SNA Safety & Livability Update for October 6th Meeting

At the most recent Community Safety & Livability meeting, we discussed a draft of the Community First Strategy to Address Houselessness in Portland, Oregon and shared it with members of the neighborhood who attended the meeting to get their thoughts and feedback. We started the process of brainstorming how we might take actionable steps to help the houseless neighbors in our community immediately and voted unanimously to do so.

We like the Community First Strategy as a high-level, inclusive guideline to work from, as it attempts to address many perspectives. Of particular interest is the Action Plan near the bottom, which begins with the sentence  “There must be programs for short, medium and long term solutions.” If you’d like to look it over, it can be found on our website at https://sunnysideportland.org/comfirst-draft/.

We are reaching out to adjoining Neighborhood Associations to get their thoughts, and to examine processes already in action to address the emergency of houselessness as winter approaches. We’re also seeking strategic alliances with other organizations who can help.

The Houseless emergency will likely encompass most of the discussion at our next meeting which has been moved to November 10th to provide everyone undivided attention to vote in the Tuesday, November 3rd election.

Please join us at the next Community Safety & Livability Meeting Tuesday after Election Night. Discussions have remained collaborative and solution-focused with all perspectives shared and  respected.

Community Safety & Livability Meeting Tue, November 17, 2020

Agenda
  • 10-15 Minutes Lucas from HUCIRP –  brief overview of team HUCIRP
  • Further discussion on houseless crisis relief efforts in Sunnyside
  • Assistance we can offer neighboring Laurelhurst NA and Oak Street Camp
  • Action items from the Community First Strategy
  • Propose alliances and assurance from the City of Portland for holistic, fair and humanitarian responses to the community
Tue, November 17, 18:30 – 19:30

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SNA Safety & Livability Update

Attendance at the past few Safety and Livability Meetings has been sparse. I suppose, since COVID-19 weighs on everyone’s mind, the neighborhood has been fairly quiet. But with so many folks living without shelter throughout Sunnyside, the primary concerns around houselessness and camping are still relevant.

Of the perspectives and ideas proffered at several meetings over the past 2 years, I’m firmly not of the opinion we should abandon people in the street through the winter, toxic wildfire smoke, summer heat, or for any reason. Leaving people in scattered, unmanaged camps without sanitation and services isn’t good for anyone.

We share these challenges with many inner Portland neighborhoods and together we can seek relief and a civically engineered, humanitarian response. In a new neighbor’s words, “having to step through human suffering to walk in the park is a grim reminder.”

The focal point of the next Safety & Livability Meeting is a discussion of a draft of the North Portland Statement on Homelessness. The SNA board would like to join our fellow Neighborhood Associations to form a broader coalition and appeal to the city.

Please feel free to join us at the next Safety & Livability Zoom meeting, October 6th, 2020 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.. There is more information at https://sunnysideportland.org.

 

Life with COVID as Life on Mars

How can we count the ways Covid-19 has changed our work and social lives, and the ways we cope? My partner and I started a haphazard Mars simulation at home, complete with indoor exercise rigors, decontamination area for groceries, etc, which has added some fun to the quarantine. With all that’s going on right now, and plenty of others to speak to it, I’ve decided to keep things light with this article, and talk about a few amusements that have sprouted during the isolation.  

It was an accident really, the path that sent some colleagues and me back to gaming. The journey began when we started sharing computing resources with the Folding@Home project. Folding@home (https://foldingathome.org) is a distributed computer cluster, made of up idle home computers belonging to whomever is signed up and has elected to contribute their idle CPU or graphics card time. Each node completes “work units” that run protein folding simulations with the goal of finding vaccines for the SARS-CoV-2 Corona virus (that causes Covid-19). One can choose to donate their computer’s time for various diseases including cancer, Covid19 or let Folding@home assign you to the highest priority project. At the time of this writing they show 98.67% progress on the current sprint to evaluate a batch of potential drugs, which began on Sunday July 26th at 06:31:13 UTC 2020.

To this end, I began folding back in March 2020 with my regular office grade CPU and video card. It took no time at all before I was curious about what a modern, more powerful gaming video card might be capable of. A friend kindly donated a not-so-new Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super for the project – a reasonably powerful card. Following installation of that graphics card, my workstation produced 1.7 million work units per day, up from ~200,000! When I spoke about this with other engineers on my team, one, an avid gamer, spoke up. She suggested that I also try to have some fun with a nicer video card. Needless to say I’m grateful for her advice, which has led to some astonishing, educational and entertaining discoveries. 

There are some excellent space-themes games on Linux/Steam that fit our “living on Mars” pastime, which you can find here: https://store.steampowered.com/games/. (Linux is now a pretty decent gaming platform. Who knew? I’m using Linux Mint and Steam.)

Vector 26 – Racing pods on the Martian Surface, the artwork is brilliant and the game is engineering-based. You can build skimmers and must be cognizant of mass, power vector distribution, etc. It’s easy to build a skimmer that looks great, but won’t fly. One can spend hours adjusting and changing parts until it does. 

Eversspace – Released in 2016 and reasonably priced on Steam, this is pure eye candy. It offers a bit of action, resource strategy, and just looks really nice. There’s a new release of this one coming up “soon”. 

X-Plane –  This flight SIM is one of the games that’s stronger on Linux than Windows 10. I’ve been piloting the add-on P51-D Mustang from Skunkcrafts, generally around Kona HI. I’ll probably renew my pilot license after Covid because of this game. 

Stellaris – A detailed, 4X grand strategy game in which you build and rule a future galaxial society based on the policies you choose. There’s a lot going on in this game and it’ll take over your life if you’re into strategy and not careful.

Surviving Mars – A classic SIM based on exploring, building and terra-forming Mars, a nice distraction you can play in-window.

These five take up ample time, so I haven’t even begun to explore the many other games available for Linux/Steam. As a side note, I have a Windows 10 drive on this same desktop for comparison and one might even say that the games I’ve played so far do seem to play a little better on Linux.

In short, this project has been exceedingly valuable in providing some escape. I wonder what avenues everyone else is exploring for leisure and relief. 

Back IRL (in real life), I’m aware from my walks and in talking with folks that we have some areas of concern. I miss seeing you openly to talk about things, and I’m looking forward to the day we can visit safely again. For now we’ll have to settle for occasional passings-by at the grocery store, or out walking, and the virtual Zoom Safety and Livability and SNA board meetings. 

The next Safety and Livability Meeting is September 1st, 2020 at 6:30 p.m – 7:30 p.m., followed by a general board meeting September 10th, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Both meetings are public.The information on how to join us via Zoom is on our website, https://sunnysideportland.org. Let’s keep talking. Please join us; if we’re going to discuss problems, please come with some ideas for solutions too. 

I just want to say, make sure you’re taking time for yourself, and finding avenues of relaxation and ways to decompress. Everyone be well and stay safe. Cheers!