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Moore Michael M
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I'm curious as to the reasoning behind your statement that low income minorities are being pushed to the city's margins "because of income, rather than race." All the evidence indicates to me that race plays a huge factor, and that Portland remains a bastion of white supremacy in which those white supremacist policies and practices are simply now more cloaked in order to avoid accountablity. It's no longer legal (nor, of course, politically correct) to establish where, for example, African Americans can and can't own property, as Portland did for over a century, but now it's common practice for African Americans to not be shown more desirable available units, to be quoted higher prices or not offered move-in incentives that white people are, or to be offered sub-prime mortgages when they would easily qualify for better rates. These kinds of practices have, it seems to me, even more to do with race than with income, though to be sure other, perhaps even more pernicious and systemic problems with Portland's housing policies are income-based. But given that these kinds of discriminatory practices (which extend beyond housing to employment, provision of health care, law enforcement and criminal justice policies, etc.) are the very factors that cause the income and wealth disparities of Portland's people of color, it becomes very difficult to separate the two factors. When a system is as perfectly designed as Portland's to maintain white hegemony by limiting opportunities for economic gain by people of color, implying that the issues of race and income can separated doesn't make much sense to me.
Toggle Commented Dec 25, 2013 on holiday map immersion at Human Transit
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I think it has been a long time since Portland has been particularly progressive on the issue of housing and homelessness, regardless of where the military or VA is. Bud Clark Commons is supposed to be a cornerstone of Portland's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, a plan that we are now seven years into. The fact that the situation has only deteriorated in those seven years is evidence enough of that plan's false ideals. Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, etc, will not end homelessness. But the problem is not so wicked as you make out. Decades of cuts to affordable housing have created the problem, for the benefit of the banks and other financial institutions that control our economy and government policy. (And, no doubt, to the benefit of some of the architects who advertise on your site.) The solutions to homelessness is really rather simple: Housing. Commissioner Fritz noted at the recent housing summit at the First Methodist Church that the U.K., with roughly the land mass of Oregon and about 10x the population, has roughly 1,200 people sleeping outside on any night -- less than sleep outside just in Portland. To pretend that an award-winning, LEED-certified $50 million resource center, whatever is merits, is going to provide solutions when the funding for the real solution simply isn't there is anything but "progressive." It is certainly an opportunity for a lot of well-meaning people to pat themselves on the back for doing something. Right 2 Dream Too, on the other hand, is a genuine emergency response organized by the people most affected by the crisis. It is the kind of response any city that is genuinely progressive will need to embrace as both affordable and more humane than chasing people out of doorways and parks. Better design could certainly help -- initially, those of us working on R2DToo worked with architect Mark Lakeman on some concepts, but the city's aggressive, greedy response to the site has made it impossible for us to gather the resources we would need to execute those concepts. Personally, I take exception to the notion that R2DToo is "embarrassing," at least when compared to the embarrassment we should all feel at the way our city council, our police force, and the private security the city contracts with treats the poorest residents of our city, to the detriment of their health, well-being, personal safety and lifespan. The real embarrassment is that we continue to pretend we will end this problem through a confusing and ineffective series of programs and plans that don't actually provide the one essential resource necessary to solve the problem. Meanwhile, the people R2DToo turns away every night for lack of space are denied even the most basic essential need of a good night's sleep. Michael Moore Health Advocate Sisters Of The Road
Oh I do engage on the statewide level, mainly around health care -- and I got involved in that work through Sisters. Also, I didn't mean to imply anything about the relative worthiness of any one or two of the organizations Jack's site had selected, nor imply any criticism of anyone's particular favorites. OFB is terrific, and is a source of many staples for Sisters and other food programs around Portland and the state. I was only trying to provide my perspective on Sisters and Street Roots, what in my experience sets them apart, drew me to them, and continues to engage me. And, yes, it sounds like we had very different experiences. Vive la différence, and happy new year to you too.
Toggle Commented Dec 30, 2011 on Do Some Good! at MaxRedline
I came to the Portland area, to stay with family, after a two-month stint of homelessness in San Francisco. After regaining stability, I was drawn to Sisters not because I needed to eat there, but because it had a different model I found refreshing. In my personal experience with homelessness, the most debilitating thing about it was the utter sense of helplessness. There's almost nothing you can do for yourself except wait for handouts while you engage with case managers and social workers who crank the slow-moving wheels of our failed safety net. Look for work? It's pretty tough without regular access to showers, clean clothing, computers, the Internet and at least a message phone and mailing address. When you spend about 1/4 of your day waiting for meals (never mind shuffling between places you can eat) and another 1/4 trying to get into shelter, that doesn't leave much time. So Sisters' barter program struck me as a pretty great idea -- an opportunity to work for 15 minutes for a meal is one thing, but an opportunity to work for a few hours and build up credits for more than a week's worth of meals would've been great in San Francisco. I'd also have welcomed the ability to swing by in the morning and get a time slot like Sisters' customers do, instead of having to wait on yet another line. There's a pretty wide gulf between the typical dining out experience I was used to while housed and working and the typical dining experience I had when I was sick, broke and homeless. From my perspective, Sisters does a decent job of bridging that gulf, for a nonprofit with limited resources and -- unlike many of the other nonprofits that try to help people in extreme poverty -- no government funding sources. Hence I got pretty involved with Sisters as a very active volunteer and Board member, and now I do get to eat semi-regularly -- me and all the other "bums." :-) You're welcome to join us anytime, just contact me if you want to meet for lunch sometime. (FWIW, I feel mostly the same way about the opportunities Street Roots provides for people experiencing homelessness. I'm not nearly so involved there, but I do help out with copyediting and proofreading when I can.) Merry Christmas!
Toggle Commented Dec 25, 2011 on Do Some Good! at MaxRedline
Having worked a few blocks from the U.N. in NYC for a few years, my feeling is that goats are much more exciting than a presidential motorcade driving by. The latter just means it takes longer to get back to the office from lunch; the former is, well, GOATS!
Toggle Commented Oct 16, 2010 on Getting our goats at Portland Architecture
On the other hand, I would not want to walk or ride my bike between many of the MAX stations since they are far apart and the MAX is fast... It's funny Ben, above, would say this. I recently had a temporary job just off I-205 in SE Portland. I live in NE Portland, about 50 blocks away from the job. The MAX could take me there reasonably quickly, and I was especially lucky because my destination was equidistant from two different MAX stations served by two different MAX lines (specifically, I could take either the Blue or Green line train, whichever came first, and get to work in the same amount of time). Yet when taking MAX, I had to leave home 40 minutes before work to be sure of getting to work on time. When I biked, I had to leave home 20 minutes before work. Partly, this is a quirk of geography. My bike route was straightforward and quick, unencumbered by lots of waiting at high-traffic intersections. To get to my local MAX station, I have to walk west, about eight blocks. The walk takes longer than it should because there are some really awkward intersections and busy streets to navigate between home and the MAX. The route the MAX follows isn't as efficient as my biking route -- the train goes NE to get to Gateway, well north of my destination, before heading SE (or just south, depending upon which train). The point is, even a relatively well-designed rapid transit system isn't necessarily going to be the fastest solution, even for those who don't drive. (I don't drive, but I imagine by car I couldv'e left 10-12 minutes before work and been on time consitently.) A big part of the problem in this specific case was the walking time. Outside of downtown, the Pearl, and a select few inner NE/SE neighborhoods, Portland has a long way to go before I'd consider it pedestrian-friendly, especially if you're talking about walking as a viable means of transportation or as a viable component of multi-modal transportation. I used to think nothing of walking distances in NYC that give me pause in Portland, because I have to factor in too many long waits at too many high-traffic intersections that are prioritized to move vehicular traffic at the expense of (admittedly sparse) pedestrian traffic. I don't think that's an argument for the proposition that "speed doesn't matter" when thinking about transportation infrastructure, but I do think that the roadblocks (sidewalk blocks?) urban planners often overlook when considering transit design have to do with how much time it will take people to access that infrastructure. You can't think of speed only in terms of getting from station to station, you also have to factor in how efficiently people can get to and from the stations. Streetcars, at least, tend to be right where people want to go, whereas light rail stations are often as not somewhat removed from where anyone would go except to catch the train.
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I had trouble, and sometimes still have trouble, with compass-type navigation upon moving back to Portland after many years in NYC. The orientation of Manhattan is so simple -- uptown is north, downtown is south, the Hudson is west and the East River east. I had difficulty getting used to Portland's downtown being "west" (for me, as I live in NE), and I would instinctively think of heading over the west hills as traveling "north," even though I knew I was heading west. It's not that I get lost or confused about where I am or need to go, but there's a difference between knowing your direction and feeling it intuitively. After four years, I still can get a bit scrambled when pressed unexpectedly to give compass-type directions, like pointing north and saying "You need to go east about 2 miles." The moral is, don't ask me for directions, except in Manhattan.
Toggle Commented Jun 14, 2010 on when east becomes west at Human Transit
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Jun 14, 2010