Update on Sunnyside Encampment

We as a neighborhood association have been wrestling with the houseless crisis in our neighborhood more urgently since the camp at Sunnyside Environmental School has gone up over the past few weeks. We realize and fully understand that the location of this camp is not ideal for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that this is an elementary school with one of the few playgrounds in our neighborhood.  While we, the City and other agencies look for another place for these campers to live, we are working hard to make sure that these folks have food, access to bathrooms, trash pickup, and other services.

In December 2020, the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association endorsed the “Community First” Strategy to help guide us in our response to homelessness. This strategy guides us in our current response to the camp at Sunnyside Environmental School: 

  • We believe that unsupported camps are neither compassionate nor best practice. We are actively looking for potential alternative spaces/land for these houseless campers where they could set up a more permanent camp like Dignity Village or Agape Village.  
  • We believe that as a host community, we have a vital role to play, while it is also reasonable for us to have expectations as well. We realize that acceptable camp spaces do not include parks and school grounds.
  • As we look for alternative camping locations, we believe compassion comes first. Our Community Safety & Livability Committee has been engaging in rigorous on-the-ground efforts aimed at mitigating the impact of unsupported camping conditions for both unhoused and housed neighbors alike. We’re working very closely with government agencies (the City’s Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program, Metro, and Portland Police Bureau specifically) to gain access to additional resources and ensure leaders at these levels are informed. 

Here’s a more detailed update of what’s happened since our Dec. 28 Community Safety & Livability Committee meeting. 

First, several of our committee members made contact with Katie Lindsay from the Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program (HUCIRP). Lindsay walked around the encampment on Tuesday Dec. 29 and was told about the neighborhood’s concerns about drug use, potential crime, trash, and loud noises after hours. We also told her of the camp’s need for a port-a-potty and asked that it be placed away from the playground (and away from neighbors’ houses) on the North side of Yamhill. Later on Tuesday, Lindsay let us know that the area along 34th street would be “posted”—i.e. that signs would go up alerting folks that it would be cleared and cleaned on Monday, January 4.

Those signs went up on Wednesday Dec. 30. Members of Rapid Response (the clean-up service the City employs) and volunteers from our committee are working to help those people camped along 34th relocate elsewhere in the city. (Emergency shelters are also a possibility but as those are for just one night only, don’t allow any personal belongings, and don’t have any private rooms, they are usually a non-starter for most campers.)

A port-a-potty was set up on the corner of 34th and Yamhill on Wednesday as well.

While neighborhood volunteers started doing cleanups and trash pickups as early as last week, Metro began doing daily trash collection at the park as of Wednesday Dec. 30. Volunteers have been handing out Metro trash bags to campers, who know to leave the full bags at the corner of 35th and Yamhill for pick-up.

The needle box on 35th (near Yamhill) is back in service. We are working on getting the needle box on 34th (across from Taylor) back in service as well. Volunteers are monitoring and emptying those boxes at the main needle drop over at the Belmont Library.

If you have any interest in volunteering to help with trash pick-up, outreach, or an upcoming clothing drive please contact Jes Maran at csl at sunnysideportland.org .

Community Safety & Livability Monday December 28, 2020 6:30 PM

Community Safety & Livability
Monday, December 28⋅6:30 – 7:30pm

Agenda:

  • Follow up on outreach meeting with SES Park camp residents
  • Discovery of areas for potential sanctioned camps
  • Coordinate winter gear drive
  • Clarify Community Safety & Livability Meeting Time

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Community Safety & Livability Committee – Tuesday December 15, 6:30 – 7:30 PM

Tuesday December 15, 6:30 – 7:30 PM Agenda:

  • Refining our goals from milestones in opening meetings
  • Confirm a move to Monday meetings
  • Follow up on potential sites
  • Discussion on mitigation of the City’s sweep policy

We are looking for meaningful, impactful ways to positively affect the lives of people living with us on the streets, solutions in which everyone is treated with dignity.

Topic: Community Safety & Livability Meeting

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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!

https://www.portland.gov/transportation/weather/adopt-storm-drain

HBBA Pave and Paint Recommendation

In an October 1st statement the Hawthorne Boulevard Business Association endorsed Pave and Paint option #2 that would reconfigure Hawthorne west of Cesar Chavez to match Hawthorne east of Cesar Chavez.

See https://www.portland.gov/transportation/planning/se-hawthorne-pave-and-paint for more details on the project.

HBBA chose to recommend option #2 after multiple PBOT presentations and their stated reasons include safety, traffic flow and parking. You can read HBBA’s official statement about their Pave and Paint choice on their website: https://hawthorneblvd.com/?tv=5882719069798400.