More details are coming to light about the new women and couples shelter planned for 6144 SE Foster Rd, including the fact that it’s planned to be a low barrier shelter. Since the beginning, neighbors involved have criticized the process around opening this shelter— and are still asking for more collaboration and clarity
The Foster Shelter Steering Committee meeting begins at about the @ 8:00 mark. Whether you’ve been following the issue or not, there’s several insightful comments on the Facebook livestream, and you can read the comments in realtime as you watch the video.
I want to thank Gray Ayer for filming the meeting and allowing me to use it in this story. If you’re interested in getting involved in the planning process around the shelter, visit SouthEast Allied Communities web page.
To recap the last meeting, reviewed the program and building design.
@ 12:30 – April, from the Joint Office addressed questions from the last meeting:
In the last meeting, she said the committee wasn’t asked to vote on what population would be served, rather it was a “straw poll” or “check in”. The shelter would serve the most vulnerable homeless and those who “haven’t be able to engage in more traditional shelters”.
Said there wasn’t a budget for public safety, and that would be based on the good neighbor agreement.
@ 19:40 – April said it wouldn’t be humane to site shelter facilities far from neighborhoods they’ll have to integrate into eventually. If a person’s criminal history precludes them from being within a certain distance from a school, they wouldn’t be able to stay at the shelter.
@ ~25:40 – Willamette Center (a shelter similar to the one planned for Foster Rd) has a good neighbor agreement, but when pressed said that it wasn’t an actual written agreement. But it was clarified that a written agreement was offered, but not requested because things were going smoothly.
The neighbor who asked for a good neighbor agreement, bringing applause from many in attendance. He was told he’s get a good neighbor agreement.
@ 33:24 – A neighbor said that the current low barrier plan is at the different end of the spectrum from what Mayor Ted Wheeler said. His staffer said Wheeler didn’t understand the terms meant, but does now.
@ 50:32 – Officers from the Portland Police Bureau addresses public safety concerns around the 120-person shelter. The comments on the FB livestream are insightful during their presentation.
It’s good these meetings are happening, but this all exists within the context of a top-down process that didn’t include neighbors until the decision was already finalized. Early in the livestream, one neighbor criticized the steering committee model, preferring to pursue a lawsuit against the City.
This isn’t an endorsement, but Loretta Smith, a candidate for next month’s City Council election, address the issue in the video below: