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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Listen Up City Hall: "I Support the Portland Safety Net"

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Housing Commissioner Nick Fish
  • Photos courtesy of Israel Bayer
  • Housing Commissioner Nick Fish
Thanks to a vortex of budget pain—including dropping redevelopment tax revenue, vanishing federal funds, and citywide cutbacks—the Portland Housing Bureau will find itself in a tough spot this year: Absent a miraculous infusion of city council support, it's going to have do less with less, at a time when people still need its services and programs most.

What's at stake? Among other things, money for rent-assistance, foreclosure prevention, housing construction, and winter homeless shelters.

But here's some not-terrible news: A rescue may not be so out-of-reach. A Facebook campaign called "I Support the Portland Safety Net" went live this month, getting dozens of Portlanders (like me!) to lend their names and faces to the humble request that the city find a way not to shred housing services. And some of those Portlanders who have signed up are actually in a position to do something about it: city commissioners Nick Fish (who runs the housing bureau) and Amanda Fritz.

"People have asked us what 'I support the Portland safety net' is about," says Israel Bayer, director of Street Roots, one of the movers behind this campaign, along with the Oregon Opportunity Network, 211info, and the Community Alliance of Tenants. "It's about sending a positive message to Portland that housing matters. Over the past three years Mayor Sam Adams and the rest of city council have been outstanding housing advocates and we hope that during this up and coming budget cycle the city will continue to support critical support for rent assistance, shelter, and home buyer support and foreclosure prevention. Housing equals opportunity is not just a slogan, it's a reality."

A longer explanation of the campaign's aims is here. Hit the jump for photos of a few more well-known Portlanders who've gotten on board. It's so easy that you ought to do it, too.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz
  • Commissioner Amanda Fritz

Former Mayor Bud Clark and former City Commissioner Gretchen Kafoury
  • Former Mayor Bud Clark and former City Commissioner Gretchen Kafoury

Jenny Conlee and Casey Neill
  • Jenny Conlee and Casey Neill

The fine folks at Walsh Construction
  • The fine folks at Walsh Construction

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