Press Release: Commissioner Hardesty Directs PBOT to Collaborate with Community on Gun Violence and Speeding in Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood

Link to original article

Originally Published October 1, 2021 11:20 am

Day after day, the Portland City Council is hearing tragic stories as gun violence continues to devastate our community. Earlier this week, the FBI released data confirming that gun violence is skyrocketing nationwide and Portland is no exception. The Portland City Council has acted – including a historic investment in community-based organizations that interrupt violence and address upstream solutions – but more urgent action is needed.  

As the office of Commissioner Hardesty seeks expanded data from PPB on exactly where shootings are occurring to understand patterns and hot spots, it’s become clear that there is a specific part of the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood that is witnessing a high volume of shootings.

Community members in this neighborhood observed that high-speed traffic from gun violence incidents further threatens public safety. As the Commissioner overseeing the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), which handles traffic safety issues, Commissioner Hardesty’s staff worked with PBOT experts and residents to explore options for how the deployment of temporary traffic control devices could help discourage or mitigate the effects of gun violence.

Local resident Nadine Salama described the collaboration, saying “In early August, a group of concerned neighbors reached out to Commissioner Hardesty’s office to seek help and guidance regarding the sudden uptick of violence in our neighborhood. Since then, we have been working with the Commissioner’s office on solutions that would yield equitable long-term results and not further endanger our community’s most vulnerable. Using all of their resources, the Commissioner’s office responded to our pleas swiftly and exceptionally quickly. In fact, within just one week of our request to address reckless driving & gun violence, some of our most affected streets are now limited to local access only.”

“The increase in gun violence we are seeing nationwide and here in Portland is due to a complex array of issues, and there is no one simple solution,” said Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. “This is an all-hands-on deck situation where government needs to dig deep, think creatively, and directly engage community members to develop shared solutions that improve community safety. From police to community-based organizations to infrastructure design – we all have a role to play in this emergency. I’m directing PBOT to be more active and engaged in holistic solutions to community safety that can supplement police and other bureaus’ roles in this effort.”  

The Office of Management & Finance (OMF) Division of Community Safety has also been a part of this joint effort. “I applaud the collaboration between City bureaus and community members in the area as we seek to come together as a City to directly engage with Portlanders and find solutions to the gun violence crisis,” said Community Safety Transition Director Mike Myers.

“This is an experimental pilot, as we engage in a multidisciplinary approach to community safety,” continued Commissioner Hardesty. “We are trying something new that we can learn from. I hope this can be a part of the citywide effort to rethink community safety and to show how bureaus working together with community can lead to innovative approaches that could help mitigate gun violence. Amongst the frustration I am hearing from Portlanders is an ask to engage with those living near gun violence hotspots more directly, to collaborate around their ideas for improving safety in their neighborhood. The hope is that through traffic changes and directly collaborating with neighbors and local businesses, we can slow down activity at these gun violence hot spots and make it more difficult to commit a crime and get away with it.”

Community leaders in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood have highlighted the problem of vehicles speeding on residential streets in the aftermath of recent shootings in the area. To help address this problem, PBOT will install 8 temporary traffic barrels within a 6-block area north of SE Woodstock & 72nd Ave during Phase 1 of this pilot project. The initial installation will take place on Friday, October 1st. Next week will begin Phase 2, where PBOT will install 18 additional temporary traffic barrels. After evaluating the outcomes of phase 1 & 2, additional action may be taken.

“I understand that there are neighborhoods all over Portland that would like to see this kind of close collaboration” said Commissioner Hardesty. “At this moment, neither PBOT nor my office have the resources or capacity to pull that off, but if this pilot is successful, it will inform a budget proposal to allow more of this action moving forward.”

Local resident Nadine Salama concluded that, “Knowing we are being supported and protected by Commissioner Hardesty’s office and seeing tangible results so quickly has undoubtedly given many of us a sense of relief and hope that things can turn around. We hope that our community becomes a blueprint for measured responses and equitable solutions to gun violence.” 

Contact Info:
Some local residents are willing to speak with media. Please contact HardestyMedia@portlandoregon.gov to coordinate or with any additional media inquiries.

Community Safety in Mt. Scott-Arleta

As we have all sadly experienced, a dramatic and violent change has come to our neighborhood. Reckless driving and gunfire violence have become daily occurrences here and throughout the city.

About a month ago, a few community members reached out to us with concerns and the need to respond to what is happening. Those neighbors, including a member of Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association, facilitated meetings with representatives from the Office of Violence Prevention, Community Safety team from the Office of Community & Civic Life, Portland Fire & Rescue, representatives from the Office of Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, and Dr. Jonathan Jay.

Together we produced steps to address the violence while ensuring that Mt. Scott Park area remains an accessible, inclusive, and safe destination for all people. We sought both immediate and long-term solutions that center equitable outcomes for all members of our community. This includes future residents as well as neighbors here today. We hope these steps will quickly restore the sense of security and peace in our neighborhood.

Here is a partial list of ideas proposed; all of which align with Dr.  Jay’s recommendations and have been demonstrated to have worked in other neighborhoods experiencing challenges to community safety:

1-Adding lighting to areas most affected and specifically Mt Scott Park to ensure safe access for all people.

2-Gating off the parking lot of Tremont Church and adding security cameras in addition to the lights. A community member has reached out to the church and is actively working with them to secure the parking lot. We are incredibly grateful to both the Tremont Church and Access Church for their immediate response, compassion, and cooperation. Civic Life and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) with the support of the Office of Management & Finance are actively working with the community to address these issues.

3-Closing off the Woodstock Interchange and turning it into a community gathering space. MSANA is consulting with Better Block PSU on both community outreach with stakeholders and design proposals.

4-Community outreach including supporting youth programs and cultural enrichment.

5-Community art projects and the utilization of public spaces for community gatherings. 

6-Limiting streets around the park to local access only to reduce speeding.

7-Speed reductions along SE 72nd Ave.

8- Addition of Park Rangers to Mt.Scott Park.

Thanks to the support of the Office of JoAnn Hardesty, these requests were submitted and reviewed. We are pleased to announce that the response has been both quick and met with urgency. Effective this weekend, Phase 1 of the plan will start including limiting unsafe driving on local streets and immediately assign Park Rangers to the park. See the press release from portlandoregon.gov for details. We hope that this plan may serve as a model for other neighborhoods to use in fostering community safety.

With the recent string of daytime shootings near the park, while our children were outside, we have been informed that Portland Police Bureau will have a more visible presence in the area.

Our next meeting is on October 5th at 6:30 pm. Please join us online with Zoom. This support article can help if are unfamiliar with Zoom. Telephones and any device with internet service can access the meeting.

We will continue to update you with more information as we have it. We wanted to let the community know that we are working hard on restoring peace and keeping you and our community safe. 

Proposal to Amend MSANA Bylaws

At our meeting in April, we discussed amending the Bylaws in order to accomplish the following tasks:

  • Allow residents to be elected to the association board after attending a  minimum of 2 meetings (decreased from 4) in the previous 12 months
  • Require a review of the bylaws annually
  • Clean up grammar and formatting issues

The attached document is the new version of the bylaws to be proposed for a vote at MSANA’s next general meeting, on May 5, 2021 at 6:30 pm at the monthly virtual Zoom meeting. Let this post serve as the fulfillment of Article XIV of the current bylaws, which states:

All amendments to these bylaws must be proposed in writing and submitted to members at least seven (7) days before voting on their adoption may proceed. Notice of a proposal to amend the bylaws, specifying the date, time and place for consideration, must be provided to all members at least seven (7) days before voting. Adoption of and amendments to these bylaws shall require a two-thirds (2/3) vote by the members present at a general meeting.

https://mtscottarleta.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2018-Mt-Scott-Arleta-NA-Bylaws-Proposal-2018.03-1.doc

Portland Street Response Pilot Adds Increased Areas of Service, Now Includes Majority of Mt. Scott-Arleta

News article originally from the City of Portland

Portland Street Response expanded its boundaries on April 1, 2021 to serve more areas and added additional call types.

Published: April 7, 2021 12:18 pm

Portland Street Response (PSR), the pilot program from the City of Portland that offers a non-police response to assist people experiencing houselessness or low acuity behavioral/mental health crises, expanded its boundaries on April 1, 2021 to serve more areas. The pilot began using the boundaries in the Lents neighborhood serviced by Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Fire Station 11 and is now responding within eight Portland Police Bureau (PPB) districts in the greater Lents area.

Fire station service districts are called Fire Management Areas, or FMAs. After a month in service, an analysis of calls in consultation with PSR’s partners at the Bureau of Emergency Communication (BOEC) led program managers to see that the team was missing calls tied to police district areas just outside of the FMA. As part of the pilot, PSR is going to test assigning the areas to police districts rather than FMAs, which will result in expanded service to the greater Lents area.

Map showing the previous boundaries that were bordered by SE Powell Blvd. on the north, SE 82nd Ave. to the west, the Clackamas County and City of Portland boundary along Clatsop St. (roughly) on the south, and roughly SE 112th Ave. on the east. The map shows new boundaries that are primarily SE Division St. on the north, SE Clatsop St. (roughly) on the south, SE 62th Ave. (roughly) on the west, and Powell Butte along the eastern boundary.
Map showing previous boundary (shaded) and outline of new boundary in blue.

The previous boundaries were bordered by SE Powell Blvd. on the north, SE 82nd Ave. to the west, the Clackamas County and City of Portland boundary along Clatsop St. (roughly) on the south, and roughly SE 112th Ave. on the east. The new boundaries are primarily SE Division St. on the north, SE Clatsop St. (roughly) on the south, SE 62th Ave. (roughly) on the west, and Powell Butte along the eastern boundary. There is a new look up tool where you can plug in your address to see if it is within PSR’s program area. You can access that tool here: https://www.portland.gov/streetresponse/address-lookup-tool

With this expansion, the team will also be taking fire calls in additional FMAs that connect through the police districts. The team will be dispatched for certain non-life threatening, non-emergency fire medical calls in FMAs 25, 19, 7, 29.

As part of an evaluation on call types from the first month, on April 1 the PSR team started responding to calls for a person either outside or inside of a publicly accessible space such as a business, store, public lobby, etc. Prior to April 1, the team only responded to calls for a person outside. The team still does not currently respond within private residences. Additionally, the team will now co-respond with PF&R on certain public burning calls (such as outside warming and cooking fires) to offer wrap-around service assistance.

PSR has also created a dashboard so the public can access our call data. The data dashboard can be accessed here: https://www.portland.gov/streetresponse/data-dashboard

“After our first month in service we were able to see areas where we can increase our call load. We appreciate our partners at BOEC, PPB, and PF&R for offering helpful insight as we build this program,” says Program Manager Robyn Burek.

“I am so pleased to see that the Portland Street Response pilot is doing exactly what it set out to accomplish: experimenting with different ways to provide service by being nimble and responding to new information,” says Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. “The City of Portland invested in a pilot so we can create the best system possible and we are using that investment wisely.”