of the most unforgettable images of celebrities, oddities, the poor and the pedestrian.

Peace, immigrant movements converge for ‘No Soy El Army’ tour: A report on efforts by community and Latino organizers to educate people about the realities of war and the efforts of recruiters to trade legal status for military service.

Proposals sought for $1 million for homeless programs: The city’s special allocation of $1 million for local services to help provide housing for people on the streets takes a turn away from shelters and moves toward transitional, long-term options.

Plus, news on the proposed alcohol impact zone, a new storage pilot project for the homeless, reviews and poetry, and commentaries by Art Garcia and Ruth Kovacs. And if you’ve still got game after all that, hit the Sudoku on the back page! Thank you!

Homelessness, by the book

Understanding three decades of homeless-creating policy and what we can all do to change it

By Israel Bayer
and Monica Beemer

It’s hard to cut through the never-ending news cycles that bombard us daily to deliver a message. If your organization lacks resources and political clout, it becomes even harder to be heard. If the message has anything to do with human rights and homelessness, forget about it.

In a time when many Americans find themselves on the brink of economic collapse, individuals and families are looking at a horizon dotted with issues that affect their way of life but feel absolutely powerless to do anything about it.

The media, in all its forms, delivers headlines by the second about natural disasters, the global economy and soldiers who die fighting for a war we barely understand. Meanwhile, in households from Peoria to Portland, the realities of daily life set in; loss of jobs, massive foreclosures, and the loss of unemployment benefits — ultimately, for hundreds of thousands of Americans, the loss of any safety net whatsoever. Homelessness.

In 1979, the Department of Housing and Urban Development spent $77.3 billion in today’s dollars developing and maintaining housing to ensure all people could afford a place to live. Yet since 1995, the federal government has done nothing while more than 500,000 of these units have been lost, and an additional 335,000 could disappear this year.

In 2009, roughly 3.4 million families experienced foreclosures — 60 percent caused by unemployment. This year, as many as 3.5 million people will experience homelessness in the United States — a number that has been increasing since the Wall Street collapse and government bailout of the banks, and in the midst of the Bush administration’s 10-year plan to end homelessness. To put this into perspective, the federal government’s discretionary military spending is at $663.8 billion dollars.

The Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP), a group of grassroots homeless organizations based in California and Oregon is releasing an in-depth updated version of “Without Housing: Decades of Federal Housing Cutbacks, Massive Homelessness and Policy Failures.”

The popular report was first released in 2006, and has been a become a staple for politicians, scholars, think-tanks, poverty organizations and the general public to track the rise of modern-day homelessness. From the Ronald Reagan era in the 1980s, when the federal government dismantled the social safety net, to the present day, the report outlines the past three decades of policy failures that have led us to this point.

Continue reading

Hard rain’s gonna fall: What we’re losing in the state’s latest financial fallout

By Israel Bayer, Amanda Waldroupe and Joanne Zuhl, Staff Writers

Only weeks after Gov. Ted Kulongoski released his budget — the leveling off a $577 million deficit — the Dear John letters went in the mail: Thousands of letters informing the elderly, disabled, the sick and the poor that the state can no longer support the assistance they receive for basic needs.

The state Department of Human Services, which oversees assistance to the state’s most vulnerable populations, is absorbing well over $158 million dollars of this budget gap. Calling them cuts seems inadequate to describe the damage done. The governor’s reductions, which by law have to be across the board, also mean a reduction in the amount of federal funds leveraged because of state spending. In the end, what is cut at the state level is often only the tip of the iceberg in what is lost to the program.

In this edition, Street Roots is highlighting 15 state programs affected, and in some cases completely dismantled  — most of them within the Department of Human Services, but housing as well. The programs include alcohol and drug treatment, homeless assistance programs, and an entire system working with seniors and people with disabilities. The cuts are also completely turning what’s left of a mental health system upside down, not to mention the slashing of the state’s HIV, sexually transmitted disease and tuberculosis programs.

What we’re charting here is only a portion of the cuts affecting Oregon’s poor. There are many others, but this gives an overview of the catastrophic impact these decisions will have on our neighbors and neighborhoods. The information on the programs and the impact are taken directly from the state’s matrix on the budget cuts, and unless specifically noted, include both the cuts from the state General Fund as well as the losses in federal and “other” funding for this fiscal year. Agencies are operating under these cuts now as the majority of these budgets went into effect July 1.

As tough as these current economic challenges are, analysts project a $2.5 billion dollar gap in the coming fiscal year. It is hoped that with the information presented on pages 8 and 9, you will better understand what this is costing us, and what will be at stake next year when we can expect even more reductions in services to those in need, barring intervention.

In addition to the programs we’ve highlighted here, there are many more, not the least of which are reduced support for educating our children and our corrections network.

By year’s end, more than 60,000 people in Oregon will have exhausted their unemployment benefits. Without the prospect of gainful employment, many will be forced into the safety net of the programs listed above. They may be family, friends or neighbors to you. They may be you.

Seniors and People with Disabilities Division

Medicaid Personal Care Program, $2,375,705 cut: This and other in-home assistance are getting relief from $17 million in emergency funding from the state through June, 2011.

Nearly 1,200 Oregonians (882 aged and physically disabled clients and 292 developmentally disabled clients) receive this service at an average cost of $250 monthly. Effective Aug. 1.

Impact: Reduction would eliminate in-home personal care services that help maintain independence and dignity, such as bathing, eating, dressing and mobility.

In Home Care Program, $25,708,247 cut: Provides seniors with personal assistance, such as food preparation, housekeeping, shopping, etc. Effective Oct. 1: This and other in-home assistance programs are getting relief from $17 million in emergency funding from the state through June, 2011.

Impact: The program will be reduced by 75 percent. An estimated 10,500 seniors will lose personal assistance services, and may no longer be able to live independently and need to move to nursing facilities or other care settings.

“Regarding Oregon Project Independence, if you have a client who is in their 80s who needs help with housekeeping a few hours a month — people who live independent, want to and need a little bit of help. If you take away that help, at some point soon they’re going to end up in a nursing home. It costs taxpayers a lot less to pay for the couple of hundred a month to pay for in home than it does the $5,000 to $7,000 a month in a nursing home.

I hope taxpayers and the public understand. The scary thing about it is we all know somebody who is a senior citizen. And we probably all have tangential connections with someone with a disability, or a child with autism. These cuts are going to hit home in a way that really everybody is going to feel.”

— Dave Austin, Multnomah County Department of Human Services Continue reading

Extra! Extra!

Hot stuff coming your way, and not just that sultry Mother Nature. The new Street Roots just went to press and will be on the streets Friday morning, cradled by the hardworking hands of your local neighborhood vendor. Give him or her a smile and a buck, and here’s what you’ll find inside:

Hard rain’s gonna fall: The new state budget punches a hole in the safety nets for the most vulnerable Oregonians. We break down just a sampling of the programs being hit hardest, including support for the disabled, mentally ill and unemployed. An important read.

Insite into the problem: In our ongoing coverage of heroin addiction, Amanda Waldroupe talks with Russ Maynard with Vancouver’s Insite injection site. It’s unique in North America, but follows a proven harm-reduction program replicated across Europe. There are lessons here for the U.S.

The bike beat: Bike Portland’s Jonathan Maus keeps the gears turning on the city’s two-wheeled vision. Israel Bayer reports.

Film follows mother’s perspective on Juarez’s murdered women: It’s become an old story, but the murders continue, and one filmmaker seeks to make sure people understand the carnage and politics of the tragedy happening just south of the border.

Plus commentaries from vendor Leo Rhodes, the Mental Health Association of Portland, and a profile of vendor Allen Bennett. Grab water, shades, sunscreen and the paper, and your weekend will be off to a perfect start. Thank you!

Jefferson Smith’s view from the east

By Israel Bayer, Staff Writer

Jefferson Smith? Don’t know the name? You soon will.

Smith is an Oregon representative for the House District 47 that encompasses East Multnomah County. His working-class district has seen dramatic changes in recent years, including having thousands of immigrants and refugees flock to east Portland and Gresham, and absorbing a wave of poor folks from inner Portland who have been displaced over the past two decades by gentrification. The neighborhoods and schools that make up Smith’s district are full of a rich diversity of cultures and economics, yet there are major challenges.

While some areas of Portland are experiencing a renaissance of young, affluent, mostly white individuals and families moving to the city’s urban core, many native Portlanders and Oregonians continue to be pushed to the outer rings of the city by economics.

Less than 4 percent of Portland’s transportation money is spent east of 82nd Avenue. When $11 million in a federally subsidized loan program became available for schools — steered by the Portland Development Commission and the city — no school east of Interstate 205 was invited to apply for the funding, despite the fact that between 24 percent and 28 percent of Portlanders and more than 40 percent of Portland’s schoolchildren live East of 82nd Avenue.

Smith is fighting back, or at least he’s trying. One of the founding members of the Oregon Bus Project, a grassroots, youth-oriented political mobilizer, Smith is now faced with working for a district that is feeling the brunt of the recession and trying to find a formula for success fore residents of East Portland.

Israel Bayer: You have argued that the city has neglected and ignored the needs of East Portland. Can you put this into perspective?

Jefferson Smith: I want to encourage the positive efforts, including the East Portland Action Plan (a citizen task force with a small budget), the Rosewood Initiative (community safety around 162nd & Burnside), Gateway Green (a park near Gateway), and more. At the same time, we need to keep East of 82nd in mind as we consider big decisions, such as stimulus, transportation dollars, subsidized loans for energy retrofits, and urban renewal dollars.

I don’t want to say ignored or neglected. Rather, I would say that there has been a tradition of underinvestment, and we need to increase the priority and the urgency to change that tradition. I have had some robust conversations with City officials, many of whom have a lot of knowledge to share. I am hopeful that the City will achieve meaningful results, work to turn around the underinvestment, and create a new tradition. Continue reading

Mayor Sam Adams talks with Street Roots

By Joanne Zuhl and Israel Bayer, Staff writers

Support him or not, probably few people would want to trade places with Sam Adams right now. His first 18 months in office as Portland’s mayor has been saddled with a crushed economy that has hobbled the city’s financial status while fueling the need for city services. It has been plagued by ongoing flare-ups with police and the public, resulting in the firing of the police chief and the takeover of the bureau by the mayor’s office. And lurking in the shadows has been the rattling of recall efforts that twice failed to garner enough signatures to reach the ballot.

If it’s getting him down, it doesn’t seem to effect his game face, which more often than not remains stern and straight ahead. When we talked with him, he had just completed the 2010 City Budget — the 17th of his career working under former Mayor Vera Katz and now as mayor himself. This budget not only reflects the funding available now, but also projects a warning to bureau chiefs of the bumpy ride still to come.

Street Roots questioned the mayor about the budget and how he’s going to keep the so-called “city that works” working for everyone.

Street Roots: How does this budget stack up in terms of difficulty, obligations, priorities, etc.

Sam Adams: Putting together a city budget that balances basic services with smart investments in our city’s future is always challenging. This year’s budget was especially challenging due to the cuts to ongoing and one-time funds available. Fortunately, I work with a smart, dynamic and pragmatic group of colleagues on City Council. They fight for their bureau’s needs, but they also recognize the financial landscape we’re navigating through, and each is willing to compromise where necessary.

In terms of obligations and priorities, my first priority for this coming year’s budget (fiscal year 2010-11) was protecting the core services of the City and the services to help people most at need. It’s why I directed non-public safety agencies to cut 4 percent from their budgets and asked public safety agencies to target 2-3 percent. It’s also why I worked with Commissioner Nick Fish to increase funding to pay for increased shelter bed capacity, especially to meet more of the demand for women’s shelter beds. And, coupled with the Portland Development Commission’s budget, we’re putting $2 million toward construction of the Hooper Detox Center and additional funds toward the construction of the joint city-county mental health crisis center.

In the face of deepening county and state budget shortfalls, the City of Portland is going to have to find ways to fill the gaps created by other jurisdictions. When a person in our city is on the streets and needs services, they’re not saying to themselves, “I wish the county better funded these services.” They’re saying, “Who can I turn to for help?” So, I’ll continue to push for better funding for services for those most at-need, but I’m also committed to getting other jurisdictions — neighboring counties like Washington County and cities in our region — to increase their financial commitment to these services.

S.R.: You called this a recovery budget— what do you mean by that and what’s the forecast for Portlanders in the years to come?

S.A.: A recovery budget means that we’re not just helping people day-by-day, but that we’re funding the programs and services for people to make long-term improvements in their lives. So, for example, the Police Bureau’s Prostitution Coordination Team is about enforcing laws to curb prostitution. But it’s also coupled with a contract with LifeWorks Northwest, an amazing organization that helps women transition from lives in the sex trade to safer, healthier lives and livelihoods in the community. And I’ve continued to fund economic development efforts that help small businesses get access to start-up capital and storefront improvement dollars. At my direction, the PDC made administrative cuts that transferred $4 million toward economic development front-line programs. Continue reading