PRESS RELEASE: Central Eastside Together confirms founding Board of Directors and responds to COVID-19.
“Central Eastside Together” an “Enhanced Service District, (ESD) created by the Central Eastside Industrial Council (CEIC) and approved in a unanimous vote by Portland City Council in February 2019, is delivering critical services during the COVID-19 to support local businesses and vulnerable citizens. Central Eastside Together, the first ESD in Portland in nearly 20 years, is managed by the Central Eastside Industrial Council (CEIC), the business association for the district since 1979.
Central Eastside Together has formed innovative programs focusing on workforce development, cleaning, and safety. These include Safety for All, Cleaning, and Graffiti Removal. As of October 1, 2019, all services are district-wide and focus on hiring housing insecure individuals. Safety for All operates 7 days a week responding to the needs of businesses, residents, and guests. A Care Coordinator and Outreach worker are integrated on the team connecting houseless residents with services including medical, housing, and workforce development opportunities. All are trained in trauma-informed care and deescalation techniques. The Cleaning team, operated by Central City Concern’s Clean Start program has removed 281,223 pounds of trash, 11,722 needles, and 3718 biohazards. Since October 2020, the Graffiti team has painted 144,200 square feet or 612 total paint outs.
A key component of Central Eastside Together is an open and transparent collaboration with community partners and stakeholders. Monthly reports are published on the CEIC website, and the Oversight Committee hosts quarterly public meetings, during which public comment is gathered for a quarterly report submitted to the Mayor’s office. In addition, elected official tours took place in January and February with County Commissioners, the Mayor, Portland City Council members, and State Representatives.
In January 2020, the founding Board of Directors for Central Eastside Together was formed. 18 people were selected to serve on the board reflecting a diverse group of Central Eastside businesses, property owners, community groups, and residents, several with a lived experience of houselessness.
All Central Eastside Together services have remained essential under Governor Kate Brown’s COVID-19 orders. Central Eastside Together quickly jumped into action working with the Joint Office of Homeless Services to get information about the novel virus to the houseless community. Between March 11-18th, the Safety for All and Care Team had close to 300 conversations with houseless individuals about COVID-19. Both teams handed out information, hand sanitizer, toiletry packs, masks, tents, and blankets. They continue to work closely with the Joint Office and community partners, distributing meals, water, and hygiene supplies as well as weekly fliers with important information about bottle drop sites, meal centers, and emergency shelters.
With the introduction of outside shelters to the Central Eastside, Central Eastside Together’s Board of Directors approved an emergency grant to the artist-led non-profit gather:make:shelter. One of the site’s community partners, the organization worked with shelter residents to create a banner wrap around the outdoor shelters, providing privacy and an artistic amenity for the entire community.
In June, Central Eastside Together’s Community Grant Fund will award an additional $50,000 to non-profits with projects in the Central Eastside Industrial District. The projects will focus on houseless services, workforce development, placemaking, community building, environment & citizen engagement.
The CEIC will be hosting our first virtual annual Open House at www.ceic.cc . Showcasing our transportation and Central Eastside Together programs, the Open House will be available for public viewing and comment from May 14 to May 28. We invite all members of the community to participate and submit their feedback.