Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sun, 9 Sep 2001 00:45:16 -0700 (PDT)


ALERT - PLEASE CIORCULATE to defenders of homeless people's Civil Rights:

LINKS for "Dignity Village" follow the many RELATED NEWS ARTICLES below:


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

Please write "polite letters of concern" to Portland, Oregon officials.
Ask them to stop forced relocations of Dignity Village and homeless people.

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

"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>

Yahoo News SEARCH for "Portland AND homeless"

FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Sep 05 2001 19:59

Under orders from Portland officials, homeless take down tents in 'Dignity

Associated Press Writer

     PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Most of the homeless people in a tent
village beneath a downtown bridge packed up their belongings and
left Wednesday, bowing to city demands.

But a handful of homeless people said they wouldn't budge from
the site they call Dignity Village, and would let themselves be
arrested instead.

City officials ordered roughly 75 people to move several miles
from the downtown village to a field near a composting facility and
the Portland International Airport.

Some agreed to go to the new site, while others said they would
go to a location in a Portland suburb offered to them by a private
landowner. Of the 61 tents and shelters that were originally at
Dignity Village, only about five remained Wednesday evening.

The Oregon Department of Transportation, which owns the land,
said neighbors had complained and that the camp under the towering
freeway ramps was unsafe and a liability.

The village, a collection of dusty tents, tarpaulin shelters and
portable toilets, was created last year by homeless people who
dislike the city's shelter system. They say the shelters are
overcrowded, split up couples and families and don't allow pets.

Last week, the City Council voted to order the homeless campers
to relocate to the field near the airport.

The residents of Dignity Village had voted Monday to ignore the
order. They said the city's site was too far from services they
need, such as grocery stores and public assistance offices. They
were also angry that the city this week erected a fence around the

The city has said the fence is needed to protect homeless people
from trucks and other heavy equipment at the composting facility.

Police Sgt. Jim Powell said the city had volunteered two buses
to move residents to the site near the airport, but that the buses
would not make the roughly 30-mile trip to the suburban site.


[ Excerpt ]

Wednesday September 5 7:19 AM ET

 Village Residents Won't Relocate

 By ANDREW KRAMER, Associated Press Writer

	   PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Residents of a downtown tent village for
the homeless say they will face arrest rather than comply with a
city order forcing them to relocate to a composting field several
miles away.
	   ``I'm not going to live in a concentration camp,'' said
67-year-old John Reese, one of about 75 people who have been living
in ``Dignity Village'' during the past year.

[ SNIP of content repeated in the updated AP story above this excerpt ]


Channel 6000  

Thursday September 06 10:39 AM EDT

Deadline Passes For 'Dignity Village' Residents

Wednesday was moving day for "Dignity Village."

Just before noon, the tent city agreed to move out from underneath the
Fremont Bridge.

Around 1:30 p.m., Tri-Met buses and trucks arrived to move them to the new
location, but only about 15 people moved right away.

Some will find their own way to the new Sunderland site in North Portland,
others are scattering to various places. The site was offered by the city,
as negotiations about where to relocate the homeless group continue.

Portland police officers say as long as there's a good faith effort to
move, they won't make any arrests.

Discussion: Should The City Provide Home For Campers?

FWD  The Oregonian - 09/05/2001

PORTLAND Area's shelters reflect challenges they face, defenders say


     Those who run Portland's homeless shelters acknowledge the facilities
aren't perfect. But they also question assertions made by some residents of
Dignity Village that the shelters are dirty, overly restrictive and not
geared to the needs of the homeless community.

The issue has come up several times this summer as some supporters of
Dignity Village, the well-organized tent community for homeless people,
began making claims that some Portland shelters are at the root of the need
for the village.

Various people at the village have said that they prefer to camp because
going into some shelters often means they are restricted by rules and that
some shelters are even dirty. They cite things such as crowded sleeping
conditions and regulations that often split up spouses or families.

Others say going into a shelter can mean giving up a cherished pet, and
there's also the issue of religion. Some privately run shelters are
operated on Christian-based principles, creating a potential conflict for a
homeless person who might be Muslim or Jewish.

People who work in or with the city's public and private shelters concede
that a portion of the complaints are valid, but they stress that different
shelters provide different options and that it is important to make
distinctions between them.

"Minimal" services Conditions in some of the basic, private shelters can be
very severe, said Bob Durston, assistant to City Commissioner Erik Sten and
a former director of Transition Projects. "You go in and get your space on
the floor," Durston said. "You might get a mat, you might get a blanket,
but the provision of services is minimal." Still, he said, they're doing
the best they can with their resources.

On the other hand, he said, the publicly funded, year-round shelters are
designed to be dormitory-style affairs with lockers, bunkbeds and
recreation rooms that are cleaned regularly by janitors.

In addition to distinguishing between different shelters, there is also a
need to recognize that conditions in them have changed in the past few
years, operators say.

"In the past, shelters have been some pretty bad places from the standpoint
of the people that come in and the kind of activity that some of the
shelters allow to go on," said Tony Swank, Portland Rescue Mission's
director of operations. "Some of what they feel are what are coming from
past situations. I think they (shelters) have gotten a lot better."

One longtime advocate for homeless people is Chuck Currie, director of
community outreach at First United Methodist Church and executive director
of the Goose Hollow Shelter. He said that the basic shelters are meant to
be temporary but that people have started to treat them as if they are a
permanent situation.

Impact of a virus He described an incident when a child with a stomach
virus entered the Goose Hollow Family Shelter one Sunday this past winter.
A few days later, about 14 or 15 other people in the shelter also were

"It's totally legitimate for people who are homeless to complain about
shelters," Currie said. "Shelters are not a real answer. They're an
emergency stopgap answer. They shouldn't have to live in shelters; more
than that, they shouldn't have to live on the street."

As for rules and regulations, some shelter operators say they're sometimes
necessary to protect those seeking shelter.

"Our experience at the YWCA is that homeless families that enter shelters
because of domestic violence want there to be available more housing," said
Jean DeMaster, executive director of the YWCA. "The kind of housing that
Dignity Village provides probably is not appropriate for families with
young children, but especially for victims of domestic violence. They need
to have separation from the perpetrators of the violence."

But she also said the village could be appropriate for homeless single adults.

Also, different shelters are often trying to help people with specific
problems. Some are geared toward the mentally ill and those with addiction
problems while others provide for people who are ready to make a transition
toward more permanent housing.

"There are literally thousands of people that are homeless, which means
that there's going to be thousands of different ways of how people
transition out of homelessness," said Rob Justus, executive director of
JOIN, an outreach program that helps homeless people move into stable
living situations. "A shelter is only one way."

Categorizing the homeless Justus said a tendency exists to categorize
homeless people when the only thing they have in common is their economic
situation. Those who dislike shelters often complain that after a night in
a shelter, they are forced to leave early the next morning. But the basic
shelters are not intended as a final solution for homelessness.

"People need a doorway. That's what basic shelter is about," said Major
Neal Hogan, director of the Salvation Army's Harbor Light shelter. "From
there, as they begin to settle, they have the opportunity to work out the
rest of the steps. You don't just jump to the last step if you are in

Another significant issue arises from the lack of housing for families.

"We realize the need there. We're making every effort to meet that need,"
Swank said. The Portland Rescue Mission is planning an 80-bed women and
family facility and it expects to break ground for that project in
December, he said.

As for the rules and regulations: They may seem overbearing to some, but
they are in place mostly to facilitate living in communal settings, Major
Hogan said.

"My own belief is that any time you create community, you will end up with
rules," Hogan said. "Whether they are written or not, they will be there."

And Justus said the whole system needs to be seen as an effort to offer
many solutions to one problem.

"They should be looking to the shelters as allies in recognizing that all
of us -- whether it's the village, whether it's JOIN, whether it's TPI
(Transition Projects) -- should be about the same goal: to help people end
their homelessness."


Channel 6000 http://www.koln.com/  

Friday August 31 02:56 PM EDT

Homeless Campers Agree To New Location

Homeless campers have reluctantly accepted the city's proposed location for
their tent city.

Portland city officials offered to let the group, made up of 75 homeless
people who oppose the city's shelter system, move to Sunderland Yards near
the airport for 60 days or until other arrangements are made.

Some members of the group don't like the location because it's not near
downtown, soup kitchens, health care and job opportunities.

KOIN 6 News reports that there are currently no other legal alternatives.

The campers have been living on state-owned land under the Fremont Bridge
and were supposed to leave by Friday.

However, they will not move until Tuesday because Sunderland Yard, a
city-owned composting facility, is not ready.

The Portland City Council is working with the group to find a permanent
home for the camp. Councilors voted 4-1 on Thursday to keep looking for a

FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Aug 30 2001 20:21
     Photo Advisory  PD102-103

Homeless at ``Dignity Village'' angry, but say they'll move 

Associated Press Writer

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Despite protests by homeless people and
activists who packed the council chambers, the City Council voted
Thursday to go ahead with relocating about 75 homeless people from
a tent city near downtown to a site several miles away.

Homeless people who attended the council meeting said the
relocation of what they call ``Dignity Village'' will put them
farther from soup kitchens, hospitals and job opportunities.

They also said they have kept the current site of their camp
free of crime by creating their own security patrol, and have kept
it clean through garbage recycling.

The campers at Dignity Village are not ``a bunch of lazy
scumbags'' but are ``members of society who are simply down on
their luck,'' said Ibrahim Mubarak, who lives at the tent city
located in an industrial area in Northwest Portland.

City officials say the homeless campers must move from the
state-owned site because the city promised state officials and
neighbors their stay there would be short-term.

On Thursday, the council voted 4-1 to look for permanent housing
for the group _ but also to go ahead with plans to temporarily
relocate the campers to a mulching area called Sunderland Yards
near Portland International Airport, about six miles from downtown.

Gay, who did not give her last name, told the council she would
prefer to stay at the current site because the asphalt ground at
Sunderland Yards will ``boil'' her cat's paws.

The council said the group will have to move by Tuesday.

Homeless people at the council meeting said although they don't
want to leave the current site, they will do so voluntarily.

Commissioner Jim Francesconi voted against the resolution,
saying the city should find affordable permanent housing for the
residents of Dignity Village.

City Commissioner Erik Sten, who has headed the search for a new
location, said he can sympathize with homeless people at Dignity
Village, but locating a site for homeless people is not easy.

``It's been close to impossible to find a site where we can get
the owner and neighbors to agree that it is OK,'' he said.
''(Campers) have the idea that we have a whole bunch of sites and
that's just not the case.''

Sten said no private group has been willing to supply a site for
the campers.

Mike McCauslin, a 35-year-old resident of Dignity Village, said
the new location will make it difficult for him to find work. He
moved into Dignity Village after his family business failed.

``I used to shun homeless people,'' he said. ``If (the village)
hadn't taken me in I would have had no place to go.''

Dignity Village was created last year by homeless people who
dislike the city's shelter system. Many complain that the shelters
are overcrowded or dirty, have antiquated rules, split up families
and don't allow pets.

AP-WS-08-30-01 2119EDT
Received  Id AP1012427847BA33 on Aug 30 2001 20:21


FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Aug 30 2001 18:32

Homeless at ``Dignity Village'' angry over eviction order

Photo Advisory  PD102-103 

Associated Press Writer

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Homeless people living in a tent city they
call Dignity Village are angry over the city's order that they move
their camp to a mulching field near Portland International Airport.

Many of the 75 campers, who have pitched their tents in an empty
lot in downtown Portland's industrial section, say the relocation
will put them further from soup kitchens and job opportunities.

``It doesn't accommodate the needs of our people,'' Ibrahim
Mubarak, who lives at Dignity Village, said Thursday.

He added that the group will go along with the move ``not to
impress'' city commissioners, but to prove that they can have a
positive impact on Portland.

Commissioners and Mayor Vera Katz listened to supporters of the
village during a packed city council meeting Thursday afternoon. No
one spoke against the camp.

City officials say the homeless campers must move from the
state-owned site in Northwest Portland because the city promised
state officials and neighbors their stay there would be short-term.

Campers have been at the site eight months, and residents say
they have proven to city leaders that they can coexist with
businesses in the industrial area and should not be shipped off to
the remote Sunderland Yard site.

``It's just like Pharaoh who didn't want to let the people go,''
Mubarak said.

Gay, who did not give her last name, told council she would
prefer to stay in Dignity Village because the asphalt ground at
Sunderland Yards will ``boil'' her cat's paws.

City Commissioner Erik Sten said he can sympathize with the
group, but locating a site for homeless people is harder than some

``It's been close to impossible to find a site where we can get
the owner and neighbors to agree that it is OK,'' he said.
''(Campers) have the idea that we have a whole bunch of sites and
that's just not the case.''

Sten said no private group has been willing to supply a site for
the campers.

Mike McCauslin, a 35-year-old resident of Dignity Village, said
the new location will make it difficult for him to find work. He
moved into Dignity Village after his family business failed.

``I used to shun homeless people,'' he said. ``If (the village)
hadn't taken me in I would have had no place to go.''

Dignity Village was created last year by homeless people who
dislike the city's shelter system. Many complain that the shelters
are overcrowded or dirty, have antiquated rules, split up families
and don't allow pets.

AP-WS-08-30-01 1927EDT
Received  Id AP101242215C832A on Aug 30 2001 18:32

FWD  The Oregonian 08/29/2001

Homeless spurn new tent site



Portland city leaders said Tuesday they want Dignity Village, a tent city
for the homeless, to move to a site near Portland International Airport's
runways for 60 days.

If the villagers refuse, they'll face police sweeps of any other campground
they choose, officials say. They could also jeopardize negotiations with
the city for a more permanent site after building credibility with the City
Council by running the camp well.

"We told them if you don't take this, the good will will dissipate," said
Mayor Vera Katz, who met with village leaders Tuesday. "It's a gesture of
good faith on both sides."

Dignity Village, which includes roughly 75 homeless campers, has agreed to
move Friday from its Northwest Portland site under the westside ramps of
the Fremont Bridge. The city and village leaders have been negotiating for
weeks to find a short-term alternative.

The new site is called the Sunderland Yard, a city-owned composting
facility in a remote Northeast Portland lot where leaves are trucked in the

Ibrahim Mubarak, a resident of Dignity Village and the group's spokesman,
said the Sunderland site won't work. Crews there frequently use noisy heavy
machinery, he said, the asphalt ground is too hard and it's too close to a
state-run jail. In September, the city will begin crushing rock at the

"I don't like it. None of us like it. It's just a bunch of rubbish,"
Mubarak said. "I think we've been hoodwinked. This is not something that's
going to work for us."

Mubarak scoffed at the city's threats of police sweeps, saying they can "go
ahead and do what they have to do." The village has proved its legitimacy,
he and others campers say. It pays for its own garbage service, runs
24-hour security patrols and a host of other programs within the camp.

"You know how animals are when they're backed up against a wall?" Mubarak
said. "What do they expect us to do? Get up and go sleep in a doorway
somewhere again? There's always going to be a Dignity Village. It may not
be where they want it but it's going to go somewhere. If they have to they
can bring it on."

Dignity Village was formed late last year by a group of homeless people who
take issue with the city's shelter system. Many complain that the shelters
are overcrowded or dirty. Others say many shelters have antiquated rules
that split up families and don't allow pets.

The camp currently sits at Northwest 17th Avenue and Savier Street on a
piece of land owned by the Oregon Department of Transportation. Many of the
residents have spent the week packing up their belongings and preparing to

City officials have given the campers until Friday to vacate the
state-owned parcel. The move to Sunderland Yard, if accepted, would mark
the sixth time in eight months that the campers have had to move.

Katz's office said the mayor and her aides has visited roughly 75 sites,
public and private, as well as lobbying churches and land owners on behalf
of the village. Marshall Runkel, aide to housing Commissioner Erik Sten,
has been negotiating with village leaders for weeks, and trying to get
various city bureaus to agree on an acceptable short-term site.

  Marine park dropped

Last week, Sten dropped a proposal to move the village to Powers Marine
Park in Southwest Portland after environmentalists and the city parks
director raised concerns.

"At this point it looks like this (Sunderland Yard) is going to be the only
place the city can agree on," Runkel said Tuesday. "It's not up to the city
to determine whether they succeed or fail. I think they've been given a
very legitimate chance to succeed."

The composting facility, which sits at 9325 N.E. Sunderland Ave. just south
of Marine Drive, is empty now and will be until late fall when crews begin
sweeping the leaves off Portland streets.

The site has access to Tri-Met's No. 10 bus line that runs every 15 to 30
minutes each weekday from about 5:30 a.m. until roughly 10 p.m. A trip from
Sunderland Yard to downtown Portland takes about 40 minutes, according to
bus schedules.

On Thursday, the City Council will vote on a resolution that would support
working with Dignity Village in the next 60 days to develop a longer-term
"pilot project."

The resolution calls on villagers to comply with a set of tasks, including
how to remain crime free and limiting camp occupancy to 60 people. The
villagers would have to find transitional or alternative housing within six

Runkel, of Sten's office, said police would not sweep a campground without
posting 24-hour notice first. Police would also talk with village leaders
beforehand, he said.

"We want a peaceful situation," Runkel said. "We want to do everything we
can to ensure that it's safe for police officers and for the villagers."

[Hpn] CAMP DIGNITY in Portland, Oregon USA seeks your support (fwd)
FWD 18 Feb 2001 / REPLY TO AUTHOR: "John Coomler" <jcoomler@teleport.com>


Camp Dignity is the preliminary stage to Dignity Village in Portland,
Oregon. Currently, it is a nylon community of about fifty homeless adults
on the edge of the downtown core area. The struggle is to gain governmental
support for this temporary space while a permanent location can be
negotiated. The police are wanting to remove the inhabitants soon (for the
sixth time) so public support is critical now.

Rebuttals to Unaware Statements and Questions About Homeless People

S & Q: Why don't those homeless people get a job?
Rebuttal: Actually, a lot of people living on the streets already work
quite a lot, but housing is very expensive. And some people have
issues that prevent them from being able to work in any regular
employment capacity. Mental and physical disabilities, substance abuse, and
lack of social skills prevent many people from being able to work

S & Q: Why don't those homeless people go to the shelters?
Rebuttal: There are fewer than 600 shelter beds in Portland to accommodate
the more than 3,000 adults and youth needing shelter each night and
the number of homeless is growing. The adult shelters are not
clean, safe for personal belongings, accommodating for those people
who are ill or who work late and need to sleep late, and the shelters are
not conducive for healthy attitudes about oneself. Approximately 1/3 of
the adult homeless are not involved in the substance culture and they do
not want to be forced to live with those people who are abusers.

S & Q: Homeless people are dirty and they leave a mess everywhere they go.
Rebuttal: Some people do live in filthy conditions and have little regard
for themselves and their surroundings. But many homeless desire
clean and sanitary conditions around themselves. The
Dignity Village will be monitored by the inhabitants themselves to keep
their space clean and sanitary. They have left every place they have
stayed as part of Camp Dignity cleaner than when they arrived.
There are portable toilets and a garbage dumpster is being secured so
that the garbage can be removed daily. Considering the challenges of their
living situation these homeless people are incredibly conscientious and

S & Q: Why does Dignity Village need to be so close to downtown, they can
find more land farther out?
Rebuttal: These homeless people are trying very hard to rebuild their
lives and in order to do that they need to be close to the services
that can help them do that. Many people need to have regular
medical appointments, go to work, access mass transportation, and connect
with each other for social purposes. New people are always going to be
arriving to Portland and an easy-to-find place will only help them in
their efforts to improve their lives

S & Q: Homeless people do not deserve all of these handouts and welfare
Rebuttal: Actually, the homeless people use much less free assistance than
do many of our businesses and more wealthy individuals who
receive large publicly funded tax breaks, tax shelters, grants, and
favorable rulings by governmental bodies. The homeless who work do pay
taxes and often are not able to qualify for some of the publicly funded
support that the wealthier people receive. The homeless just receive
different forms of support.

What Is Needed and What Can You Do? There is an urgent need for cash

Camp Dignity needs large 6-person nylon tents, facilities for washing their
clothes and themselves, money to pay for the servicing of the portable
toilets, for the cell phone time, for parts to repair tents and equipment,
for improving the cooking facilities, and for many other needs.

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 ]


Indignities - Oregonian EDITORIAL of 17 January 2001

FWD  Channel 6000 - Sunday January 14 09:00 PM EST

FWD  Seattle Times - Monday, December 25, 2000
     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. ]

FWD  KOIN 6 News [Portland OR USA] - Tuesday October 17, 2000
Mayor Vera Katz is determined to keep homeless people from camping in
Portland, despite a court ruling against the city's anti-camping ordinance.

FWD  Oregon Live / Friday, October 6, 2000

[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

FWD  The Oregonian - Thursday, September 28, 2000

"Street Roots" <newsroom@streetroot.org>, <beditor@streetroot.org>

Planned Camps in Portland, Oregon

Dignity Village <DignityVillage@PoorPeoplesGuide.org>

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