Tag Archives: Portland Business Alliance

Street Roots joins housing group on a two-day peer learning trip to Seattle

Street Roots is joining  Commissioner Nick Fish later today (by bus due to a mudslide along the Amtrak line) — along with an array of city and county representatives, the Portland Business Alliance, and non-profit leaders for a two-day trip to Seattle to look at resource development and best practices for housing and homeless services.

“I’m excited to learn from Seattle’s best and brightest affordable housing experts this week.  In the midst of shrinking budgets and increasing demand for help, we need to develop sustainable and flexible sources of funding,” says Fish.  “Seattle has a proven model, and we are meeting with leaders in philanthropy, government and community development to learn from their experience.”

Due to the on-going economic slump and possible federal cuts to housing programs along with projected revenue declines, specifically through the tax-increment financing system that helps fuel affordable housing projects — the region is faced with various challenges when it comes to ending homelessness and creating affordable housing in the future.

This comes on the heels of the merger of the Bureau and Housing and Community Development and portions of the Portland Development Commission, a new strategic plan by the Portland Housing Bureau, and several new affordable housing projects launched this year.

The trip sends a strong signal that the Portland Housing Bureau under Fish, and the county are being aggressive about how to properly plan for the future of housing.

The group will be meeting with a powerhouse of Seattle foundations, both local and federal representatives, housing levy advocates, and the local Housing Authority to look at many of the challenges and possibilities outlined above.

SR will be doing interviews with different folks along the way, and writing a news piece about the trip for the March 18 edition of the newspaper.

SR is also taking part in the trip to learn more about the inner workings of government, foundations, the business community and nonprofits and how they relate to homelessness and affordable housing to better understand where to prioritize our news coverage through the newspaper, and advocacy efforts in the community.

The trip is being financed by the Enterprise Community Partners (Northwest) — a national nonprofit focusing on community development and affordable housing, and the City of Portland. (Street Roots and the Portland Business Alliance are paying for their own expenses.)

Those headed to Seattle for the meetings this week include: Beckie Lee, Chief of Staff for Deborah Kafoury; Margaret Van Vliet, Director, Portland Housing Bureau; Andy Miller, Manager of Strategic Housing and Planning, Portland Housing Bureau; Daniel Ledezma, Policy Director for Nick Fish; Marc Jolin, Executive Director JOIN; Jesse Beason, Executive Director, Proud Ground; Shane Abma, Vice President of Downtown and Central Services, Portland Business Alliance; Carly Riter, Government Relations, Portland Business Alliance; Amanda Saul, Pacific Northwest Senior Program Director, Enterprise Community Partners; and Mary Li with the Multnomah County DCHS.

— By Israel Bayer

All the world’s a stage — street musicians

by Amanda Waldroupe, Staff Writier

Walk just about anywhere in downtown Portland and odds are you will be serenaded by a stranger. But don’t take it personally. This is business.

For 16 years, street musicians, businesses and the city have operated under an agreement that allows performers their place in the sun. But now, City Commissioner Amanda Fritz’s office will dust off the agreement, starting with a public forum for all those involved.

The forum is scheduled for Feb. 10, and Sara Hussein, Fritz’s policy assistant, says that Fritz is hoping attendance will include a large number of street musicians, business owners, representatives from law enforcement, Paul van Orden, the city’s noise control officer, and the city’s ombudsman.

Hussein says the forum was prompted by a number of concerns Fritz’s office has received from street musicians and business owners about the Street Musician Partnership, which was created in 1994. Street musicians, the Portland Business Alliance (PBA) and the City of Portland are members of the partnership, which sets down rules and regulations for musicians playing on Portland’s streets.

The rules include mandating that a street musician can only play in a particular location for 60 minutes, then either take a 60-minute break and resume playing, or move to another location. Musicians are not allowed to play more than twice on a corner or given location in the course of a day. Street musicians are asked to understand the city’s noise ordinance, and to be spaced at least one block apart. Amplification is allowed, but if the music can be heard more than 50 feet away, then it’s in violation of the agreement. Continue reading

AMA calls the hiring of Assistant Chief a ‘slap in the face’

Via the The Albina Ministerial Alliance…

The Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) Coalition for Justice and Police Reform today called Chief Mike Reese’s hiring of Portland Business Alliance Vice President Mike Kuykendall to an Assistant Chief job at the Bureau “a slap in the face.”

At a meeting with Chief Reese on June 17, the steering committee of the AMA Coalition urged Reese to hire a person of color to such a high-level civilian position in the Chief’s office to show his commitment to the community, in light of there not being any Commanders of color and just one recently-promoted Captain who could have been promoted to the position. The AMA and other members of the community had also encouraged Mayor/Police Commissioner Sam Adams and former Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman to diversify the command staff.

Instead, after Reese had the job of Assistant Chief of Services reclassified to a civilian position on the Wednesday, July 14 City Council consent agenda, he appointed Kuykendall, who is white.

Reese’s personal relationship with Kuykendall, which includes their membership in a band called “The Usual Suspects,” as well as Kuykendall’s background in the District Attorney’s office and at the Portland Business Alliance, gives the appearance of insider influence.

“In the same way Mayor Adams selected Chief Reese without input from the community, Reese has now picked an Assistant in direct contradiction to input from the community, and without doing a broader search,” said Pastor T. Allen Bethel of the Coalition.

“When he says he is trying to rebuild relationships damaged in the last 8 months by police shootings, ‘beanbagging’ a 12-year old, and the union march on City Hall, instead he has given us a slap in the face.”

Some members of the Coalition also worry about Kuykendall’s advocacy of the “Sit/Lie” laws, which target poor and homeless people in the downtown core. “If Reese is trying to build trust in our communities, he should not hire someone who is seen as not representing our communities,” said Bethel.

Via Street Roots…

Kuykendall was profiled in Street Roots in 2007. Street Roots and other homeless advocates have had strained relationships with the Portland Business Alliance during Kuykendall’s tenure. Disagreements were mostly over the city’s sit-lie law, and SR calling for public oversight of the Portland Patrol Inc., a private security firm that enforces public policy in downtown parks contracted by the Alliance.

In 2009, Street Roots joined the Portland Business Alliance in the hopes of improving relationships with downtown businesses. The membership was in exchange for advertising in Street Roots. Months after the agreement, Kuykendall accused Street Roots of yellow journalism because of an editorial it had written, and told the organization that the Alliance could no longer run ads in the newspaper. The reaction spurred a flurry of bad PR for the Alliance, and continued to put a strain on Street Roots and the Alliance’s relationship that has lasted to date.

Posted by Israel Bayer

Sit-lie a cliche of obstructionism

sit-lie2The new ruling that the sit-lie law is unconstitutional caught Street Roots off guard. According to sources at City Hall, it also caught the city on its heels.

Rumor has it that staffers there are scrambling to try to figure out what exactly the ruling means.

Street Roots thinks it’s clear to the broader public what the ruling means and what City Hall should do. For years, seven to be exact, the sit-lie ordinance has become a wedge issue in our community. Not to mention that the law infringes on the rights of Portlanders, specifically homeless folks.

The sit-lie ordinance is being evaluated in community-wide discussions led by City Commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz to determine the long-term viability of the law. We have a hunch that the process will not shed any new light on the subject.

This law is more or less a waste of everyone’s time.

It’s time to cut bait. Stop beating a dead horse. The police bureau, private security groups and the business community need to learn to live without the sit-lie ordinance.

The simple fact of the matter is, we have individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty that live and contribute in our community. We may not always like the way a few bad apples create tension on the streets, but it’s time to turn over a new leaf and look at more progressive and innovative ideas when thinking about these issues.

The Street Access For Everyone (SAFE) workgroup, made up of members from the business community, homeless advocates and concerned citizens, has created a framework on which to work together. We don’t think this should be lost.

Street Roots recently joined the Portland Business Alliance (PBA) in the same vein. We believe that while we don’t always agree on specific issues, the PBA and the larger business community do care about people experiencing homelessness. And we have to find a way to breakthrough the tired rhetoric. Here’s our chance.

In the past two years, the city and the PBA have supported the SAFE committee to help build more park benches and to open public restrooms downtown — things that benefit both the housed and homeless communities. They have worked to create day access space for people on the streets to have a welcoming place to go and have created the capacity for a homeless women’s shelter to increase its hours to 24/7. The shame of the sit-lie law only tarnished these worthy efforts.

What if the discussion could move on to what homeless folks can do alongside the business community? How can we be involved in cleaning blighted areas or helping police drug dealers and predators that prey on people on the streets? We can develop a relationship in the spirit of collaboration instead of confrontation, and share the concept that the people on the streets are a part of the solutions we all seek.

None of this is possible with an ordinance that tells people not be a part of the community at-large. It’s time to move along.

Read the latest news and the seven year history of the ordinance.

Street Roots joins the Portland Business Alliance

Director’s Desk from the June 12 edition.

For more than 10 years, Street Roots has battled with the Portland Business Alliance in a public arena and behind the scenes about such issues as the oversight of private security downtown and the sit-lie law – both of which we haven’t moved an inch on.

We still believe there should be oversight of the private police downtown, especially considering thousands of park exclusions are handed out annually. And we still believe the sit-lie law is inhumane and a gross violation of individual’s civil rights.

Still, the work Street Roots represents through the vendor program and Rose City Resource guide spans out beyond these issues alone. More than 80 vendors sell the newspaper in front of businesses throughout the Portland region – many of which are downtown. Vendors and Street Roots have built relationships with business owners and their cliental. It makes absolutely no sense that we work with many of the businesses the Alliance represents that we are not members and to take the steps to create more formal relationships. By joining the Alliance we will be in a better position to work with and engage businesses downtown. Continue reading

Act Now! Tell TriMet that removing Fareless Square is not an option!

busartTriMet is once again considering taking away Fareless Square. TriMet along with the Portland Business Alliance are working on proposals that would range from dramatically overhauling Fareless Square geographically to charging $1 to ride downtown and to Lloyd Center.

The police, business alliance and TriMet have alluded to Fareless Square creating an atmosphere of lawlessness. They also point to the loss of revenue for TriMet, an estimated $800,000. We think the proposed changes are about greed and intolerance.

The proposed changes strike at the heart of what makes Portland unique. Portland’s downtown is not a lawless urban environment regardless of how many lobbyists the Portland Business Alliance hires to say so. And we think the loss of revenue that small and large businesses will incur with no Fareless Square will far outweigh the $800,000 in revenue for TriMet.

The Fareless Square system is a model that brings people together. Regardless of your class or culture, together we are able to move around the city’s core in a way that promotes and celebrates what we have in common, not our differences. Fareless Square must stay.

What you can do: Call (503.962.4910) or email (pr@trimet.org) TriMet Public Relations office and tell them you want to Fareless Square to remain the same – free and welcoming for all.