Kenton Women’s Village May Newsletter

Everywhere you look in Portland, flowers are springing up. With this beautiful new season comes plenty of change in the lives of women at Kenton Women’s Village, too!
As of the end of April, 12 women were in permanent housing. Two Kenton women moved into permanent housing the first week of May, and two others are in the final stages of apartment searching! What an incredible success and time for these women who have found a place to call their own.

In addition, two women are going through Peer Support Specialist training and two women graduated from Rent Well this month.

Want to help? Sponsor a villager who needs or a new apartment welcome home kit!

Kenton has an eye van coming to the village to do eye exams this month. Holy Redeemer church raised funds for all of our villagers to leave with a pair of prescription glasses. Thank you, Holy Redeemer for your incredible generosity!
Food by Design (www.FoodbyDesign.org) community garden partnership has continued to thrive. This program encompasses: growing and distributing fresh produce for houseless community members, healthy cooking and nutritional wellness classes, and internship / job training positions.
The program is expanding to the Catholic Charities affordable housing properties to bring better fresh food security and wellness.  We are looking for program sponsors – if you are interested please contact Partnerships@CCOregon.org
Saturday, May 26th 12-2pm KWV (2221 N Argyle St) Tour of the Village
Saturday, June 2nd 5pm KWV (2221 N Argyle St) BBQ dinner hosted by Villagers
Thursday, June 7th 6-8pm Historic Kenton Firehouse (8105 N Brandon Ave) Open house on KWV
Wednesday, June 13th 6-8pm DISJECTA (8371 N Interstate Ave) Kenton Neighborhood Vote on extending KWV
Looking for a way to help? Have a few items you’d like to donate? Here is a list of current Kenton needs.
We have so much to be grateful for this year!
THANK YOU for all of your support in making this village and our clients’ transitions into permanent housing possible!

 

KNA Seeks Feedback on KWV

The Kenton Neighborhood Association (KNA) is looking for feedback via a survey on the Kenton Women’s Village (KVW) leading up to a Kenton neighborhood vote on extending the KWV beyond the initial one-year duration at the next General Meeting on June 13 from 6-8pm at DISJECTA (8371 N Interstate Ave).

Please access the survey here.

Project organizers for the KWV have vowed to only continue on with Kenton neighborhood support, and the city-owned land used for the KWV remains under contract to be sold to Transition Projects Inc (TPI) to build low-income housing. That project has been delayed, though, and isn’t expected to break ground until early next year, offering additional time for the KWV to use the site. As a result, the KNA Board intends for neighbors to consider approving up to another year of the KWV in case TPI experiences additional delays.

All persons that are 18 and over and live, lease, rent and/or own any real property within Kenton are eligible to participate in the neighborhood vote by attending the June 13th meeting.

 

KNA Board Refers Extension of KWV to the Neighborhood

Last Wednesday, the KNA Board unanimously voted to refer the question of extending the Kenton Women’s Village (KWV) beyond the initial one-year duration to a neighborhood vote at the next General Meeting in June.

While the city-owned land used for the KWV remains under contract to be sold to Transition Projects Inc (TPI) to build low-income housing, that development is running about 6 months behind schedule, allowing the opportunity for the KWV to extend its operation. The KNA Board intends for neighbors to consider approving up to another year of the KWV in case TPI experiences additional delays.

However, before finalizing plans to go past the current June closing date, project organizers for the KWV have vowed to only continue on with Kenton neighborhood support.

Since the next General Meeting won’t be held until June 13th, the KNA Board also granted a conditional extension for the KWV to occupy the site for 3 additional months in case the neighborhood votes against continuing the project. This would allow Catholic Charities, who manages the KWV, to continue normal operations until the neighborhood vote with time to wind down the project if the vote fails.

All persons that are 18 and over and live, lease, rent and/or own any real property within Kenton are eligible to participate in a neighborhood vote. Details of the June 13th vote have not yet been established but will be sent out to all neighbors via electronic methods, the hand-delivered Kenton Connect and possibly by US mail.

Kenton neighbors voted 178 to 75 in favor of the project last year, approving the transitional women’s shelter pilot program for a year. So far, the KWV, which can house up to 14 women, has helped about a dozen residents transition to permanent housing since opening last June.

 

PBOT Looking at Protected Bike Lane on N Denver

As part of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) Fixing Our Streets program, the city had pegged N Denver from N Lombard to N Watts for repaving. While the repaving was previously announced, PBOT has recently started to look at re-configuring this stretch of N Denver with a protected bike lane after it’s repaved.

Similar to that of SW Broadway at Portland State University, this would entail moving parked cars off the curb to place a protected bike lane between the parked cars and the curb. In the process, some parking would be lost as well as the center lane, but the pedestrian crossing islands would remain.

N-Denver-One-Pager

Last Friday, PBOT went door-to-door between N Lombard and N Watts on N Denver and spoke with roughly 35 people at 20 addresses, finding most neighbors enthusiastic about the project.

The proposal is still being finalized, and PBOT is continuing to evaluate the project. Neighbors can direct questions, comments and concerns to Michael Serritella, Mike.Serritella@portlandoregon.gov, and Mychal Tetteh, Mychal.Tetteh@portlandoregon.gov PBOT will be attending the North Portland Land Use Group meeting on March 22nd, 7pm, at the Historic Kenton Firehouse and the KNA meeting on April 11th, 7pm, at the Historic Kenton Firehouse. They also plan on conducting an open house in April to go over the proposal with neighbors once it is finalized.

REACH CDC Kenton Project Update for March

Although we had a positive meeting with Prosper Portland and REACH CDC last month and appreciate everyone’s willingness to engage with us, we weren’t able to establish much for a viable option to restore the commercial space to the development of TriMet’s property at 2133 N Argyle.

We had hoped Prosper Portland could help reduce the funding gap, but REACH CDC would have be able to pay prevailing wages first before Prosper Portland could add any support—a chicken-before-the-egg situation.

Ultimately, the decision was made to petition the TriMet Board to assist with finding a solution like maybe doing a land lease over selling the property to REACH CDC. So far, those efforts haven’t warranted a response.

REACH CDC is continuing to move forward with the project without commercial and is preparing to submit their land use application to the city.  They are still awaiting some funding awards tied to the housing component, so it’s not completely a go yet. The KNA is looking at having them attend our May meeting.

As for action items, neighbors can contact the TriMet Board directly to support the position of the KNA Board. I was also looking at the next meeting of the N/NE Oversight Committee as another action item, but REACH CDC didn’t end up being on agenda for this month.

If you have any questions, concerns, etc., please contact us.

Tyler Roppe

KNA Chair

Previous coverage:

REACH CDC’s Kenton Housing Development No Longer Mixed-Use

Neighbors Voice Concern about REACH CDC’s Development

Updates on REACH CDC’s Project at 2133 N Argyle St

Kenton Women’s Village Newsletter for March

All the women and volunteers at Kenton are keeping busy this season! From advocacy to concerts and new Villagers to new apartments… Read on to see what’s happening at KWV.
Oregon Symphony performers, Sarah Kwak and Nancy Ives will be performing at the Historic Kenton Firehouse on March 8th at 7:00pm. This performance is free and open to the public.  Thank you, performers and Historic Kenton Firehouse!
Villagers Advocating for Affordable Housing in Salem

On February 15 Kenton Women’s Village current resident and past resident joined Catholic Charities Peer Support Specialists, Cherie Hadley and Laura Blaney, for a visit to the State Legislature to advocate for housing for homeless and low-income people. The group met with State Senator Kathleen Taylor, Representative Karin Power, and Representative Rob Nosse’s Chief of Staff with a focus on a bill to fund homelessness programs, affordable housing and help provide access to homeownership. The effort was part of Housing Opportunity day where over 60 stakeholders received lobbying training and fanned out in small groups to meet with legislators.

Blanket donations help the villagers stay warm on snowy nights
The Village is staying warm despite the winter wonderland. A thank you to the Portland Women’s Club for the homemade blankets! While we are fairly warm, we will always accept donations of hats, socks, scarves, blankets and gloves. The warning shelters across the county are looking for these items too if we are too far to drive on the icy roads!
Want to help? Sponsor a villager who needs or a new apartment welcome home kit!:
Community Partnerships at work!
  • A new group of nursing students from University of Portland are working on site weekly.  Nursing students help our clients access preventative healthcare, manage chronic health conditions and provide health and wellness information.
  • Holy Redeemer Parish has become our second home for our General Assembly meetings.  Twice a month the parish hosts us for an incredible home cooked meal and allows us to assemble in their warm and comfortable meeting room.  See photos below!
  • St. Wensesauth’s Youth Group help paint, garden, haul debris and organize donated items at the Village for a day of service earlier this month.
A New and Improved Pod Arrives to Kenton Women’s Village

The Pod built by Maslow CNC arrived to the village this past month.  It was based on the pod designed by SERA Architects as part of the Portland Art Museum [Plywood] POD Initiative. This design utilizes four 4’x8′ modules that are joined on site for easy transport.

The Maslow pod design was incorporated from suggestions made by villagers who first occupied Kenton Village when we opened. The ReBuilding Center transported the pod to Kenton as well as took the time to put the pod in place with a forklift. Volunteers, local businesses and community partners continue to help the women at the village in countless ways. We appreciate you!
Congrats to Lynette and Debbie on their new apartments!
Celebrate hope with Catholic Charities of Oregon next week! On Saturday, March 10th at 7 PM, we will gather at the Oregon Convention Center to celebrate the hope provided to women at Kenton Women’s Village and other amazing programs thanks to supporters and friends like you!
Buy Your Tickets

REACH CDC Offers Update on Kenton Project

Following my update on the development of TriMet’s property at 2133 N Argyle St yesterday, REACH CDC has now issued their own update on the project.

 

Here are a few of my thoughts on the post:

 

 

 

Tyler Roppe

KNA Chair

 

Updates on REACH CDC’s Project at 2133 N Argyle St

It’s been about a month since the last KNA Board meeting where REACH CDC’s development of TriMet’s property at 2133 N Argyle St was discussed, and I finally have some news to share:

 

 

 

On the first point, I find it extremely significant that the N/NE Community Oversight Committee is speaking out against the current proposal. It sends a clear message that it’s not just neighbors in Kenton that see these changes as a problem and pushes back against what almost feels like a concerted effort to simply just have a project because of affordable housing needs among local bureaucracies.

I’m guessing that officials with PHB aren’t exactly thrilled with the committee, but it looks like the committee has a case here: A key tenet of N/NE Housing Strategy is the it would guided by the community itself, and that community visioning has resulted in previously prioritizing, for example, family-sized units and storefront commercial opportunities.

The N/NE Community Oversight Committee meets next month, and we do know that this project will be addressed. These meetings are public, and we will certainly be spreading the word once the details of the next meeting are known. This will be key action item for neighbors opposed to REACH CDC’s changes to this project. 

Looking to Wednesday, our meeting with Prosper Portland should help answer the question of there being hope of any additional funding for this project or not. We’ll absolutely be providing a recap of the meeting at the KNA Board meeting that night, 14th, at the Firehouse, 7pm, and looking at next steps. Yes, I know; it’s Valentine’s Day.

If additional funding looks bleak, the KNA Board might be inclined to move off of looking for more funds to seeking the project delayed, etc. but it’s a tricky situation. The reality is that there isn’t much stopping REACH CDC from going forward with this project beyond public outcry and maybe some pressure on PHB via their oversight committee. If the neighborhood effects tensions with REACH CDC, it might put us in a bad spot trying to work with them on, say, storefront community rooms if they are to move forward.

As always, please contact us if you want to get involved and/or have questions, concerns, etc.

Tyler Roppe

KNA Chair

Donations Needed for Kenton Street Fair Fundraiser

To ensure proper funding for the Kenton Street Fair on May 20th this year, the Kenton Street Fair Fundraiser, which has been set for April 20th from 6:00pm-9:30pm at Disjecta (8371 N Interstate Ave), is in need of donations. Please see the documents below for additional information.

Donations are 100% tax deductible.

Donation wish list:

Kenton-Auction-Wish-List-2018

 

Donation form:

Kenton-Fundraiser-Donation-Form

 

Neighbors Voice Concern about REACH CDC’s Development

UPDATE: Members of the KNA Board will be meeting with REACH CDC and Prosper Portland on February 14th.

At last night’s KNA Board meeting, dozens of neighbors were given a chance to hear directly from REACH CDC and voice concerns on the changes to their development of TriMet’s property at 2133 N Argyle St.

While neighbors might have differing opinions about the project having some market-rate units or not, neighbors did send a clear message on the commercial space: This should be a mixed-use project.

The problem?

With retail included, the project is facing roughly a 4 million dollar shortfall. REACH CDC’s solution to this is to use an affordable housing exemption to the state of Oregon prevailing wage law, allowing REACH CDC to receive millions of dollars of public funding without having to pay the wages normally required for public works projects in Oregon. By not paying prevailing wages, REACH CDC can save about 10% in construction costs, closing their funding gap.

This exemption, however, prevents any space intended for commercial use from being built, but REACH CDC still plans to build out the ground-floor retail as community spaces. Unless Oregon state law were changed, REACH CDC could never convert this space to actual retail or charge any rent for it.

REACH CDC was clearly looking for ideas how they could activate these ground-floor community rooms from neighbors, but those in attendance had little interest in partaking in that conversation. Frankly, it’s hard to envision storefront community spaces not turning out to be more empty storefronts.

The big misstep here is that REACH CDC wasn’t coming to neighbors to figure out how they should proceed with the project; they were here to tell neighbors what had already been decided. It’s now late in the process, and options appear limited.

But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. REACH CDC was receptive to working with the KNA in engaging Prosper Portland, for example, in looking for additional public funds.

The KNA Board will be looking at sending letters to TriMet and Prosper Portland in the coming days along with establishing meetings with REACH CDC and government officials.

Want to get involved? Contact us!

Tyler Roppe

KNA Chair