Enron Mail

Subject:E-Katz: homeless/affordable housing; PURB members needed
Date:Tue, 17 Oct 2000 10:15:00 -0700 (PDT)

In light of Judge Stephen Gallagher's opinion on the City's homeless camping
ordinance, Commissioner Sten and I have developed a comprehensive approach
to dealing with homeless issues that includes working with private
organizations. Details follow below.

I have also included an item requesting applicants for the Public Utilities
Review Board. This is a board I created with former City Commissioner Mike
Lindberg in 1993 to provide needed citizen oversight of municipal utilities.
I encourage people to consider becoming a part of this important board.

You are a part of my e-Katz list because of your work with me or my
administration. To be removed from the "e-Katz" distribution list, simply
reply to this e-mail with your request. If you have multiple e-mail
addresses you use, please include a name and/or company, otherwise we may
not be able to locate the correct entry to remove. For more information on
the Katz administration, visit our website at

Reaffirming their commitment to providing safe, affordable housing while
standing firm against homeless camping in the City of Portland, Mayor Vera
Katz and Commissioner Erik Sten held a news conference today to announce
their holistic approach to address homeless and housing issues. The two
focused on the City's ongoing efforts to preserve and create more affordable
housing, the current tools available to continue enforcing anti-camping
laws, and announced an expanded partnership with JOIN -- a private
organization that does outreach to homeless people.

"While I am still a firm believer in the need for the anti-camping ordinance
to prevent unsafe and unsanitary campgrounds, this has given us the
opportunity to take a closer look at what we in the City are doing to
provide housing and shelter opportunities for everyone," said Katz, "and
while we've made strides meeting our affordable housing commitments, there
is still more we can do."

Katz and Commissioner Erik Sten announced their intent to follow the
recommendation of Sten's 0-30% Housing Resources Task Force to spend $3.5
million of the $5 million allocated for affordable housing this coming year
on housing for those in the 0-30 percent median income range. Over the last
seven years, the City of Portland has committed nearly $270 million towards
affordable housing, in addition to foregoing $10.5 million in revenue
through tax abatements.

"Homelessness is an issue that should be addressed by first dealing with the
individual at a personal level," said Commissioner Sten. "I appreciate that
the City is continuing to move forward on doing this with aggressive efforts
around things such as housing and outreach services."

Katz and Sten also noted recent successes in meeting affordable housing
needs, including the Portland Development Commission's just-completed
purchase of the Fountain Place apartment building and the recent opening of
Ritzdorf Court which completed the Shelter Reconfiguration Plan. The
Fountain Place acquisition -- completed just last Friday, means the city
will save the building's affordable housing rates, and serve as potential
replacement housing for nearby low-income units soon to be lost.

Additionally, Katz and Sten also announced an expanded partnership with JOIN
-- an outreach group that works to connect the homeless with services.

The Bureau of Housing and Community Development plans to increase JOIN's
current contract with the bureau to a total of $90,000. This money,
combined with a new $80,000 contribution from the Portland Police Bureau,
will increase the number of JOIN outreach workers, enabling them to work in
every precinct to link homeless people with housing assistance resources.

"It is critical that we find ways for all of us to work together to help
homeless people find their way off the streets -- that means our outreach
workers, police, ODOT, and neighbors all collaborating to make that happen,"
said Rob Justus, Executive Director, JOIN. "Our ultimate goal is to respond
to homelessness and address the negative effect of hundreds on the streets
by helping people into housing. By engaging the homeless people where they
are -- whether it's under a bridge or in an alleyway -- our outreach workers
can help them begin that transition off the streets."

At the same time, Katz and Sten said that the City's aggressive efforts to
preserve and create affordable housing opportunities and to link homeless
individuals to those opportunities, made it all the more reasonable to
continue to enforce the City's anti-camping policy which prevents unsafe and
unhealthy campsites from degrading neighborhood livability. Both said they
are pleased the Multnomah County District Attorney has decided to appeal
Judge Stephen Gallagher's opinion that the City's Homeless Camping Ordinance
is unconstitutional.

While the City Attorney's Office and DA's Office continue to analyze the
implications of the Gallagher opinion, Portland Police Bureau Assistant
Chief Bruce Prunk outlined alternative tools the City intends to use to
continue its efforts to restrict homeless camping in public areas.

1. Parks -- City Code closes most City parks between midnight and 5
a.m., others, such as Forest Park, close earlier. After closure, people
camping would be subject to state law prohibition on criminal trespass in
the second degree, and police could issue citations and/or remove people for
trespassing. The City also has the ability to exclude people from City
parks for a period of not more than 30 days. Permanent or temporary
structures or facilities are also prohibited by City Code at all times, so
police could issue citations or remove people violating the ordinance as an
unclassified misdemeanor.

2. Highway Overpasses -- Oregon Department of Transportation property
under I-5 and I-405 overpasses are posted with "No Trespassing" signs, which
means police could issue citations to anyone camping at those locations.

3. Sidewalks -- There are provisions of the City Code that prohibit
sidewalk obstructions.

4. Parking -- City Code prohibits parking a recreational vehicle in the
public right of way directly across from a residential, public park, church
or school property unless the vehicle is being loaded and unloaded for a
period not to exceed eight hours. In addition, no vehicle may park on the
public right of way or other public property in excess of 24 hours without
City permission. If so, the vehicle may be removed.

Prunk said the Police Bureau would continue to work with the partners
currently in place, such as JOIN, noting that recent efforts have focused
less on anti-camping citations, and more on trespassing violations.

To read Mayor Katz's comments from the news conference, go to

To read The Oregonian's editorial on this subject, see the following link

* * * * * * * *


Because of multiple vacancies, the City of Portland's Portland Utilities
Review Board (PURB) is still looking for qualified members and has extended
its deadline for applications. Positions are available for neighborhood
representation, public interest advocacy, large commercial/industrial
businesses, and local businesses.

Members must reside or have a business located in Portland. The
appointments to these vacancies will serve three-year terms. The deadline
for applying to fill these vacancies has been extended to October 31, 2000.

The 15-member committee, established in November 1994, is appointed by Mayor
Vera Katz to provide citizen oversight and independent and representative
customer review of water, sewer and solid waste financial plans and rates.
PURB operates in an advisory capacity to City Council. PURB meets monthly,
with each Board member serving on one of three standing committees covering
water, sewer or solid waste issues.

For more information on the responsibilities and time commitments each
position requires, please contact David Hasson in the Office of Management
and Finance at 503-823-6846.

Interested citizens can obtain an application for the positions by going to
Mayor Vera Katz's website at http://www.ci.portland.or.us/mayor under
"Citizen Involvement," or by calling the Office of Neighborhood Involvement
at 503-823-4519.

For more background on PURB, see the section of the Katz website on
Government Efficiency at