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Home Forward, Multnomah County’s housing agency, has opened up the waitlist for a dozen subsidized housing properties in the Portland area. And people are rushing to get in line.
On Monday, the Vancouver City Council will begin the process of deciding whether or not to put an affordable housing fund on the November ballot. Most seem to agree there’s a housing crisis, but not everyone is in agreement about whether a new tax is the best way to solve it.
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Duniway — along with Chief Joseph — may replace the statues of Jason Lee and John McLoughlin in D.C.
In October of 2011, Right 2 Dream Too, a homeless advocacy organization, set up an encampment in a vacant lot on NW 4th and Burnside in Portland. The space sleeps up to ninety people, and is enclosed with a six-foot high fence. The organization leases the space from the owners of the property. Since its establishment, the site has racked up thousands of dollars in fines for violating the city's codes prohibiting recreational camping. In December of 2012, an attorney representing both the owners of the property and Right 2 Dream Too filed a suit against the Bureau of Development Services, declaring exemption from the fines. The suit alleges that the fees are unreasonable because the site is not used for recreational camping, but provides temporary shelter for homeless persons. Attorneys for the city then filed a motion to dismiss the case. A ruling was expected on July 11th, but the presiding judge, Karin J. Immergut, delayed the final decision. That decision is now expected sometime within the next few weeks.
Ibrahim Mubarak didn't always have a home. That's one reason he's dedicated his life to promote homeless rights in Portland. Mubarak has helped found both Dignity Village and Right 2 Survive PDX. And his newest group, Right 2 Dream Too, is currently leasing a prominent lot in Portland's Old Town/Chinatown district for homeless Portlanders to camp. The space opened earlier this month, on Oct 10th, which was designated World Homeless Action Day. The group has a one-year lease and a good relationship with the property owner, Michael Wright. Ibrahim Mubarak says he hopes to be able to stay there for the full term of the lease or — with the help of Michael Wright — find a bigger location for people who need a place to stay. Ultimately, he's hoping the city will suspend its "no camping" [pdf] ordinance. The legal status of the encampment is still not clear. On Tuesday evening, about 150 protesters at Occupy Portland marched up to 4th & West Burnside in an expression of solidarity with Right 2 Dream Too.
Hundreds of senior citizens and people with disabilities in Oregon are getting some unpleasant surprises as property tax bills come due this month. For decades, Oregonians have been able to defer their property tax payments if they are either disabled or over the age of 62 and their income is less than $39,500. The property taxes are then paid, with interest, when the home is sold. The Property Tax Deferral Program changed in the 2011 legislative session, when lawmakers added more restrictions to the program. Now, seniors and people with disabilities facing thousands of dollars in property taxes fear they may not be able to stay in their homes.
Hundreds of members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) stormed the Port of Longview early Thursday morning. They reportedly overpowered security guards, even holding some hostage for a short time, in order to sabotage rail cars, dumping loads of grain onto the ground. The day before, members of the union held two protests along the rail route. They gathered with picket signs in Vancouver in the morning, blocking a train carrying a large shipment of corn bound for the new grain terminal at the Port of Longview. Later in the day, after the train was allowed to go through, a smaller group of protesters stopped it in Longview. After several arrests, the train shipment made it to the port. These are just the latest battles in a long fight between the union and the company that owns the terminal. Protesters blocked another shipment earlier this summer and since then, EGT Development, which owns the grain terminal, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB challenged some of the union's other tactics in court and won a federal restraining order to keep them from blocking access to the port. It's unclear whether the Wednesday morning protest violated the restraining order, since it took place in Vancouver and not on port property. This longstanding dispute stems from EGT's stance that they're not bound by ILWU's contract with the Port of Longview to hire its members to staff the terminal. The ILWU claims it has a right to those jobs. After talks between EGT and ILWU broke down in January, the company hired a contractor to bring in workers from a different union: the International Union of Operating Engineers. The situation has garnered national interest and it's only going to get more heated, it seems, as harvest season ramps up on Washington's bumper crop of wheat.
Portland City Council will vote on an emergency ordinance (pdf) Wednesday that, if passed, will allow police to use video surveillance cameras on private property. The ordinance has been contested since early May over concerns that it oversteps privacy boundaries. Portland police say the new surveillance will help in the arrest and prosecution of drug dealers and gang members in Old Town/Chinatown. But opponents of the measure say the new surveillance invades privacy rights, and that the language of the ordinance is vague and gives police too much surveillance power — this is despite an effort by the Police Bureau to draft guidelines for how the camera would be used. Here's some photos from the neighborhood where video surveillance may be used: Slideshow photography credit: Luis Giraldo/OPB
Autumn is the deadliest time of year for pedestrians, according to the National Pedestrian Crash Report (pdf). Perhaps this is because it's beginning to get dark earlier and most accidents involving people on foot occur at night. Whatever the reason, recent accidents in Portland, Eugene and Salem show that Oregon is not exempt from this unfortunate trend. Whether you drive, bike or take public transportation to get around, almost everyone travels by foot at some point in their day, but do you know all your rights as a pedestrian? For example, did you know that every corner is a legal crosswalk, whether or not it's marked with white lines? Maybe you knew that one. But were you aware that if you walk over railroad tracks in a place not marked for pedestrian crossing, you're not only endangering yourself, you could be tresspassing? Railroad tracks are technically private property.