Tag: Saints Peter & Paul

Special Election Candidate Forum

On April 23rd, Saints Peter & Paul Episcopal Church will host an event featuring the three candidates running for Multnomah County District 3 Commissioner. Voters will select a permeant replacement to serve the remainder of Jessica Vega Pederson’s term as commissioner during the May 16th election. People interested in asking candidates a question can RSVP and submit questions online. Attendees should arrive at 247 SE 82nd Avenue by 3 p.m., with activities concluding by 4:30 p.m.

Candidates Julia Brim-EdwardsAlbert Kaufman, and Ana del Rocio have confirmed their attendance. Multnomah County has played an increasingly visible role in the Montavilla community, with two houseless support sites planned in the neighborhood. Many Portlanders look to the City for most issues affecting their lives. However, the County is responsible for a wide range of services, including support for seniors, people living with disabilities, animals, mental health needs, addiction recovery, and support for people experiencing poverty, including the unsheltered.

Event flyer for April 23rd Candidate forum. Courtesy Saints Peter & Paul Episcopal Church

District members elect four commissioners to the Multnomah County Board, and all County voters elect the Board Chair. Jessica Vega Pederson designated Diane Rosenbaum as the interim Multnomah County District 3 Commissioner when she moved into the Chair position after winning the seat last year. Commissioner Rosenbaum has served on the Board since January 4th and will continue until a replacement is elected. If no candidate receives the majority of votes this May, a runoff will occur on November 7th.

Meet Candidates: April 23rd 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.

Saints Peter & Paul Episcopal Church
247 SE 82nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97216
(503) 254-8168 or info@spp-pdx.org

Special District Election on May 16, 2023

Update April 21st, 2023: Candidate Julia Brim-Edwards will attend the event. However, she may be late due to a scheduling conflict that had previously prevented Brim-Edwards from attending. An earlier version of this article said only two of the three candidates would attend.

Promotion: Montavilla News has a Patreon account. We invite those who can contribute to this local news source to please consider becoming a paid subscriber or sponsor. We will always remain free to read regardless of subscription.

Community Meetings on Alternative Shelters

Last week began and ended with community meetings regarding the placement of alternative outdoor shelters in Montavilla. Meeting attendees expressed mixed support for the temporary housing program, and a significant number of residents voiced their disappointment with County communication regarding these shelter projects. Elected officials presented at both gatherings, but many community members’ concerns remain unanswered as the area residents wait for Multnomah County to engage in public conversations.

Organizers scheduled the two meetings soon after The Oregonian/OregonLive revealed that a 5.8-acre Volunteers of America (VOA) Oregon property could become an alternative outdoor shelter for up to 150 people experiencing houselessness. However, those early conversations did not produce a short-term lease for 8815 NE Glisan Street, and City staff will continue searching for locations outside of Montavilla. Some residents were concerned that this section of Portland was taking on an undue burden from government groups looking to address the housing emergency. At the end of December, Montavilla News broke the story that Multnomah County purchased two automotive sales lots along SE 82nd Avenue, with at least one location becoming an outdoor alternative shelter. The Joint Office of Homeless Services (JOHS) recently announced that Straightway Services will operate a Safe Park alternative shelter at 333 SE 82nd Avenue.

The Safe Park model allows Portlanders experiencing vehicular homelessness to park and utilize their vehicles for shelter. The fully managed site will provide safety, sanitation, and case management to invited residents looking to transition off the street. Shelter rules prohibit Recreational Vehicle (RV) parking and unsanctioned camping at this location. The nonprofit provider, Straightway Services, will maintain staff onsite at all hours of the day and be responsible for managing the location’s residents. The site is already fenced and awaiting the demolition of the former sales office. JOHS staff expect residents to move in later this year.

JOHS has not announced plans for the second County-owned site at 1818 SE 82nd Avenue. However, they have indicated it will also address the shelter needs of the unhoused. Montavilla already hosts a County supported alternative outdoor shelter called Beacon Village, north of NE Glisan Street. That location is widely considered a successful implementation, and the County often cites it as an example in its communications. When these two new 82nd Avenue locations open, the County will have three alternative outdoor shelters within close proximity to each other, prompting questions from neighborhood residents about site selection diversity.

Mayor Ted Wheeler speaking at the March 18th, 2023, town hall

Saints Peter & Paul Episcopal Church hosted a Stand for Compassion gathering on Sunday, March 12th. Multnomah County Commissioner Diane Rosenbaum and State Representative Khanh Pham spoke briefly at the event. Over a dozen community members attended the gathering that focused on engaging in supportive conversations around the Safe Park site. Most attendees of this meeting felt hopeful about the program and appreciated that some new models of shelter support were coming to the neighborhood.

The Columbia Christian School hosted a town hall meeting on Saturday afternoon in their Eastside Church of Christ chapel. This event was coordinated by Safe Rest PDX and attended by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who spoke for an hour. With the VOA site no longer considered for a City run temporary shelter site, his conversation focused on the program’s ambitions to end unsanctioned camping in Portland and his belief that it was the most humane solution to getting people off the street quickly. Event organizers took written questions from the audience for the Mayor and selected a few to ask. After he concluded his portion of the meeting, the two hundred attendees thinned out considerably, and the TV news crews from KoinKGWKATU, and KPTV packed up their equipment. The event continued for almost another hour, with speakers sharing their experience engaging the unhoused and expressing concern over JOHS’s lack of communication. Examples of the County’s short Cummings centered around missing several self-imposed deadlines for mailing information to residents near 333 SE 82nd Avenue and the lack of County attendance at their meeting. Outside of the written questions for the Mayor, organizers asked attendees to refrain from speaking. However, they collected people’s concerns through a survey and plan to share those comments at a future date.

During Mayor Wheeler’s time at the lectern, he informed the crowd that the City was not planning to have any other large 150-person camps sited in Montavilla, limiting the future alternative shelters to the three County locations. JOHS and Straightway Services are committed to holding a public conversation with the community closer to the site’s opening and signing a Good Neighbor Agreement with the local business and neighborhood associations. Until then, there will likely remain a gap in public information beyond what is available on the County’s Frequently Asked Questions webpage for the Montavilla Safe Park.

Disclosure: The Author of this article servers on the boards of Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association, 82nd Avenue Business Association, and Montavilla Neighborhood Association. Those groups will work with Multnomah County’s Joint Office of Homeless Services and Straightway Services to draft a Good Neighbor Agreement for the Safe Park Village on SE 82nd Avenue.

Book Launch Event at Zuckercreme Wednesday

Zuckercreme will host the first in a series of book events presenting the works of a local author, Rev. Sara Fischer. At 7 p.m. on October 5th, people can gather at 414 SE 81st Avenue to hear from the creator of Open: Adventures in Radical Hospitality. The author will read from the book, answer questions, and sign copies. Organizers will serve refreshments during the event.

The book focuses on Saints Peter & Paul Episcopal Church during the turmoil of 2020 and explores the path that lead Rev. Sara Fischer to that place and moment. Open’s subject matter makes it a uniquely Montavilla story that looks at the City and society from the center-point of this community. The author recognizes the significance of holding the inaugural reading in the neighborhood. “It is in many ways a ‘Montavilla book,'” wrote Fischer in an event announcement.

Interested readers can purchase the book online at Amazon.com and Bookshop.org or this week’s event. Rev. Sara Fischer is currently Rector for Saints Peter & Paul Episcopal Church at 247 SE 82nd Avenue and is cofounder of Rahab’s Sisters. Fischer will donate all net proceeds from book sales to Rahab’s Sisters and Saints Peter & Paul.

Set in what the author affectionately calls “the spiritual-but-not-religious center of the universe,” Open tells the story of a scrappy little church in southeast Portland, Oregon, and its many encounters with the poor in its neighborhood and beyond. In the city that in 2020 became a focus of national attention because of tireless protests against police brutality, the complexity and vulnerability that characterize racial struggles in America’s whitest city also characterize the struggles of this neighborhood church and its priest’s hunger for justice and hope. The church opens its doors and hearts to people marginalized by sex work, poverty, prejudice, or addiction–people whom others cannot or will not help–while on a national and global scale 2020 shines a light on legacy racial and economic injustices. The book explores intersections between faith, social unrest, and one clergywoman’s search for meaningful work.

Wipf and Stock Publishers

Promotion: Montavilla News has a Patreon account. We invite those who can contribute to this local news source to please consider becoming a paid subscriber or sponsor. We will always remain free to read regardless of subscription.