Mayor Hosts Forum on Community Safety and Livability in SE Portland Neighborhood
On November 5th, members of my staff and I led a panel of law enforcement experts and officials to address community safety and livability in the Lents Neighborhood. Representatives from Portland Police Bureau's Gun Violence Reduction Team (GVRT) and Detective Division, along with representatives from the City's One Point of Contact Program and the Police Bureau's East Precinct, were all in attendance. Over the summer, Lents experienced an increase in shootings and homicides. Lents is also impacted by homelessness as well. The goal of the town hall was to provide an update on progress made on crime in the Lent's neighborhood and talk about livability.
I heard members of the community express their frustration over the state of livability and safety in Lents. East Portland is today the heart and soul of the City of Portland. My goal as Mayor is to make the lives of all Portlanders better, and that includes explicitly those of you who live and work here. I am a strong advocate for the Portland Street Response program, for which my office set aside 500,000 dollars to invest in the pilot program. I know many of you want a robust public safety system in terms of jails and District Attorneys. Multnomah County funds some elements of public safety. We need to collaborate more effectively and lobby the county for much needed public safety dollars. As a city, we will work directly with you to address the crime, safety, and livability in Lents today and into the future.
City of Portland Tribal Summit
On November 5th and 6th, the City of Portland hosted the 2nd annual Tribal Nation Summit. The Tribal Nation Summit continues the commitment to develop partnerships and deepening relationships with tribal nations in the region. The summit is an opportunity to listen and learn from one another as we move forward with a commitment to strengthen collaborations and enhance diplomacy.
In conjunction with the summit, over 200 City employees participated in a day-long Tribal Relations Training, hosted by the Portland State University's Institute for Tribal Government. The training provided foundational knowledge to better understand tribal governance and sovereignty, and to bring to light the impact of the City's work on supporting tribal people.
The Office of Government Relations coordinated a day of focused discussions with tribal elected leaders. The goal of these discussions was to bring City senior leadership to the table and create space for opportunities for collaboration. Topics included housing, public safety, natural & cultural resource protection, climate action collaboration, inadvertent discovery planning, first foods, and economic development.
Introducing Our LGBTQ+ Intern: Matthew Palmer
I want to highlight the work that our LGBTQIA+ Community Outreach Coordinator Intern, Matthew Palmer, is doing in our office. Matthew was hired in August, joining our team straight after leaving his Legislative Assistant position in the Oregon Legislature at the end of its session. Though only being here for a few short months, he has done a great job of establishing himself as a valuable resource for local LGBTQIA+ organizations and individuals.
His primary objective with this new position has been to be an effective mouthpiece for the community members that rely on him. Up until Matthew joined this team, there had not been a singular person in City Hall solely devoted to analyzing policy through an LGBTQIA+ lens. Matthew hopes that through him, local organizations and individuals can feel as though their voices are heard in the halls of power that had historically treated them as less-than. He knows how crucial it is that LGBTQIA+ have a seat at the table. It is Matthew's mission to make sure that their voices are amplified and empowered.
He started his first days in my office by updating the outdated LGBTQ+ Resources page on the city website to better and more accurately reflect the current resources available to the community. He has become a sitting member on the Alliance for Safer Communities group, an integral part of the Transgender Day of Visibility planning committee, and a leader of the LGBTQ+ & Friends Affinity Group. He is focused on various policy initiatives aimed at empowering transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, a system for better tracking and recording the City's hiring and retention rates of LGBTQIA+ employees, and at developing more opportunities for LGBTQIA+ voices to be heard in different areas of local government. Matthew is a valued addition to our office, and I am thankful to have him.
Celebrating a Historic Moment - Louisa Flowers Grand Opening
There is a lot to be thankful for and celebrate, and this month we are celebrating the grand opening of Louisa Flowers. This new apartment community will provide 240 affordable housing units. This is a direct result of our belief as a city that everyone deserves to have a safe, secure affordable place that they can call home.
A housing crisis like we've experienced in Portland demands historical action, and that's what this project represents. The opening of Louisa Flowers is the largest affordable housing project to open in Portland in the last 50 years, and I am proud to be a part of this historic event.
All 240 units are affordable, and 20 will serve our lowest-income neighbors (households at or below 30% Median Family Income). To be able to provide all affordable units in a building of this scale is an impressive feat, and it's a true testament to Home Forward's deep commitment to the people of Portland, and to provide stable, affordable homes for our community.
This means that hundreds of Portlanders will soon be walking out of their front doors into a neighborhood that is rich with opportunity, commercial potential, and transit to take them to their jobs, their schools, appointments, or everyday errands. For some, the Louisa Flowers is where they will get their start, close to living-wage employment, and paying rent they can afford while they work and save toward their goals.
For others, this development will provide a safe, stable foundation for a new beginning.
Because all of us here know and understand that housing is about more than the physical building; it's about realizing a vision for the people who will live there. It's about recognizing the dreams, health, and prosperity they can achieve with a stable home in a thriving neighborhood, and the right support.
This project is yet another example of the strong partnership between the Portland Housing Bureau, Home Forward, and Multnomah County. It represents local government coming together in a crisis to respond with the will and resources to make a difference for the community. And it's a milestone in our ongoing collective effort to make this a more affordable and equitable city.
In the Community Council Sessions
A priority of mine is to meet people where they are, in their communities, and in spaces where they can feel comfortable. That is why my team and I have prioritized holding occasional evening council sessions out in the community. For me, it is beneficial to hear the voices of community members that generally could not make the trip to City Hall during regular business hours. This last month, we held two separate sessions, one at Portland Community College and the other at Self Enhancement, Inc. If you missed the previous sessions, please watch for notices announcing when and where the next Community Council Sessions will be held.