[Hpn] CAMP DIGNITY: Homeless squatters face eviction. Email Portland OR USA City officials. USA City officials.

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Tue, 30 Jan 2001 02:14:30 -0800 (PST)


CIRCULATE THIS ALERT PLEASE

Portland OR USA -- Mayor Vera Katz is determined to keep homeless people
from camping here, despite a court ruling against the city's anti-camping
ordinance.

Please write "polite letters of concern" to Portland, Oregon officials.  In
your own words, ask them to stop police from evicting the homeless camp
here, called Dignity Village.

DIGNITY VILLAGE
Office: 1231 SW Morrison, Portland OR USA
Phones:  (503) 347 9831
         (503) 228-5657
TO GET INVOLVED, Call Hannah at (503) 659-9384

EMAIL YOUR LETTERS TO:
"Mayor Vera Katz"                 <mayorkatz@ci.portland.or.us>,
"Commissioner Jim Francesconi" <jfrancesconi@ci.portland.or.us>,
"Commissioner Charlie Hales"         <chales@ci.portland.or.us>,
"Commissioner Dan Saltzman"       <dsaltzman@ci.portland.or.us>,
"Commissioner Erik Sten"               <erik@ci.portland.or.us>,
"City Auditor Gary Blackmer"      <gblackmer@ci.portland.or.us>

Or search the LINK below to find out how to PHONE or send them "snailmail":
http://www.ci.portland.or.us/inside/elect.htm [ accurate as of 22 Jan 2001 ]
City of Portland Elected Officials [ phone, address & email CONTACT INFO ]

BELOW find some related links, plus a
SAMPLE LETTER OF SUPPORT FOR DIGNITY VILLAGE:

http://www.oregonlive.com/printer2.ssf?/oped/oregonian/01/01/ed_71hubbi27.frame
FWD  Oregonian - Saturday, January 27, 2001
     [ Guest Editorial ]

  Camp Dignity is no indignity, it's an answer

     The homeless tent camp fills a need, beds for people who need them,
     at no cost to the city; so what's the problem and concern here?

  by John Hubbird [ of JOIN and Street Roots homeless newspaper ]

Your editorial ("Indignities," Jan. 17) concedes that homeless people need
and deserve "alternatives that are less crowded and rule-bound than
shelters," yet dismisses the Camp Dignity model, the homeless urban tent
camp, as a "distraction" from the real business of getting all homeless
people into a room or an apartment.

	The problem with this solution is the system claims it simply will
never have the money to do this. Mayor Katz loves to talk glowingly of the
millions of dollars the city has already spent on homelessness as if to
say, what more could they want? The unpleasant reality behind the rhetoric
is that on any given night the city has at most 600 sheltered beds and
about 3,000 people on the streets.

	With or without Camp Dignity we're going to have 2,400 or so people
living unsheltered. The question is, do we force these 2,400 people under
bridges and into doorways to be criminalized by police (for loitering,
camping, trespassing, public defecation, etc.) and victimized by street
thugs, or do we allow them to organize themselves into safe, sanitary, drug
and alchohol-free urban tented villages?

	Camp Dignity is demonstrating a workable model that makes much more
sense for everyone, especially homeless people, but also small businesses
that, under the former scenario, must deal daily with sanitation and other
issues around their businesses. So far, Camp Dignity has received
absolutely no public funds and it has successfully accommodated 25 or so
people since it started in December.

	So, where's the problem?

	The editorial correctly notes that Camp Dignity is really "trying
to move the discussion beyond the question of a bed for the night. The key
here is self-determination. The current shelter system is based on a "one
size fits all" assumption that every homeless person needs a job and an
apartment. When you're homeless, everyone else always knows what's best for
you.

	Many homeless people are certifiably unemployable due to addiction
issues, physical impairments, inadequate identification, criminal
backgrounds, mental or emotional issues, political/philosophical
perspectives and other factors in their lives. What about them? What about
conscientious objectors to an economic system they equate with the New
Babylon? What about people who prefer a nomadic lifestyle or who need to do
that for a period in their lives for emotional reasons? Whose interest does
it serve to criminalize these people?

	For that matter, why not let anyone organize into drug and
alcohol-free, self-help communities to live off the recycled cast-offs of
everyone else? Isn't this what our planet needs?

	Is the rest of society so threatened by poor people that we are
willing to sit by and watch them be stripped of their constitutional rights
and criminalized into prisons at a cost to taxpayers of $35,000 a year per
head?

	I hope not, because there's no telling who might be next. How many
of us are living one paycheck away from homelessness?

	The people of Camp Dignity are demonstrating there is a more humane
and cost-effective way to deal with homelessness. They deserve the support
of everyone who cares about living in a community with basic human rights
and constitutional freedoms for all, regardless of their economic status.

[ John Hubbird of Northwest Portland has been the director of a nonprofit,
community development corporation and a private consultant. He currently
volunteers at JOIN and Street Roots, a monthly nonprofit newspaper for the
homeless and low-income. ]

END FORWARD

**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is
distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**

SEE ALSO:

http://www.oregonlive.com/oped/index.ssf?/oped/oregonian/01/01/ed_41mki217.frame
Indignities - Oregonian EDITORIAL of 17 January 2001

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/6000/20010114/lo/289893_1.html
FWD  Channel 6000 - Sunday January 14 09:00 PM EST
     HOMELESS CAMP GETS WALKING PAPERS
     PORTLAND POLICE ASK CAMP TO MOVE

http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis/web/vortex/display?slug=
homeless25m&date=20001225
FWD  Seattle Times - Monday, December 25, 2000
     NO ARRESTS SINCE PORTLAND HOMELESS-CAMPS RULING
     By The Associated Press
[ Since a judge ruled Portland, Oregon's "Anti-Camping law" UNCONSTITUTIONAL,
police are now using "other ordinances" to close down homeless camps. ]

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/6000/20001017/lo/227316_1.html
FWD  KOIN 6 News [Portland OR USA] - Tuesday October 17, 2000
HOMELESS CAMPING WILL BE DISCOURAGED
OFFICIALS TO WORK WITH POLICE DESPITE COURT RULING
Mayor Vera Katz is determined to keep homeless people from camping in
Portland, despite a court ruling against the city's anti-camping ordinance.

http://www.oregonlive.com/oped/index.ssf?/oped/00/10/ed_61justu06.frame
FWD  Oregon Live / Friday, October 6, 2000
     ANTI-CAMPING LAW NEVER CURED HOMELESS PROBLEM
     CITY SHOULD FORGET AN APPEAL OF A JUDGE'S RULING

[Hpn] Portland's Anti-Camping Ordinance ruled unconstitutional...
Remona Cowles remona@uswest.net
Thu, 19 Oct 2000 22:49:09 -0700
Camping ban overturned
Landmark decision by Multnomah County Judge Stephen Gallagher overturns
Portland's nineteen-year-old anti-camping ordinance

http://www.oregonlive.com/printer2.ssf?/news/oregonian/00/09/lc_51camp28.frame
FWD  The Oregonian - Thursday, September 28, 2000
     HOMELESS CAMPING BAN VOIDED
  
"Street Roots" <newsroom@streetroot.org>, <beditor@streetroot.org>
http://www.streetroot.org

http://www.systemsolver.com/oregoncamps/
Planned Camps in Portland, Oregon

http://www.poorpeoplesguide.org/camp/index.html
Dignity Village <DignityVillage@PoorPeoplesGuide.org>
http://www.poorpeoplesguide.org






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