Foster Area

Shelter Advocacy Win! Details and Next Steps

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In the 60 days since the City released their surprise announcement of a shelter at 6144 SE Foster Rd., your all volunteer Foster Area Business Association (FABA) board took quick action on your behalf and secured significant victories for Foster Area businesses.

Background
On December 8th the Joint Office of Homeless Services (JOHS) announced a planned shelter at 6144 SE Foster Rd. with the first community meeting occurring on December 18, the height of the busy holiday season. 

FABA Response
FABA convened our board of directors on December 12 to coordinate a response. We attended and live-streamed the community meeting for those who couldn’t attend, created testimony tip sheets for those testifying at the meeting and used our website and social media to inform and update our members. FABA also wrote letters to Mayor Wheeler, County Chair Kafoury and County Commissioner Vega Pederson expressing concerns from the business district and inviting them and their staff to our January 9th board meeting to address our questions.

We always welcome Foster businesses to attend our monthly open board meetings. In this case, due to limited capacity and high interest, we reached out directly to invite  members in the immediate vicinity of the shelter. To better incorporate feedback from all businesses, we also held a pre-meeting happy hour. Mt. Scott Learning Center, Mac’s Radiator and the owners of Assembly Brewing were among the businesses who were able to present their concerns directly to staff representing Chair Kafoury, Commissioner Vega Pederson, Mayor Wheeler, JOHS, Portland Police Bureau (PPB), Prosper Portland,  Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), and Transition Projects at the meeting. Afterwards, we requested that city and county officials provide a formal written response to our questions and reiterated the necessity of proactive support to address the shelter’s impact.

FABA Advocacy Gets Results
On January 26 the Multnomah County commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the lease on the shelter. As Chair Kafoury said at the December 18 community meeting, and Marc Jolin confirmed on Think out Loud (“. . . it is often the case that we have to make a commitment and then begin fully engaging the community . . .”), moving the shelter to a different location was never on the table.

In spite of this, FABA has successfully advocated for an innovative solution, a brand new way to proactively mitigate impact on Foster businesses.

In response to FABA advocacy, the County formed a steering committee with  affected businesses such as 7-Eleven, Assembly Brewing, Mt. Scott Learning Center, SE Works and Tango Berretin as well as a FABA representative and the neighborhood associations.

The steering committee will be empowered with a budget, allowing business owners with deep connections in the neighborhood to solve problems before they occur. You can read the full text of the City’s response here. The first meeting is scheduled at the end of February. FABA will keep you posted and advocate on your behalf as we continue to help make Foster Road an attractive place to live, play and own a business.

Next Steps
We want to work with you! Here’s how to get started:

  1. Share your top priorities for the Foster Shelter Steering committee to address using this survey
  2. Continue the Conversation about the shelter and the growth of Foster Road at our annual meeting on February 22nd from 6:30 to 8:00pm at Bar Carlo (6433 SE Foster Rd.)
  3. Join! Your membership fees help us advocate on your behalf and run programming like the Holiday Tree Lighting, Foster Tasting Tour and the Freelancer’s Happy Hour. Membership is only $100/year for brick and mortar locations and $50/year for home-based or nonprofit business. Businesses who join before February 12th are eligible for a free 20 minute session with a professional photographer