Monday, January 8, 2018

Portland's Caring Community: Old Town Chinatown

Website and Portland's Caring Community (download pdf) is a guide to the housing landscape in Old Town Chinatown. It paints an accurate picture of how the housing in Old Town reflects the healthcare sector in terms of not only housing, but employment. 
57% of all housing units are dedicated to the homeless and their recovery.  It is comprised of two types of housing - supportive care and shelters. 
Healthcare is the major industry and is one of five economic clusters prioritized by Prosper Portland based on “local employment concentration, historic and future growth, global reputation and brand, and middle-wage job accessibility. It is the primary sector in Old Town Chinatown. 
This might all come as news to people who think of it as the entertainment district and are surprised to learn that people not only work here, but rent apartments and own condominiums in our neighborhood.

Safety First Campaign

There is a special report on the Safety First campaign launched by two residents and digital marketers, Ruth Ann Barrett and Katherine Fischer. The primary reason for raising the red flag of safety is straightforward and personal.  

With the existing 365 bed cluster the crime rate is over the top (22% of drug/narcotic offenses and 6% assaults). Resources such as the Police Bureau’s Behavioral Health Unit*, like the Police Bureau, is significantly understaffed. Our neighbor Jacob Shroyer was brutally murdered in the lobby of our apartment in May of 2017 and since then there have been five stabbings in a few blocks and a second murder around the corner. Residents and our guests tell us they do not feel safe.  

Safety First raises safety concerns of the residents and employees adjacent to a cluster of shelters at the North End of the New Chinatown Japantown Historic District where there are plans to add 200 low barrier beds to the existing 365 beds. Residential properties most impacted to the South include the condo, Old Town Lofts, and affordable housing units in Pacific Tower, Fifth Avenue Place, and Fifth Avenue Court.

The many supportive housing units and other residential units in the area North of Everett including Everett Station Lofts may also experience safety and livability issues as it is estimated that the sheltered population has a sizable share of persons reporting mental illness and drug use issues: as high as 71% of the unsheltered reported that they have one or more disabling conditions according to the Point In Time Study, 2017.

To the North of the shelter cluster and across the railroad tracks, the Yards at Union Station and the McCormick Pier Condominiums, two large residential properties, may find an increase in shelter beds creates more safety issues for both renters and condo owners.

Download Safety First report here.  

Call the Opinion Line at City Hall 503-823-4127 and insist on Safety First when it comes to locating another shelter in Old Town Chinatown. 

*This is the unit that coordinates the response of Law Enforcement and the Behavioral Health System to aid people, city-wide, in behavioral crisis resulting from known or suspected mental illness and or drug and alcohol addiction. 

Ruth Ann Barrett,, January 7, 2018, Portland, Oregon.

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