Emergency Preparedness and the SNA Board Meeting

Digital preparedness on my cell phone

As I look at my iPhone 11, I see what kind of resources I have to keep me up-to-date for emergency response. To begin with, I have my children, my husband and a good friend in Portland listed as emergency contacts on my phone. It’s especially important to have at least one emergency contact be someone out-of-state and to have that person be aware of that role. It’s likely that text messaging will be the best way to communicate, at least for awhile, if the power is knocked out city-wide or state-wide.

In the event of an earthquake or an extended power outage, having one or more power banks is important, as phone batteries drain quickly in the cold. Turning off unnecessary functions like GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi will significantly extend battery life. These are the apps that I have installed on my iPhone: American Red Cross Emergency, American Red Cross First Aid, 211info, FEMA (you can customize your alerts), and the NOAA Weather.

And, finally, when I hear of any weather event that might affect the power in our area, I immediately charge up my phone to 100%.

SNA Endorses Sanctioned Campsites as Alternative to HUCIRP “Sweeps”

At its January 14th, 2021 meeting the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association voted to endorse our own District 42 State Representative Rob Nosse’s call to City and County leaders to use emergency funding and powers to immediately site additional sanctioned camping areas throughout SE Portland and the city as a whole.  Working directly with SEUL Executive Director Leroy Eadie, the following draft letter has been distributed to all of the Neighborhood Associations in the hope of SE Uplift voting to formally endorse it as soon as protocols allow.

Rob Nosse – Draft Sanctioned Campsite Endorsement Letter – PDF

Continue reading “SNA Endorses Sanctioned Campsites as Alternative to HUCIRP “Sweeps””

Getting to Know Your Neighbors

Q&A with Vahid Brown

As one of the founders of Hazelnut Grove, the houseless village at N. Interstate and N. Greeley, Vahid Brown knows a thing or two about advocating for Portland’s houseless population. For the past five years, he has worked as the Housing Policy Coordinator for Clackamas County’s Department of Health, Housing & Human Services. Recently, he has transitioned into a role leading the Clackamas implementation team for funds raised by Metro Measure 26-210. The measure, which passed by a sizable margin in May, is expected to raise $250 million a year for homeless services in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. “It’s the largest per capita investment in homeless services the U.S. has ever seen,” Brown says.

How long have you lived in Sunnyside? Since the beginning of the year. I was in Raleigh Hills before this and I did not like living in outer Southwest. There were no sidewalks where I lived! No coffee shops! If my partner and I wanted to eat a vegan brunch, we’d come to Southeast.

Do you rent or own? Rent. I have a friend who told me the other side of the duplex he lives in was vacating.  

What do you love about Sunnyside—besides the vegan brunches? I love the walkability and the trees. It’s been a balm during COVID to walk so much. 

What’s one thing you would love to see change about Sunnyside?  I’m already seeing it: making the folks experiencing homelessness more welcome and having their needs better served. I was introduced to the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association’s Community Safety & Livability committee recently and I was happy to see they are working on this. 

Many housed Portlanders think that all we need to solve the homeless “problem” are more shelters. Can you explain why this may be shortsighted? While it does make sense to invest in expanding access to shelters, it should be a place where they can be for more than one night and where they can keep their things—a shelter that will allow them to stabilize. While an emergency shelter that’s a night out of the cold is a necessary intervention to save lives, it’s not the be-all-end-all. We also need alternative outdoor shelters and accommodations with community, with friends, and with family. There are some people experiencing homelessness who are seriously traumatized and are choosing their community where they live—people who they trust and feel safe with. They may have a mistrust of government systems and homeless services. A shelter may not seem a safe option to them.

There’s something that we’re missing. If someone gets a long term rental assistance voucher and moves into an apartment, it’s not uncommon that their street community will come over, hang out, use the shower. These are communities. We have to grapple with ways to treat them as communities.

Emergency Preparedness and the SNA Board

Save the date for the virtual SNA Board meeting on January 14, 2021, 7–8:30 p.m. 

Part of this meeting will be dedicated to SNA Board members’ sharing their preparedness efforts. I will be moderating this meeting and I will ask board members to share where they are on the preparedness continuum. Also, other members of the Sunnyside NET (Neighborhood Emergency Team) will attend. If time allows, other Sunnyside residents may share their preparedness efforts. I hope that you will be there.

Adopt a Storm Drain

Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) crews work to keep city drains clear and prevent flooding. With over 58,000 drains in the city, we can’t get to them all. “Adopt” a storm drain near you and help keep them clear of debris. Tips on clearing drains and information about stormwater runoff.

Tips for clearing storm drains

  • Use a rake, shovel, or broom. Don’t use your hands.
  • Wear gloves. Be careful of sharp objects!
  • Wear reflective clothing so people driving can see you. Watch out for traffic!
  • Only clear drains you can reach from the sidewalk. Don’t stand in the street and don’t clear drains that are in the middle of a street.
  • Clear drains before the rain, whenever possible.
  • Clear 10 feet on both approaches to the drain.
  • Watch for standing water to avoid slipping or stepping on sharp objects.
  • Make sure adults are supervising if children are helping.
  • Clear surface debris only. Call PBOT Maintenance Dispatch 24/7 at 503-823-1700 for any emergency hazards or if the drain is still clogged after removing surface debris.
  • Never lift storm drain grates. They are very heavy.
  • Don’t put leaves in the street. Place leaves in a yard debris roll cart for curbside pickup. If you have too many for the cart, simply bag them and place them next to the roll cart for pickup.
  • If snow or ice is blocking the drain, clear a 10-12 inch path along the curb for melting snow and ice to reach the drain.

Thank you for helping keep Portland’s streets clear and safe!