References from today's Village Portland interview on KBOO

If you heard us on KBOO this morning talking with Paul, and Sara and Jonathan from Portland Assembly, here are the two videos referenced.

One from our tour of Wapato: 

And the other from Right 2 Dream Too’s (the peer-run tent-based unhoused resting camp) move:

Volunteer training for Montavilla Emergency Warming Shelter


There are very few emergency warming shelters available for the houseless residents of eastern Portland this winter. In fact Village Portland recently reported that the eastern part of Multnomah county will be missing around 90 beds from warming shelters not opening this year that did previously.

Montavilla’s Emergency Warming Shelter (MEWS) which operates out of St Peter & Paul Episcopal Church off of 82nd Avenue near Stark Street is one of the only shelters opening this year. The evening of December 17, 2019, was the second volunteer training held this year for the warming shelter. 

Clackamas Service Center is the only other privately ran emergency warming shelter in the area and has a similar occupancy capacity as MEWS at 26 people. The MEWS training was attended by around a dozen residents from the Montavilla area and further abroad in Portland.

After a tour of the facilities was given, Jonnie Shaver and Sophie Lord started the training which consisted of Shaver presenting a lecture surrounded around harm reduction and Lord focusing on behavioral health. Shaver has run the shelter since it started and Lord has many years of mental health training. Shaver helps with the opening of the shelter and Lord helps with closing in the morning.

“Besides human bodies in the form of volunteers the shelter is in need of several things” Shaver stated, “We are in major need for pillows this year but also socks, gloves, and things like hand warmers are also extremely helpful for our clients this time of year.” 

MEWS has been open two nights so far this winter season, Shaver said.

Learn more about the shelter and how to get involved at their Facebook page here. MEWS held a craft sale fund raiser on December 14th, see photos from the event below.

After thoroughly explaining what the harm reduction model is Shaver took time to show a video from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services on how to administer the opioid overdose treatment Naloxone in the case of a drug overdose. Shaver stated that while it is a rarely-seen situation the knowledge of what to do can save a life.

Shaver also shared that during a situation like this the main objective is to call 9-1-1 but to ask specifically for medical personal only because the presence of an armed officer could be triggering for some potential guests of the shelter. “We are here to provide them a safe place and part of that is to minimize the potential stress interacting with an officer can cause people” Shaver stated.

Read more…

The perfect storms of 1916


The Oregon Daily Journal, January 1, 1916 Source: Historic Oregon Newspapers

Did you think January 10, 2017 was a big snow day in Portland? It was but a mere 6.5 feet compared to our highest snowfall (19.2 feet) on January 21, 1943. Then there was Portland’s number one biggest snowstorm in 1893, bringing 31.8 feet of snow over 14 days.

Arguably, even worse than either of these record events were those at the beginning of 1916, when snowstorms, blizzards, and ice storms hit Portland one after the other almost without respite. Since Portland’s two major newspapers, The Oregonian and The Oregon Journal, managed to run several articles each day describing the storms and their impacts, and through those newspaper reports and headlines it has been possible to recreate the story of this momentous period in Portland’s— and Montavilla’s— history.

“Snow Begins to Cover Portland”

(The Oregonian – Saturday, January 1, 1916)

Snow begins falling at 6 pm New Year’s Eve— the night, by the way, before Oregon’s Prohibition law kicks into effect. Waking children can hardly wait to get outdoors.

It’s the first real snow since 1913 and everyone is delighted. Portland’s newspapers document in stories and photographs children and adults at play— sledding, sleighing, having snowball fights, building snowmen, and ice skating on frozen ponds.

Read more…

This weekend

Lots of cool goings on, so welcome to your weekend!

I miss digging into all the cool events happening in one neighborhood— but we are working on being able to have more reporters in more neighborhoods— so I suppose I can be patient as we grow.

There are still a few must-see East Portland events that I’ll keep bringing you. Find your big-money beer fests and touring shows in the mainstream news, we wanna bring you community-based DIY goodness.


It’s a long ways from East Portland, but St. Johns is an amazingly engaged community. We’ve been covering some stories out there lately, including this week’s plan by the St Johns Neighborhood Association to require an address to be a member. Unhoused advocates aren’t pleased, as Cory Elia reported from the SJNA December general meeting.


Get ready for Patricia Sanders next Montavilla Memories story about a massive snowstorm that shut down Portland in 1916. Her exhaustive research and endearing storytelling really takes you back. We’ll publish that story on Saturday, and until then you can read all of her stories here.


Into gaming? Dragon’s Keep is a new space for tabletop gamers to congregate in Montavilla. Watch the video to learn more and see how co-owner Rachel Anstad thinks gaming can help save the world.


Montavilla emergency shelter arts fair:

Get some cool handmade gifts and help raise money for some of Montavilla’s hard working volunteers. Portland relies on volunteers to run some of their emergency weather shelters, and this massive, critical effort to keep vulnerable neighbors out of the cold deserves all your love and support.

St Peter & Paul Episcopal Church, 247 SE 82nd Ave * 11 am – 3 pm


In need of some Christmas cheer? Check out the Christmas concert from the Sunnyside Symphony Orchestra. The schedule is below:

G.F. Handel ​ – Arias from The Messiah (soloists TBA)

Leroy Anderson – Christmas Festival

​Holiday Favorites (TBD)

Sunnyside SDA Church, 10501 SE Market St * 4 pm * free, donations accepted


Enjoy your weekend!

This weekend

Thanks everyone, we hit our fundraising goal in less than three days! It’s not always easy to ask for support, but we are grateful folks stepped up to support our campaign to purchase new video equipment.

Donations are still coming in, and all that we’ve been given over the goal will go towards funding our writers and creators in their work. You can see the campaign— and donate if you’d like— right here.


The future of the Wapato Jail facility has been a controversial topic for years here in Portland. Could it be a destination for unhoused people in need of treatment, mental health services, and job training? Its owner Jordan Schnitzer thinks so.

The doors were opened this week, and for those who couldn’t make it we filmed the tour. Watch the video below.

There’s been a lot of criticism and push back against the idea, but as is always said about the broader issue— it’s complicated. But I hope a look inside Wapato can offer some additional food for thought on its fate.

The most recent update to the saga which brought federal housing officials to the facility is reported by OPB here.



Winter makers craft fair (event):

For the next three Saturdays (12/7, 12/14, 12/21) visit Portland Mercado:

“Come and support local community craft vendors, and enjoy culture food, drinks, music, and live performances. All are welcome to join us to celebrate the holiday season!”

Read more…

Volunteer group is taking the City of Portland to court to serve food in parks


An image from a Free Hot Soup serving in Directors Park in late October, with people waiting to eat in the background.

Volunteers from the group Free Hot Soup are intending on taking the City of Portland to court over attempts to restrict their ability to serve meals to the houseless of Portland, according to a press release by the Oregon Justice Resource Center. There are a dozen plaintiffs suing the city according to the press release.

The release states, “a group of Portland volunteers is suing the City of Portland to protect the rights of people to provide vital free food services and other necessities for people who are houseless or otherwise food insecure. Their lawsuit asks the courts to block and declare unconstitutional a proposed new policy from Parks & Recreation that would place unfair restrictions and burdens on voluntary groups who provide food to people at city parks.”

Village Portland reports: Volunteer groups are determined to keep feeding houseless despite new City rules

City municipalities across the country have tried to keep volunteer service groups from feeding the houseless, and Portland’s Commissioner Nick Fish, who heads Parks, is just the latest of many to create new rules that would establish limitations. The City’s plan for Social Service Permits came to light at the end of October, first reported by the Oregonian/OregonLive.

The new regulation requiring the permits would take effect December 1, 2019 and was approved by Parks Director Adena Long in October according to Commissioner Fish’s Chief of Staff Sonia Schmanski.

According to Schmanski “We have reached out to Free Hot Soup to better understand their concerns.” And further says, “Commissioner Fish has pledged to help them secure funds for insurance, and to connect with downtown property owners who may be interested in hosting them indoors.”

When the new regulations were announced, it seemed like it was aimed at one specific group named Free Hot Soup who serve meals to the houseless community members of Portland’s Downtown in Directors Park five nights a week. The volunteers have been serving here for over six years and the new regulations require them to get a permit to serve.

See interviews with Free Hot Soup volunteers in the video above.

To obtain the permit the group would have to follow food-handling regulations, obtain liability insurance (which group members have expressed isn’t available to Free Hot Soup because it’s not an official non-profit), and it will further limit them to being able to serve only a single night per week.

Read more…

Crowdsourcing for new video equipment

Click on the image to go to the campaign.

We’ve been at this a while— telling stories about neighborhoods and neighbors serving neighbors in a variety of ways— and now we’d like to give you the chance to support that work and help Village Portland expand our coverage.

We’re starting small and specific: A new video camera that can help share the stories of all the amazing organizations, volunteers, and small businesses here in Portland. $350 will get us a second-hand video camera, backup battery, and SD card for Cory Elia to be able to move at his own Batman-like pace, and be where I cannot. 

Crowdsourcing a video camera for Village Portland

Kept up with the videos we’ve done lately? Did you see the one about the threat to Free Hot Soup, a meal for the food insecure five nights a week downtown? Or our conversation with an advocate teaching neighbors about architecture and ways to get involved with how their neighborhood develops?  How about our good times at the Weird Portland United gala?  

Asking for money is wildly humbling and uncomfortable, frankly, but it’s a small step into a shift of focus that is necessary to grow our work and meet the goal of having a part-time Village Portland reporter-cheerleader-referee in every neighborhood of Portland.

There’s so much going on in this town that doesn’t rise to the attention of citywide media, and these stories need to be told.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who’s been involved or offered their encouragement to me and all the contributors of Village Portland. If you’d like to extend that support by donating to this fundraiser, that would be awesome as well.  

Thanks & peace,
Andrew Wilkins
Publisher / Editor 
Village Portland

* Any money raised beyond our goal will go to funding our freelance writers’ work.