By: Kerry Rowand, Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association Board Member
Following December’s announcement of a proposed homeless shelter at 6144 SE Foster Road, community members from Foster-Powell, Mt. Scott-Arleta, Creston-Kenilworth and surrounding neighborhoods came out to listen and to add their voices to the conversation.
The initial meeting on December 18 included a panel made up of Mayor Ted Wheeler, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, Joint Office of Homeless Services Director Marc Jolin, and Transition Projects Executive Director George Davendorf. The meeting space at SEIU was filled to capacity, with many turned away. Panelists presented then attendees were given the opportunity to comment. They spoke frankly and passionately, some expressing concern for a shelter in this particular location, and others advocating to do everything possible for those in need. A recording of this meeting can be seen on the Foster Area Business Association’s Facebook page.
In January the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association continued the conversation by hosting a special meeting. Roughly 130 community members were in attendance. Participants actively listened, spoke openly and asked thoughtful intelligent questions. They formed small groups and responded to the following questions:
- What are your fears and concerns about the shelter and what potential benefits would the shelter offer?
- What would a safe and effective shelter in our neighborhood look like? What if it were our task to write up the best plan we could for a neighborhood shelter? What would it look like? What might it include?
The meeting was followed by a Board work session that attendees were welcome to stay and observe. Special guests included senior staff from Transition Projects and Board members from the Sellwood-Moreland Improvement League (SMILE) who gave feedback about their experience with the Willamette Center, a shelter managed by Transitions Projects in their neighborhood. The President of the Foster Area Business Association and Chair of the Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association were also in attendance.
The Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association is grateful to Molly Mayo, Executive Director of SE Uplift, for facilitating the meeting and to Southeast Community Church of the Nazarene for hosting. The draft minutes from this meeting can be found on the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association website.
Additional meetings were held by the Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association and the Foster Area Business Association. The Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association looks forward to our continued collaboration with surrounding community groups and thanks to our neighbors for bravely coming together to engage on challenging topics.
Creston Kenilworth Neighborhood Association collected questions regarding the proposed shelter from the community which were answered during their January Board Meeting. For a list of those questions and answers click here.