A First Step
Across the country, Business Improvement Districts/Enhanced Service Districts use public and private policing to gentrify our neighborhoods at the expense of the most vulnerable and oppressed among us—as if we weren’t neighbors, but garbage to be swept away.
We must change this, and we want Portland to take the lead.
Instead of merely objecting as the Central Eastside Industrial Council rushed through their initial plan, we organized ourselves. We built power. We pushed back against their narrative about “livability” when what they really meant was private policing for business and property owners. We questioned the talk of security: for whom and against whom?
We countered their proposal with a positive vision for a Compassionate Change District. This is a district that demands our rights to the city and for us to be included in shaping it.
We won some major concessions, and our work has only begun.
Board representation of the houseless community, stronger protocols to reduce the harmful impacts of private security, and the promise of a safe sleep area in the Central Eastside are all significant and praiseworthy amendments to the ESD structure.
Our efforts not only stopped the initial plans, slated to be approved months ago, but through this process we changed how any proposed district should be created.
We have learned much from this campaign and from each other. We hope that people in other places will build on our experiences and reduce the harms typically caused by BIDs, and ultimately shift entirely away from erroneous notions of “security.”
We turn our sights now toward making sure the Central Eastside plan is implemented the right way. We will document every step of this project, in the hope that this will inspire more people to engage in similar struggles to create compassionate cities for all.
I run a shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness in the Central Eastside and I see firsthand that our policy of shuffling people around isn’t working. This proposal has the solutions we need to begin to actually help our neighbors who are on the streets. I fully support these ideas and this proposal.”
– Dan Trifone, Clark Center Shelter Manager
All our neighbors, regardless of housing status, deserve safe and stable places to sleep, wash, and organize their daily lives. These are the basic building blocks of civic health and well-being.
– Sandra Comstock, R2S
Our “CCD” includes a clean-up program that helps solve the hygiene and trash issues that result from unequal access to sewer and garbage services. It includes a security program that centers the right to safe sleep and safe parking and is trauma-informed. It includes a jobs development program using peer-run systems to support the functioning of the clean-up and security components, and will all be transparently and democratically run by a governing board that includes representation from all stakeholders, with annual independent audits.
Clean Up Program. Peer-run “equal access” to water, bathrooms, showers, and laundry. Learn More
Security Program. Peer-run safe sleep & park encampment with green space. Learn More
Jobs Development Program. Peer-run waste management program to complement the current Central City Concern program. Learn More
Democratic Governance. We call for a transparently and democratically elected governing board representing all community stakeholders. Learn More