Thoughts and Notes on the City Draft Contract

Thoughts and Notes: City of Portland”s Draft Contract Proposal to “Subrecipient”

Through their new contract the City of Portland’s Housing bureaucracy is acting in its capacity as lessor of unimproved real estate commonly known as Sunderland Yard of which 1.3 acres is occupied by the self-governing, non-profit corporation commonly known as Dignity Village. (FYI, Dignity Village has no prior history, to my knowledge of being known as “Subrecipient.”)

City of Portland doesn’t assure Village residents, past, present or future, that this proposed contract is NOT, nor has intention or desire to micro-manage the decade-long successful lessee, Dignity Village.

To reassure the City of Portland, its administrators, employees and citizens, Dignity Village could attach copies to be made public in every means possible of its ‘Admissions Agreement’ and ‘Membership Agreement’. These brief and thoughtful documents cogently state the lessee’s mission and serve as governing foundations to inform and inspire fair and respectful cooperation….that’s cooperation, not corporation!!

With justifiable pride the founders and alumni core of Dignity Village believe their efforts, not without missteps, give helpful guidance for a solution to a national catastrophe and international embarrassment reflecting personal and corporate mismanagement, insecure income, health care, retirement and natural catastrophes, often ending at houselessness.

Current Villagers are excited about out of state inquiries and eager to host visitors wishing to understand Village ingredients of self-government; its workings and stumblings. This contract would be helped and all participants informed by a cogent definition of Dignity Village that recognizes its not-so-transient governing core.

Item A 2  To gain the confidence of Portland’s tax-paying citizens this paragraph might end…”with locating, or creating and accessing permanent affordable housing at a cost equal to or no more than double that of Dignity Village”

Item A3  Realism requires that such suggested requirements as “ adjoining bathrooms, showers, kitchen” come with adequate sweat equity agreements or designated funds.

Items A 9 a-e  Repeats the Village’s basic rules, but excludes the “Everyone must contribute…”

Item A 11  Perhaps the City could notify the Village when the City’s composting activities will create unsafe health environments for Village residents.

Item B 1  What dollar value does Village security save City police? A Contract Exhibit could note this along with other reduced amenity requirements. (eg. The Village per/capita btu consumption compared with other Portland neighborhoods would be enlightening statistics as would water consumption. Statistics certainly exists and could be shared in a Contract exhibit.)

Item B 3  Again, with costs equal to, or no more than double Dignity Village ($20/month, 10 hours/week ) Economic data on comparative solutions seems pertinent and could be presented in a Contract Exhibit.

…and of course City responses to Village inquiries should have the same time requirements that the City suggests for the Village…and clarity is necessary about “financially self-sufficient manner to achieve its purpose, including private fundraising…” …and will the administrative paperwork the City suggests be done or funded by the City? …many more specific concerns, but I’ll close appreciating that City ‘contract-speak’ can be language understandable by poverty-stressed citizens, many a bit shy of legalese.

These are citizens with distress, not sharecropping tenants. They named their encampment Dignity Village. That is our clue for efforts that will wisely and prudently rehabilitate. No, not rehabilitate, rather ‘habilitate’ for many street people have never been ‘habilitated’ This isn’t ‘rocket science’; It’s non-judgemental listening 400.

I’m sure the contract doesn”t mean to kill the geese laying this and maybe more golden eggs…and if the City provides adequate legal aid for Dignity Villagers to comply with such items as E through T this Dignity Village success may, if allowed, grow into “businesses” including those similar but more cost-effective than current “affordable housing.”     Dignity is a village. Not yet a business. (I checked out the definitions),

Steve W.


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