Emergency Preparedness

It’s Saturday, December 11, 2021 and the weather outside is rainy and windy with all sorts of alerts, watches and warnings beeping on my cell phone. And, an email request for possible standby deployment in case of power outages and downed power lines. And, a reminder for NETs (Portland Neighborhood Emergency Team members) to check on our street drains and bioswales to keep them free of debris. And that was just in the past 24 hours!

In addition, there are NET volunteers working on a daily basis year-round to connect with neighbors around emergency preparedness, volunteer at vaccination clinics and help out at shelters set-up during weather extremes both hot and cold weather. 

In order to do our work safely we are trained and can opt to receive additional training (currently online) so that we are prepared for deployments. Since COVID began, more city and county agencies are asking for NET volunteers and hundreds of volunteers have put in thousands of hours.

You do not need to be trained to be of service to your neighbors in Sunnyside. What tools, skill sets, and training do you have to help others? Do you know who your neighbors are? Have you talked to them about preparedness?

What steps towards preparedness are you willing and able to take during the winter months?

Questions? Comments? Need support in getting prepared? I have the time and the resources to support you. Email me at [email protected]

Sunnyside Neighborhood Community Cares (SNACC) Committee Update

We had a productive meeting in-person for the first time since Covid! We went through a quick orientation to transformative justice processes and what they can look like. We then discussed outreach strategies to build stronger relationships with the houseless community living in Sunnyside. We plan to partner up and divide up the neighborhood to do this outreach, initially to spread the word about the shower program and eventually to assist in conflict mediation and transformative justice processes, if appropriate. We also discussed the response we received from the City of Portland’s Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program (HUCIRP) last month. We went through the letter point-by-point to note inaccuracies based on our various experiences. We discussed further action, like gathering testimonials from other folks or publishing an article.

We encourage anyone who is interested in these efforts to attend our next SNACC meeting on Thursday the 20th at 6:30 p.m. Meeting details will be posted on the SNA website the week of January 17th.

​​Portland Charter Review

The Portland Charter Review Commission (PCRC) is currently working on recommendations to update the governing document of the city, focusing on the overall form of government and how city elections are conducted. If their first set of proposals receive support from 15 out of 22 commissioners, they will appear on the November 2022 general election ballot.  

The PCRC committees have found early consensus on the following ideas:

  • Expanding the City Council
  • Removing council members from directly running city bureaus and agencies
  • Redefining the roles of the mayor and city council
  • Moving elections to a system whereby winners will be determined in a single election rather than a primary or general election

These are just frameworks and the details are under discussion. The PCRC will be hosting its next rounds of listening sessions in January. For more information please see https://www.portland.gov/omf/charter-review-commission.

The Need for Foster Care Parents

You Can Help Oregon’s Foster Care Crisis

On any given day, there are 7,000 children in Oregon’s foster care system. Many of these children come from situations of abuse and neglect only to find themselves facing uncertainty and instability once they enter foster care.

Boys & Girls Aid, a nonprofit founded in Portland in 1885, wants to change that. We are looking for compassionate people to help improve the lives of children in foster care.

A good foster home is often the first place a child in foster care has felt safe in a long time. Foster parents help children build trust in adults and provide a supportive environment where they can thrive.

Boys & Girls Aid supports foster parents with responsive program staff available 24/7, ongoing free professional training, and generous monthly, tax-free stipends ranging from $1,200 to $3,500 per month. There are options to fit every family, from full-time placement to relief care a few days a month.

Fostering children might bring life changes and challenges, but it’s a great opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life — and in your own life, too. “It’s worth it to get to know these kids,” said experienced foster parents Jen and Chad. “It enriched our lives a lot.”

To learn more, visit our website boysandgirlsaid.org/fostercare, or contact Outreach Coordinator Scott Appel at (503) 542-2316 or [email protected].

Getting to Know Your Neighbors

Q&A with Scott Rupp

Scott Rupp, 59, has lived on the streets of Sunnyside and thereabouts since 2019. He’s easy to spot because he’s always blaring Rock & Roll—especially Tool. His music inhabits every empty space and crevice; there’s no escape. Follow the noise and realize that Scott, like Rock & Roll, is here to stay. 

How long have you lived in the Sunnyside area or back and forth between Sunnyside and Laurelhurst following the city’s constant sweeps?

Scott: About three years now. I’ve lived in Portland for 59 years. 

How long have you been living on the streets? 

Scott: 25 years. 

What kind of music do you like?

Scott: I love Tool. I think Maynard should be president. [Maynard James Keenan is the lead vocalist of Tool, an alternative metal band from Los Angeles.] 

What’s something good or one of the good things that happened while you’ve been out here?

Scott: (Laughter) Oh my God. What’s good? What’s good? These are hard questions.

What do you think about the guys who drive their cars slowly by and glare at us?

Scott: I think they’re misinformed. I think they want to see something for themselves. I think they have a shallow life; I think they have more of a shallow life than I have.

How many times have you been assaulted ?

Scott: I’ve been jumped by young men who were drunk at the time. There were four of them and I got hit in the head with a bottle four times. It messed my back up. Messed my train of thought up. I stutter now…now and then because of it.

You applied for Section 8 housing but that was denied. 

Scott: I applied for Social Security, too, and I was denied. Because they always do that. They always deny you […] They’ll deny you. They deny you about three times and then give it to ya. Because hopefully, you’ll just quit applying. 

Can you tell people how your wife, Debbie Ann Beaver, passed away?

Scott: She was in a car wreck when she was 18 years old and had severe head injuries as a result. She was taking seizure medication ever since she was 18 years old, up until the time she passed away. When we were living at Sunnyside Park three years ago, Rapid Response came through and took all…all…all of our belongings. And in her belongings was her medication. She had a grand mal seizure and went into a coma. Rapid Response was there again that day, because they come back again within 10 days to verify if you’ve moved back or not — back in your spot or not — which we had. And, ah, found her laying on the ground and wouldn’t allow anybody else to do anything…do anything for her. And they let her lay there and die. They wanted to fight with people, instead of help her. 

I’m sure if I’d had the chance to meet her, if she was hanging out with you, she had to be cool.

Scott: She had to be cool because she was a person, man. She was a person. She was no animal. She didn’t deserve to die like that. Nobody deserves to die like that. On the side of the street… (In the background, the roar of some dumb engine, its muffler spitting cancer in the street close to us.) People all around her.

For his wife’s wrongful death, Rupp currently awaits negotiations from the City of Portland’s lawyers. In a July Willamette Week article (https://www.wweek.com/news/courts/2021/07/28/legal-notice-alleges-portland-city-contractors-swept-a-homeless-womans-medication-leading-to-her-death), Rupp’s attorney, Michael Fuller, said Beaver’s medication was to “treat symptoms from seizures due to a head injury, high blood pressure and diabetes.”