Where I've Been
Juggling heart, business, service.
I haven’t blogged since November. I haven’t sent an email update since then, either. Why? I’ve been slammed. With adjusting to life without Lucy at home – and playing pit crew to a new college student. With starting my own business, a communications and fundraising consultancy, which you can check here. I’ve also been working hard on Fairview issues – dozens and dozens of hours these last five months. Here’s what I cooked up:
Wrote a $200,000 grant for emergency disaster preparedness planning, training, and education for Fairview, Troutdale, and Wood Village. I’m the Fairview council liaison to the Regional Disaster Preparedness Organization, serving with my Troutdale city council colleague Sandy Glantz, and when we found out in November that our three cities’ emergency disaster plans were 10 years old (!), I hustled together a proposal in less than three weeks to hire a consultant to update our plans, run the first-ever three-city tabletop training exercise, and conduct community outreach on steps to take in case of an earthquake, major flood, wildfire, or other disaster. Sandy presented the plan to regional officials and our plan has made it over several hurdles, and, if enough federal funds come through to Portland, the grant money will arrive in early 2023. Cross your fingers and toes that this critical public safety funding comes through.
Organized “Losing Your Place to Live,” a January public forum on houseless in Fairview, Troutdale, and Wood Village with city council colleagues Sandy Glantz in Troutdale and Jairo Rios-Campos and Scott Harden in Wood Village. We held the event – which attracted about 90 participants online and over 160 views after the event – because there are hundreds of people in our three cities who’ve lost their place to live and sleep outside, in cars or campers, in shelters or storage units or garages, or in the homes of others. We brought in experts from Human Solutions, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, and Reynolds School District to talk about who has lost their place to live, how they lost it, and what their needs are. Having folks on the frontlines educate the public was the goal. We can't craft good solutions without understanding the problem. Watch it on the Wood Village YouTube channel here.
Spoke out against bad city council process and culture. For the second half of 2021, as I got grounded in city business and council rhythm, I found myself increasingly on the lonely end of several 6-1 votes. Often, I voted "no" not because I objected to the project or issue – but because I objected to how we arrived at a vote. Often, we lacked data or there was insufficient public input or council debate. I brought this up repeatedly in meetings, and to the mayor and council president. At the same time, I became increasingly aware of being overlooked, dismissed, or otherwise marginalized. As the only woman serving on the council, I wondered if this treatment was because I was a) female or b) outspoken. After talking with two women who’ve served on the council, and one who’s watched every one of our meetings for months, I concluded it was both. When I wrote two letters to the council on these issues of council process and culture, and asked to discuss them in a public meeting, my request was put off. So I wrote this op-ed. I’ll be back at it, don’t worry.
Meantime, we’ve got a controversial vote this week on a roundabout and transit hub, a major public safety conversation brewing, and budget season is coming fast.
So I will back later this month with more news. Promise.