Hazelnut Grove news, background, proposals
Last updated: 8 February 2021
Doc created: 18 January 2021
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Twitter hashtag search (for #HazelnutGrove OR #SaveHazelnutGrove).
"Hazelnut Grove is an organized camp of houseless Portlanders on N Greeley near N Interstate." (in Portland, Oregon). -from Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/HazelnutGrovePDX/.
Hazelnut Grove, photo by Alex Zielinski, Portland Mercury, 2021-01-22.
HAZELNUT GROVE, INC.
a Oregon nonprofit corporation registered February 1, 2016.
President: Bob Brimmer
Registered Agent: Rafael Toma Solano
Secretary: Peggy Zebroski
Address: 1814 N Alberta St, Portland, OR 97217
A business entity registered at Oregon Secretary of State, with entity identifier is 118336098. The registration start date is February 1, 2016.
"We will gather at City Hall (1200-1220 SW 5th Ave) on Monday afternoon beginning at 12:30pm and begin the program promptly at 1:00pm.
Village residents are calling unhoused and housed eviction defenders together to hear the story of Hazelnut Grove, celebrate the grassroots organizing our community has engaged in during the past month, deliver our collective outrage to Mayor Wheeler and Commissioner Ryan, and demand a sit-down negotiation with the city." Video: https://www.facebook.com/OregonPPC/videos/1056189708233033.
Halospace. "Live @ Portland City Hall: Save Hazelnut Grove Village." Livestreamed video of event, 1 Feb 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb-uCYIkf1I.
Sabatier, Julie. "Portland City Commissioner Dan Ryan on housing and homelessness." Oregon Public Broadcasting. Feb. 1, 2021 9:38 a.m. https://www.opb.org/article/2021/02/01/portland-city-commissioner-dan-ryan-on-housing-and-homelessness/.
"We will be putting out a call to the community to come to the Joint Office with your best proposals, and we will fund the best proposals."
announcing / explaining event Monday Feb 1
at City Hall - 1:00pm
We will gather at City Hall (1200-1220 SW 5th Ave) on Monday afternoon beginning at 12:30pm and begin the program promptly at 1:00pm.
Village residents are calling unhoused and housed eviction defenders together to hear the story of Hazelnut Grove, celebrate the grassroots organizing our community has engaged in during the past month, deliver our collective outrage to Mayor Wheeler and Commissioner Ryan, and demand a sit-down negotiation with the city.
If being in a setting with unhoused and housed people together is new for you, welcome. Please listen well, observe the culture of the Hazelnut Grove community, and follow the lead of Village residents.
Sent via ActionNetwork.org. To update your email address, change your name or address, or to stop receiving emails from Oregon Poor People's Campaign, please click here.
Sand, Kaia (Director, Street Roots). "We should embrace ingenuity, not erase it." ["OPINION | Too often, the city of Portland does battle with communities like Hazelnut Grove rather than building from the leadership on the streets"]. Street Roots, 27 Jan 2021. https://www.streetroots.org/news/2021/01/27/kaia-sand-we-should-embrace-ingenuity-not-erase-it.
"The St. Johns Village is a different model than Hazelnut Grove. It’s focused, as indoor shelters are, on transitional shelter — a stable location where people can stay until moving into housing. An enormous challenge, of course, is having the housing into which people can move and afford, so thousands of people inhabit those liminal spaces — tents along sidewalks, shelter beds, friend’s couches.
Scott, Barbie and others want spaces that aren’t liminal, but spaces they love.
“This is the American Dream with the resources we have,” she explained.
"Hazelnut Grove belongs to a proud legacy of innovative camps and villages dreamed up by the people who live there."
"The fight for Hazelnut Grove Village." Paul Roland, host. KBOO, Wednesday Talk Radio. Air date: Wed, 01/27/2021 - 8:00am to 9:00am. https://kboo.fm/media/100585-fight-hazelnut-grove-village.
Resident of tiny house village in North Portland joins Paul for the hour.
Zielinski, Alex. "With Hazelnut Grove Set to Close, City Looks to Expand Village-Style Shelter Options." Portland Mercury, Jan 22, 2021 at 9:25 am. https://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2021/01/22/31451040/with-hazelnut-grove-set-to-close-city-looks-to-expand-village-style-shelter-options.
"“I feel like I’m in charge of my own life here,” said [Barbra] Weber, who became homeless a decade ago after losing her house in a predatory lending scheme and losing her successful job in marketing after a brain injury left her disabled.
“After being treated like children for so long… being told what’s best for us by strangers and referred to as second class citizens… it’s such a relief,” she said.
Weber moved into the 5-year-old tiny house village, tucked between N Greeley and Interstate, in February 2020. She spends most of her time advocating for homeless hygiene access and running Ground Score, a trash removal and recycling nonprofit she co-founded in 2019. And now, Weber and several of her Hazelnut Grove neighbors are fighting to keep their community whole.
On Monday, the City of Portland announced it’ll cut off its services to Hazelnut Grove—like trash pickup and portable toilet maintenance—within a month. The city, which owns the property but has never formally sanctioned the village, says the land’s environmental hazards pose too big a risk to its residents to keep allowing the community to call it home. Instead, the city’s offering to relocate the 15 Hazelnut Grove residents to St. Johns Village, a new publicly-run alternative shelter for homeless Portlanders made up of 19 sleeping pods, or to a space in another city shelter.
Most Hazelnut Grove residents are interested in leaving the current property, having grown tired of the constant threats of landslide, brush fire, pollution from nearby industrial yards, and hostile neighbors. That’s why residents have spent the past three years working with city officials to find a suitable property to relocate their community to. The city says that property is St. Johns Village. Yet some residents, including Weber, say the St. Johns space, which is overseen by a nonprofit with certain expectations for it residents, is not a fair substitute for the autonomously-governed Hazelnut Grove.
“Unless you’ve been homeless, I don’t think you understand how degrading it feels to be forced to live under someone else’s rules, just because you are poor,” said Weber.
"As some Hazelnut Grove residents pack up to move and others petition the city to find another location, the solutions remain imperfect. Yet the conversations surrounding the decision show just how far the city has evolved in terms of understanding and addressing homelessness since Hazelnut Grove first appeared in 2015. At that time, the idea of alternative shelter—whether it be a cluster of tiny homes, heated sleeping pods, or tents on elevated platforms—was seen as a radical one by city officials, a solution that came directly from the homeless community and its advocates who weren’t satisfied with waiting for the city to solve the affordable housing crisis." [...]
Elia, Corey. "Hazelnut Grove residents push back on City of Portland’s eviction plans."
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Vespa, Maggie. "After five years, city of Portland vows to clear homeless village 'Hazelnut Grove'". KGW News, 19 January 2021 (updated 7:05 PM PST January 20, 2021). https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/homeless/portland-homeless-hazelnut-grove-village-clear/283-8de618a2-92f2-4d32-ad68-5734455d76ff.
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Sparling, Zane. "City closing North Portland homeless village Hazelnut Grove." Portland Tribune, January 19 2021. https://pamplinmedia.com/pt/9-news/495240-397375-city-closing-north-portland-homeless-village-hazelnut-grove. (register for 3 articles/month).
"The end appears to be near for a North Portland tiny home village serving those who seek refuge from life on the streets.
The city's Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program quietly announced plans to "decommission" Hazelnut Grove Village on Jan. 18 — saying that many of its 16 inhabitants will move into pods at the newly-built St. Johns Village.
"Activists, however, are unlikely to abandon the village without a fight.
"Putting residents into a social services setting that may not meet their needs — especially in the middle of a pandemic, when we should be sheltering in place — is really quite dangerous," said Ethan Livermore, a statewide coordinating committee member for Oregon Poor People's Campaign.
"An online petition to save the village has already gathered some 2,000 signatures. And rumors are flying of an "eviction defense" similar to the barricades built along the Red House on Mississippi Avenue in December.
"About half those living at Hazelnut have accepted a berth at St. Johns Village, which will offer full bathroom, kitchen and laundry facilities when it opens as soon as Feb. 1 or later that week. But the relocation trades self governance and autonomy for oversight from the nonprofit Do Good Multnomah. Holdouts have been offered access to more traditional shelters." [..]
"City of Portland set to close Hazelnut Grove homeless community, help residents move to safer housing."
Environmental, fire and traffic risks make Hazelnut Grove a dangerous place to live. Residents have the opportunity to move to the new St. Johns Village.
Many residents of the Hazelnut Grove homeless community will move to stable new housing this winter, as the City of Portland decommissions this self-governed village in the Overlook neighborhood to address health and safety risks.
The transition, in the works since 2018, follows years of collaboration between Hazelnut Grove residents, City staff and the City of Portland/Multnomah County Joint Office of Homeless Services. It also signifies the launch of St. Johns Village, a nonprofit-managed alternative shelter community that the City committed to opening before requiring people to leave Hazelnut Grove.
While spots at the new village are prioritized for people experiencing homelessness in the St. Johns area, roughly half of the 19 pods were offered to people at Hazelnut Grove. Other residents have worked with Do Good Multnomah, the provider operating St. Johns Village, to find permanent housing or referrals to shelter programs.
“From the beginning, we have prioritized the wellbeing of our houseless neighbors and our community at large,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “Hazelnut Grove tells the story of Portland’s housing challenges – but it also shows what we can achieve with empathy, creativity and cooperation.”
Situated along a steep hillside between Greeley and Interstate avenues in the Overlook neighborhood, the land that now hosts Hazelnut Grove was purchased by the City in 1956 to protect Portland’s sewer system from landslides.
People experiencing homelessness organized a community here in 2015, vowing to create a model of intentional, self-governed community living. Today, about 15 people make their home in the tiny houses, garden, portable toilets and other amenities at Hazelnut Grove.
“With an outpouring of community support, the Grove went from being a group of campers to a village, a community resource for people experiencing houselessness,” according to a webpage for the community.
Although the City did not officially sanction Hazelnut Grove, leaders recognized the challenges facing residents due to Portland’s housing affordability crisis. The City assisted them by providing fencing, trash services, portable toilets and a storage container.
But the City also flagged concerns about allowing people to live at Hazelnut Grove long-term, documented by several City bureaus.
Steep slopes create a danger of landslides and other environmental problems. The location is difficult for fire fighters to access, jeopardizing residents’ safety in this wooded setting. Serving portable toilets, removing trash and performing other maintenance is equally challenging. And accessing the site can require sidewalk and bike lane closures, putting pedestrians and cyclists at risk.
The Overlook Neighborhood Association has consistently asked the City to move Hazelnut Grove, citing safety risks and neighborhood impacts. Tensions heightened in 2018, after a fire in the Overlook hillside area – set by campers who happened to be in the area, and not affiliated with Hazelnut Grove – renewed some neighbors’ concerns about the dangers of habitation on the slope.
That year, the City told residents that Hazelnut Grove would need to close after they worked together to identify alternative housing. Do Good Multnomah, the nonprofit selected to lead this effort, has hosted regular office hours at Hazelnut Grove to help plan the transition.
One key option was a separate, planned village on City-owned land in St. Johns, funded by the City/County Joint Office of Homeless Services. When that site was deemed too difficult to develop, the village plan shifted to land owned by the St. Johns Church near downtown St. Johns.
Construction began late last year, and St. Johns Village is scheduled to open as soon as next month. Do Good Multnomah will manage the site – offering housing navigation and case management services through a contract with the Joint Office.
The new village features 19 heated sleeping pods, electricity, full bathrooms, a full-service kitchen and laundry facilities. A coalition of supportive neighbors, called St. Johns Welcomes the Village, has been working with Do Good Multnomah and St. Johns Church to support the new program. Members of the St. Johns Neighborhood Association have also volunteered their time as construction moves along.
“Just because someone loses their housing, it shouldn’t mean they have to sacrifice a shared, supportive community,” said Marc Jolin, director of the Joint Office of Homeless Services. “As we build a housing-focused alternative shelter in St. Johns, we hope participants can thrive by building those connections among themselves and with their neighbors.”
About half of the 15 people living at Hazelnut Grove have accepted spots at St. Johns Village. Outreach workers have invited other residents to select from alternative housing options, while respecting that some prefer to make plans independently.
The City plans to begin decommissioning Hazelnut Grove within the next month, after St. Johns Village is ready to welcome its first residents. At that point, the City will ensure nobody remains at Hazelnut Grove to protect health and safety while the site is restored.
Some advocates for Portland’s homeless community have circulated a petition opposing the closure, while Overlook neighbors have urged the City to complete the move as soon as possible.
“It’s understandable that people have passionate opinions on both sides. We’re making decisions that affect people’s sense of safety and their living environment,” said Commissioner Dan Ryan. “I want to thank everybody involved for working together to find a respectful, innovative, and safe solution.”
Read the Overlook Neighborhood Association's letter here:
Overlook Neighborhood Association
Alexandra Degher, Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
January 5, 2021
To: Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioners Jo Ann Hardesty, Dan Ryan, Carmen Rubio and Mingus Mapps
CC: Joint Office of Homeless Services and Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program
Dear Mayor Wheeler and Commissioners Hardesty, Ryan, Rubio and Mapps,
The Overlook Neighborhood Association calls upon the City of Portland, the Joint Office of Homeless Services and the Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program to:
As we begin 2021, the City of Portland must honor its promises to help homeless residents and to support neighborhoods experiencing the harmful side effects of homeless camps. The current situation is a humanitarian catastrophe. Living outdoors puts people’s health at risk and leaves them vulnerable to victimization. Meanwhile, campsites are causing environmental damage to our communities, rendering public spaces and parks unusable by the public, and are documented launching points for property damage, theft and other reported crimes.
It is time to do better. The city and the Joint Office of Homeless Services have demonstrated that there are viable models for connecting homeless residents to services and providing shelter in ways that do not require camping illegally in public spaces where basic sanitation and assistance are unavailable.
Organized outdoor homeless shelters have helped during the pandemic. The city should identify more locations throughout the city that can house those sorts of managed facilities. The city also should test larger outdoor shelters with bunkhouses and other alternative shelter.
Even more effective than temporary outdoor shelters have been managed villages with elements of self-governance such as the Kenton Women’s Village. It has helped vulnerable residents connect to services and transition to permanent housing. The St. Johns Village follows that model and will shelter additional residents. The city should build on these successful models in neighborhoods throughout Portland.
At the same time, the City of Portland must make good on promises to neighborhoods by removing unsanctioned campsites located in parks, waterways and public paths, as well as camps where illegal activity has been documented. This is the approach called for in the North Portland Joint Statement on Homelessness signed in 2020 by multiple neighborhoods and nonprofits.
City Council and the Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program can demonstrate good faith by closing the Hazelnut Grove camp. Both Mayor Ted Wheeler and his predecessor promised to close Hazelnut Grove since campers illegally occupied the site along a multi-use path in 2015.
When asked about whether he would close Hazelnut Grove on KGW in 2017, Wheeler said, “Yes, just based on what I’ve seen, why are we allowing people with mental health issues or potentially drug and alcohol addiction issues to live in the woods? That’s not a good solution. All of the best practices, all the data shows, if you want people to gain access to the services that get them off the street and keep them off the street, the answer isn’t a tent, the answer is housing with wraparound services, whether it’s shelter or transitional housing.”
We agree and applaud the city for finding a better alternative. The Joint Office of Homeless Services gave Hazelnut Grove campers first opportunity to move into the St. Johns Village, where wraparound services are available. Those who did not move to St. Johns were connected to shelters and service providers.
The city delivered on its promise to help the residents of Hazelnut Grove. Now it must deliver what it promised to the neighborhood: End the illegal camping at the site. The city should then remediate the site and work with the Overlook Neighborhood to establish a safe, low-impact public use that will deter future camping. This restoration could serve as a model for every neighborhood that wonders what will happen after problem campsites that have damaged natural areas are closed.
The timeline for closing Hazelnut Grove should be cognizant of COVID-19 and seasonal concerns, but if St. Johns Village opens Feb. 1 as planned by the mayor’s office, a gradual shutdown that begins no later than spring and culminates in the summer should be attainable.
By making good on its promises to homeless residents at the Hazelnut Grove camp and to residents of the Overlook Neighborhood, the city will demonstrate that it is serious when it tells Portlanders that it will help all residents succeed, find housing and enjoy a livable city. Let this be the first step toward real progress.
Overlook Neighborhood Association, Chair
Overlook Neighborhood Association, Vice Chair
Vaughan, Anamika. "Multnomah County and City of Portland Planning to Move Hazelnut Grove Homeless Village to St. Johns." ["Amid Portland's growing housing crisis, a controversial camp could be moving west"]. Willamette Week. Published October 24, 2018. https://www.wweek.com/news/2018/10/24/multnomah-county-planning-to-move-hazelnut-grove-homeless-village-to-st-johns/.
"Multnomah County's Joint Office of Homeless Services hopes to have the lot—located on North Roberts Avenue, next to Harvest Homes Inc retirement village—ready by April 2019. It will likely house around 20 to 25 adults.
"Trejbal says that conversations still need to take place about what will happen to the current Hazelnut Grove site after the move. It is currently unclear who will be paying for and doing the cleanup, as well as how to keep the site from becoming a new camp.
"Denis Theriault, communications director for the Joint Office of Homeless Services, says the decision to use the St. Johns site has been made. But the county is still in talks with an organization to work with the village: Do Good Multnomah.
"The unauthorized homeless village, Hazelnut Grove, currently located on North Greeley near North Interstate, would need to agree to new rules including working closely with the nonprofit. [..]
"Theriault says the county intends the village to look a lot like the Kenton Women's village, with portable sleeping pods set up in an open space combined with other common area structures, such as a kitchen or showers.
"In a letter sent to neighbors outlining the project, Marc Jolin, Joint Office of Homeless Services director, said the residents of the alternative shelter will have to abide by the same safety rules as a traditional shelter and are expected to be good neighbors.
"Our safe and successful experiences with Dignity Village, Right 2 Dream Too and the Kenton Women's Village (where the women built a float that won first place in the 2018 St. Johns Parade!) demonstrate how well an alternative shelter can be integrated into a community while helping their residents stabilize and transition into permanent housing," Jolin wrote in the letter."
Hewitt, Lyndsey. "Mayor's office: Hazelnut Grove will move." ["North Portland neighbors, homeless village residents work toward solution after mediation process was 'disaster,' while city looks for new land and process to sanction the village"]. https://pamplinmedia.com/pt/9-news/375967-261463-mayors-office-hazelnut-grove-will-move. [registration required, lets you view 3 articles/month].
"Disputes in North Portland's Overlook neighborhood in recent months over the Hazelnut Grove homeless village appear to be fizzling.
The neighborhood association and camp have been at odds since it was established in 2015, first as tents and then evolving into small wooden structures for about 13 people.
Recently, a member of the Hazelnut Grove village, Melissa Castor, was elected to the neighborhood association board.
"I want to bridge the gaps. There's an invisible wall that I want to break down and bring closer community and friendships through this because that's what neighbors are for," Castor said.
The association attempted to revise bylaws to exclude people without an official address. (The city said homeless people can participate and threatened to stop recognizing the association.)
The two groups had been trying to work out a Good Neighborhood Agreement, going through a mediation process organized by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, with no success. Mayor Ted Wheeler's office had been mainly hands-off, wanting the process to work itself out. But since it didn't, his office is taking more of an "active role."
And, they're taking a more definitive stance on the camp's tenure, telling the neighborhood: It's not permanent and it will move.
Wheeler's policy advisor Seraphie Allen attended a neighborhood meeting Tuesday to tell them as much.
"I think the information that was going around was that that would be a permanent site and it's not. And it won't, especially when we're done with our housing emergency," she said. "It's not zoned properly, so we're going to need to find a better solution in terms of location for the Hazelnut Grove community."
Hazelnut Grove was formed by activists around the time the housing state of emergency was declared two years ago. The emergency was recently extended 18 more months.
City officials are looking for a new location and open to suggestions, including business or church partnerships. As part of a new position soon-to-be filled at the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, the new person will scout out new land for such alternative housing sites.
They're also looking to fit Hazelnut Grove into local government's "continuum." As such, it would then have oversight and resources provided by the city-county Joint Office of Homeless Services, similar to that of the tiny home village in Kenton neighborhood, or Dignity Village in Northeast Portland. Those are both sanctioned with oversight by the city and social service providers.
As of right now, Hazelnut Grove is a self-governed camp with no services, but occasional help from the city with things like fire extinguishers to keep it safe. Although some members of Hazelnut Grove have said they were skeptical of outside oversight, didn't want the site to move or to ever leave the village, others are are more open to the idea.
Bob Brimmer, 24, has lived at the grove for two years and came to Portland from upstate New York. He wanted to go to school but couldn't afford college application fees, he said. He ended up in the Pacific Northwest for the temperate weather.
"I guess becoming more like Dignity [Village] has its advantages, because you have that tag of legitimacy that we lack currently, which makes us kind of an easy target for the ire of people who dislike the houseless," he said. "Getting rid of that would be nice."
But Brimmer adds what might come attached to the oversight is a sticking point. He believes that the city and county are just trying to "revamp the same old processes" and is doubtful that all homeless people will want to get in permanent supportive housing, which local government sees as a better long-term solution to the crisis than villages. Some advocates have been pushing the village model as an alternative way of living.
"The supportive housing thing totally works and will help a lot of people, but … I think getting [homeless] people to participate in it will be a huge challenge. They just see it as another program that they have to jump through all these hoops for," Brimmer said.
Neighborhood board chair and vocal critic of the camp's location, Chris Trejbal, is happy that the mayor's office is handling the process since the mediation wasn't successful.
"The mediation was such a disaster, we didn't want to go back to that. We want to work with the city's oversight," he said.
At the Tuesday meeting, many neighbors were interested in continuing the conversation about Hazelnut Grove including some saying they did not share the position of ridding the neighborhood of the camp.
In some cases, they felt their neighborhood had been improperly represented on the entire issue.
There's no set timeline for when the camp will move, and if history is any indication, it could take some time. It took years for Right 2 Dream Too to be relocated.
Trejbal hopes the city can find Hazelnut Grove a new spot after a year."
Schmid, Thacher. "Why villages? Homeless villages offer residents what shelters often can’t: a sense of safety and a chance to reconnect." Open: Housing, July 12, 2017.
Hutzler, Coby Hutzler."Hazelnut Grove Homeless Camp Can Stay in North Portland—But Its Neighboring Tent City Faces Eviction." ["A new city permit will give Hazelnut Grove organizers the breathing room they've said they need"]. Willamette Week, published December 11, 2015 Updated October 3, 2016.
VanderHart, Dirk. "Portland's Newest Organized Tent Camp Fights for Survival." Portland Mercury. https://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/portlands-newest-organized-tent-camp-fights-for-survival/Content?oid=16697728.
"Union Pacific Railroad, which controls a big strip on the northern edge of the unused land, kicked campers off of its property on Friday, October 9, voicing vague concerns about "safety." The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), claiming "right of way" authority on some of the land and formal deed to two parcels, is planning a sweep as soon as October 15, though it's not entirely sure where its jurisdiction begins or ends."
"And the City of Portland, facing pressure from advocates and just a week into a formally announced housing "state of emergency," says it wants to help, but doesn't know how much it can do.
"Beyond the big Union Pacific plot, which has already been swept, four distinct entities control property around the Greeley camp: the city, ODOT, Clear Channel Communications, and the Oregon Sustainable Agricultural Land Trust (or OSALT, which owns the garden land).
"And ODOT? It doesn't care about the city's housing emergency or the promise of new shelter space in coming months. It wants campers off its turf.
"This is not a problem that ODOT can solve," says spokesman Don Hamilton. "This is an issue that's been going on in Portland for over a century."
"Ever since Portland Mayor Charlie Hales announced a housing state of emergency, I've been advocating with city and state officials to stop sweeping - forcibly evicting - homeless people from staying in tents at a camp between N Greeley and N Interstate. I've been working on a daily basis with the campers there, identifying their needs and demands, and with city officials, communicating these demands and working to find sustainable solutions.
Over the past three weeks, the city has made a 180 degree turn, from insisting it was going to sweep to agreeing not to sweep and to provide some basic sanitation services to the diverse community of people sheltering there. But the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Union Pacific railroad, both of which own parts of the property there, have issued renewed sweep threats to campers this week.
The people camping here need help - from advocacy to food. Your contribution will go entirely toward this effort, either in the form of buying urgently needed supplies, paying for gas used to move people facing sweeps to more stable and safe places, or addressing whatever urgent need may arise as I and other community members try to help in a rapidly changing context. Donations from friends and neighbors have already made a huge difference in these people's lives. Yours will too. Thank you!"
there has been lots of media coverage over the years since HG's origins in late 2015. Additions welcome here.
statements by residents of and advocates for HG say that the City agreed with Hazelnut Grove that it would be relocated, with its self-governing form, to a new site other than Overlook site.
What evidence can be cited for this agreement?
KGW News (2021-01-19) included in its story this document, implying that it a copy of the re-siting agreement referred to by HG residents:
"Memorandum of Understanding - Hazelnut Grove & Do Good Multnomah." Signed & dated 11-29-18. https://www.scribd.com/document/491538813/Memorandum-of-Understanding-between-Do-Good-Multnomah-and-Hazelnut-Grove-homeless-village#download.
"This Memorandum of Understand ("MOU") is made and entered into by Hazelnut Grove, Inc. and Do Good Multnomah (the "parties"). It is anticipated that Hazelnut Grove will enter into an agreement with the City of Portland for occupancy of a new site for the Hazelnut Grove Village and that Hazelnut Grove will work in conjunction with Do Good Multnomah, who will work directly with the Joint Office of Homeless Services ("JOHS").
"The purpose of this MOU is to designate the roles and responsibilities of the parties in the development of, relocation to, and first year of Hazelnut Grove's occupancy of the new site, including management of the JOSH grant."
"Do Good Multnomah Shall:
1. Manage all aspects of the grant from the JOHS on behalf of Hazelnut Grove..
2. Serve as the transitional services operator for Hazelnut Grove, including:
i. Connect Hazelnut Grove members to the Continuum of Services and other available transitional services resources...
ii. Assist Hazelnut Grove members in securing permanent housing...
3. Support Hazelnut Grove, on an as-needed basis, in the following ways:
i. Day-to-day management of the new village site..."
"This MOU will remain in effect for one year from the date of full execution this MOU...The terms of this MOU may be extended past one year by written agreement of the parties."
At least on the basis of this document alone, we would assess that:
However, we also note that:
claimed by Overlook N.A.
land protects water/sewer infrastructure
nearby road traffic makes it dangerous to get to.
noise & air pollution from freeway overhead and adjacent streets.
"The Hazelnut Grove Tiny Cabin Village has provided stable, long-term permanent housing for dozens of people for more than five years. As the pandemic ravishes our community and as the Center for Disease Control encourages all people to be allowed to shelter in place, the residents of the Hazelnut Grove Village are being threatened with displacement. Self-governed tiny cabin villages are just one solution to the current crisis.
"People who are currently sheltering in place in tent and tarp structures, personal pods managed by social service agencies, traditional shelters, RVs and vehicles, and motels should also not be displaced. Grounded in their lived experience being unhoused and deep commitment to individual autonomy and collective decision making, residents at Hazelnut Grove have built a thriving and stable neighborhood with plans to develop self-sustaining infrastructure like solar power, composting waste solutions, and rain water collection.
"This video below was produced in 2018 but not much has changed. The neighborhood association is still pushing for relocation but the city has not produced a viable alternative and the residents live in a constant state of unknowing and fear of their homes being demolished."
[written as comment to Village Portland news platform, Cory Elia / Andrew Wilkinson editors].
While news stories typically focus on conflicts or exceptional occurrences (e.g. an announced campsite closure), we might shift focus to look at how situations could be resolved or improved.
In this case, while Hazelnut Grove and Overlook Neighborhood Association have been in conflict, their stated goals and City policies may not be so far apart.
“What we want is for the City to be good to the original promise to move us to land we can continue to be self-governed.” stated Barbra Weber, resident leader from HG.
Overlook N.A., in its June 5 letter to the City, calls on the City to "construct managed homeless villages in all parts of the city," and notes, "Even more effective athan temporary outdoor shelters have been managed villages with elements of self-governance such as the Kenton Women’s Village."
The City currently tolerates or supports Dignity Village, Right 2 Dream Too rest area, and C3PO camps; the first two largely and 3rd one substantially self-governing. It's also proposing permanent city code allowance for "Outdoor Shelters" (a type of village concept) in the current Shelter to Housing Continuum (S2HC) project.
So it seems to me possible, if hardly easy or inevitable, for all parties here to more or less achieve their stated goals. Overlook N.A. might prefer "elements of self-governance," vs HG's full self-rule, but would it or can it really object to fuller self-governance as at Dignity Village? Mostly it likely just wants HG off the current site and another similar situation not to arise in its neighborhood.
For all the goals to be resolved, we probably need quite a bit more coordinated effort on:
a) guiding S2HC so it supports Hazelnut Grove's re-siting, and a wider goal of enabling more such villages as desired by the community.
b) identifying plausible sites and bringing HG, partners, and community together to build acceptance of them for village sitings.
c) getting official and service providers to fund/provide services to these sites as needed.
The sources mentioned above, and notes as they arise from any discussion, are all included or linked from PDX Shelter Forum's open community news/background/proposals document about this, at http://hazelnutgrove.pdxshelterforum.org.
Aside from making a convenient record, that convergent approach explores my hypothesis that one useful way to bridge between parties, and put focus on resolution/improvement of situations, is to bring all parties' views together in one place and facilitate ongoing comparison, revision, clarification, engagement between them. So that, by default more of the time, the story seen is multi-perspectival and still open.
An open community doc/platform also gives space for responses to be developed and noted. If it's credible and useful, news writers and officials and community members might also check it to get background and consider all views, and news stories might link back to it to offer readers background and paths for action.
With other issues on which we've tried a similar approach, we've found that it can help both us, and other parties who may only partially agree, efficiently develop well-informed and effective advocacy/testimony material. Officials and opponents seem to appreciate and respond better to advocacy which shows it has considered their statements/proposals well. It isn't the only approach, or tool in the arsenal, but may be quite important at times. As Saul Alinsky said, often an organizer must polarize at times to lead action, but also at times depolarize in order to negotiate, and to live with the outcomes and opponents.
(from Jan 5, 2020 letter to City of Portland).
"The Overlook Neighborhood Association calls upon the City of Portland, the Joint Office of Homeless Services and the Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program to:
(appears to be last active in 2018).
Barbra Garden Weber. resident at HG since early 2020, and organizer.
founder of Ground Score, organization employing houseless people for street cleanup etc work.
organizer with Poor People's Campaign, Oregon.
launched in spring 2018 by Kairos Center (see below), invoking the name of the 1968 Poor People's Campaign led by Martin Luther King, Jr. https://www.streetroots.org/news/2020/06/20/poor-and-low-income-americans-gather-online-march-washington.
[chapter of national PPC].
"The Oregon Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival Coordinating Committee currently has eight members, among whom are represented the NAACP, the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, On Earth Peace, the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, and several individual churches. The Coordinating Committee is facilitating the emergence of local PPC groups, what Oregon PPC is calling “circles,” in Eugene, Coos County, and Portland. Oregon PPC goals include targeting corporate as well as electoral and legislative power." - https://kairoscenter.org/truth-poverty-tour-oregon/, accessed 2021-01-31.
organizer of Action Network petition, "Save Hazelnut Grove":
"The campaign to Save Hazelnut Grove is currently endorsed by: All Rise Media, Gather:Make:Shelter, Ground Score Association, Hygiene4All, Portland: Neighbors Welcome, Rahab's Sisters, Street Books, Trash for Peace, Village Coalition, and Western Regional Advocacy Project. If your org would like to sign-on in support and help mobilize signatures, please contact us at email@example.com."
Ethan Livermore - identified in 2021-01-19 article as "statewide coordinating committee member for Oregon Poor People's Campaign."
Statewide Coordinating Committee:
[per https://kairoscenter.org/truth-poverty-tour-oregon/, accessed 2021-01-31]:
was involved in early phases advocating for villages, and helping to organize the PAD Initiative, a community design process which led to "sleeping pods" being designed and deployed at Hazelnut Grove, Kenton Women's Village, etc.
co-founded The Village Coalition, and has been very involved in the development of St John's Village, the intended re-siting of Hazelnut Grove village.
Homelessness & Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program.
City department overseeing campsite outreach, cleanup, and clearance.
Lucas Hillier is the department head.
(based at Union Theological Seminary in New York City).
Its main project is the Poverty Initiative, founded in 2004 by a group of Union students in collaboration with seminary faculty, staff and community leaders
In November 2013, Kairos: The Center on Religions, Rights and Social Justice was launched at Union Theological Seminary. Its mission to strengthen a mutually reinforcing relationship between the world’s religions and the global struggle for human rights will incorporate, build on and expand the work of the Poverty Initiative
It also oversees the [new] Poor People's Campaign
Repairers of the Breach is a nonpartisan 501c3 tax exempt, not-for-profit organization founded in 2015 by the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II as a way to organize, train, and work with a diverse school of prophets from every U.S. state and the District of Columbia. Based in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
Co-launched the Poor People's Campaign in 2018 with the Kairos Center.
add yourself here with any description / contact information you want, and mark additions in document with your initials if you want. If you would like to be compensated in some way for contributions, you can say how. (of course, nothing guaranteed, but raising the issue).
News stories: see News section above.