Neighbors discuss homeless sweep resolution at MNA board meeting

I was a bit late starting recording the meeting. But basically it started with Jonnie Shaver, Montavilla Neighborhood Association board chair, welcoming everyone.  He said there wouldn’t be a vote on removing the current board, though apparently some neighbors thought that was going to happen at this meeting.

Shaver said the Office of Neighborhood Involvement wouldn’t allow it tonight, and as you can hear on the recording, he said a process for the recall vote needed to be figured out because it’s “pretty unprecedented”. A representative from Southeast Uplift, who facilitated the meeting, said elections wouldn’t be held until October. They seemed to have a difference of opinion on the possibility of a recall vote, so we need to find who’s correct.

If you’re brand new to the issue, the MNA passed a resolution asking the City to stop homeless sweeps in the neighborhood. The resolution was covered by most every Portland media house, as was opposition from some neighbors.

Here’s a story I wrote on the issue last week. A town hall meeting on the issue is scheduled for July 29th, follow the link for its time and location. I’m working on building an audience for Village Portland through channels beyond Facebook, so the best way to keep up with my coverage of East Portland is to subscribe by email.

About 150 people attended the Monday, July 10th meeting, filling the room at Montavilla UMC. The board meeting began at 6:30 pm, so everyone had to wait while the board finished their business and then took a break. The meeting was about as contentious as expected, with many of Portland’s homeless advocates in attendence.

I was set to video the meeting, but Shaver said they had taken care of that. I’m not sure when that will be shared. I took this audio recording as a backup, but next time I think recording m own video would be quicker and more helpful.

One point the homeless advocates kept making was that when the sweeps happen, all the campers belongings get thrown away. So was the City of Portland not following their own court-mandated rules?

The Anderson Agreement came out of a court case, and requires the City to give notice and to hold the possessions of homeless folks when a camp is swept. I went into more detail about it in the story linked above.

I caught up with advocate and Right to Dream Too (here’s a film I made about the homeless rest area) founder Ibrahim Mubarak after the meeting to get some clarity on that point. I was glad to hear that he said the City was meeting that agreement, but it was still hard for homeless folks to get to the storage space and to get their possessions back to their home area on public transportation. Also, he said mentally ill people sometimes aren’t able to figure out where to go to retrieve their possessions.

I’m not sure if any progress was made at the meeting, though a few neighbors seemed willing to get more involved. If you have any questions about the meeting, feel free to make a comment on Facebook or this site. I can be reached at andrewtaylorwilkins@gmail.com as well.

 

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