The CEIC attended a panel meeting of City and County Officials met and downtown businesses on November 21st. The meeting’s goal was to talk about the livability downtown, what’s being done, and strategies for the future; however, many of the initiatives sited are taking place region-wide. On the panel: Mayor Wheeler, Multnomah Co. Chair Kafoury, Police Chief Outlaw, Multnomah Co Sheriff Reese, Multnomah Co DA Rod Underhill, and Director of Multnomah Co.’s Joint Office of Homeless Services Marc Jolin. Find out more here.
The City reported that, since January 2017, they have increased funding for trash, litter, and graffiti removal; increased patrolling; increased enforcement of problematic camping; put more police on ped & bike routes rather than in their cars so that they can better interact with community members; increased enforcement under the underpasses and bridges; created a tow program for abandoned cars and derelict RVs; passed a law making it illegal to give away a derelict RV; created a policy around “zombie houses” and created L.E.A.D. program. (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion)
They also moved R2D2 to the Rose Quarter area with a neighborhood agreement, partnered with the CEIC and NE Coalition of Neighborhoods to bring cleaning to portions of our neighborhoods through the “Clean Start” Program.
They reported that they are working on facilitating better inter-jurisdiction communication, especially with ODOT; establishing “High Pedestrian Use Zones” to help enforcement of the right-of-way on sidewalks (only in downtown currently); increasing the hiring and training of new police officers; and creating pilot programs for restrooms & mobile laundry facilities.
Chair Kafoury spoke of their focus on mental health facilities and more stabilization of homeless services. Marc Jolin said that while the number of unsheltered people has dropped, the total number of homeless people has increased. 700 new 24/7 shelter beds have come on line. They allow for pets, whenever possible, and add flexibility for couples. There is a veteran’s only shelter and they are adding more winter emergency shelters.
Chief Outlaw spoke of her commitment to expanding community policing programs and will be using data to be sure that resources are being used effectively and efficiently. Sheriff Reese would like support to use inmate work crews, which is being questioned by some, as part of the LEAD program working on mental health diversion processes.
The meeting received extensive press coverage: