Members: M. Bryant Baird, Jim Griggs, Valerie Freeman
Organizations: Raleigh Kirschman, UGM; Luis Garcia, Ike Box; Mark Bulgin, Isaac’s Room; Breezy Aguirre, Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency, The ARCHES Project
City, County and State Representatives: Officers David Smith and Zach Merritt; Ward 7 Councilor Vanessa Nordyke.
The regular meeting of the CANDO Board of Directors was called to order at 6:00 p.m., on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at the First Christian Church at 685 Marion Street NE, Salem. The Chair and Secretary-Treasurer were present.
The agenda and minutes of the October meeting were not approved for lack of a quorum.
In interested citizen comments, Michael Livingston reported on the distribution of the CANDO Good Neighbor Guide: we visited 72 downtown Salem businesses and spoke with owner or manager at 29 of them. Guide received a uniformly positive response, many looked through it while we were there, and some asked for extra copies for employees.
Asked if business had problems with "homeless" individuals?
- 15 “too busy to talk”
- 11 “not mentioned”
- 13 no problems, or no current problems
- 8 “yes, but no specifics”
- 15 occasional, or infrequent problems (intoxicated; “alternate reality; unruly person asked to leave; people drunk or using drugs at sidewalk restaurant tables; people sleeping in doorways when staff arrive)
- 4 on High St north of Marion (2 based on previous contacts) identified continuing serious problems -- e.g., vandalism and people mentally ill and out of control) Owner of one of those businesses spoke highly of Be Bold Street Ministries staff -- Josh & Matt, whose contact information is in the pamphlet
Asked if business did have any problems, how those were handled?
- 10 relational approach -- asking people to leave & calling police as needed
- 3 security guards handled it
- 8 relational approach only
- 4 other approaches (e.g., call police & coordinate with nearby businesses; complain to mayor & council; call Be Bold Street Ministries)
Josh Lair of Be Bold Street Ministries said that, as a result of the guide’s distribution, he had received 27 calls, and Matt Maciera had received 15.
Sarah Owens reported that plans to open a women’s shelter on Front Street across from the Lighthouse Shelter are in the works. Diane Rush of the Inside Out Church is working with the United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley to put the project together.
Officers Smith and Merritt reported on the increase in camping downtown, particularly in the 600 block of Commercial Street, following the recent “sweeps” of camps in the area near Wallace Marine Park. In August, the City’s legal department changed its position that adjacent property owners, who are responsible for maintenance of parking strips (areas between a sidewalk and the street), had the right to trespass people camping on them. Officers now have been told that no one has authority to trespass campers on City rights-of-way unless they’re intentionally blocking them. Police are trying to keep sidewalks clear. The question was asked whether camping was allowed in parks. Smith said no. Previously, the City’s legal department had treated parking strips as “parks” and trespassed people from them accordingly, but the legal department also has retracted that advice. Pearl Dunn with The ARCHES Projects is in frequent contact with police about the campers. Police can respond to blatant public cannabis and drug use. Public drunkenness is not a crime, but disorderly conduct is. Disorderly conduct is fighting or violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior, making unreasonable noise, obstructing pedestrian or vehicular traffic, or creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition (see ORS 166.025). Charging someone with possession of stolen shopping cart requires the owner to press charges; TJ Max and Grocery Outlet will do that, but most other owners will not. The camping ban/abandoned property provisions of Ordinance Bill 10-19 are intended to address both issues (shopping carts and camping in public rights-of-way).
The skate park across the street from Arches in Marion Square Park is another “clash area.” Police have also been dealing with problems at the Transit Mall with rowdy youth smoking cannabis, drinking, etc. They met recently with some of the adjacent businesses to discuss the problems there. They said most of these youth are not experiencing homelessness, “some are from TLP, some headed in that direction, skipping school, etc.”
The board heard a presentation by Program Director Breezy Aguirre on The ARCHES Project’s coordinated outreach program, and efforts in partnership with the United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley to develop a mobile crisis assistance team based on Eugene’s CAHOOTS program. The outreach program takes the relational approach to addressing difficult situations consistent with the CANDO Good Neighbor Guide. The plan for the CAHOOTS-style HEART project (Homeless Emergency Assistance Response Team) is a pilot deploying 1 van, 5-6 FTE (1 EMT and 1 QMHP at $18/hr) on limited shifts, serving citywide, anyone in crisis (not just downtown, not just “homeless” and not 24/7). The target population is victims of systems trauma. Systems trauma refers to the damage that results from systems that build in failure. Twenty-five “key stakeholders” are meeting about the project tomorrow at United Way.