Come one come all to lend your support to the revolutionary community of Dignity Village. Dignity has a proposal before Portland City Council (in the form of a resolution sponsored by Commissioner Erik Sten) to designate their current site at Sunderland Yard as "transitional housing," which would permit them to stay there long-term while they continue the search for a permanent site. This City Council action was prompted by a building codes complaint by right-wing talk-show butthead Lars Larsen, who seeks to get Dignity evicted from their City-owned site. Read the Street Roots story at http://www.outofthedoorways.org/articles/sr-feb13-04/
Read Dignity's proposal on their website at http://www.outofthedoorways.org/proposal2003/
The Feb. 26th City Council meeting will feature testimony from Dignity Village residents and community partners, but they are also asking supporters from all over the community to PACK THE CHAMBER and contribute our own testimony. (Some possible talking points follow.) If you cannot attend this meeting, please contact the Mayor and City Council ahead of time to voice your support for Dignity Village. Dignity is NOT a fire hazard, or a bunch of scofflaws, or an "inhumane" alternative to the shelter system (quite the contrary!) The Dignity Villagers are our brothers and sisters, and we support their righteous struggle for self-determination.
You can contact the Portland City Council at:
Mayor Vera Katz
Commissioner Jim Francesconi
Commissioner Dan Saltzman
Commissioner Erik Sten
Commissioner Randy Leonard
The following is a list that Dignity Villagers brainstormed for crafting their own testimony, and it may be a useful source of talking points for supporters. You can also find lots more information and beautiful pictures at Dignity's website, http://www.outofthedoorways.org.
QUE VIVA DIGNITY!!
* personal conversion and spiritual growth from joining the community -- very different in comparison to shelter system
* reiterate that the police and mayor send people to the village, it is close to being a fully integrated service provider for the city.
* cooperation with outside in, join, PAW team to provide service to the larger community
* cooperation with city repair, build it green tour, community cycling center, local universities, environmental middle school, sisters of the road -- emphasize community partnerships
* flexibility and humaneness of village allows villagers to locate and hold jobs, go to school, own pets, and maintain relationships much easier than in the shelter system
* stress that the village is run by volunteers, no paid positions and villagers trade skills and knowledge to support each other: carpentry, nursing, electrical, accounting, computer skills, etc
* testimonial from a veteran might be good
* testimonials from village alumni would be great
* perhaps a villager could talk about their conversion to full time activism
* testimonial about strawbale house, recycled building materials and windmill, and gardens and build it green tour
* perhaps some testimonial from someone who has just arrived at the village from the streets
* testimonial from a recovered addict who's found the village to be supportive
* discussion of the judiciary system the village has been developing
* discussion of the village responding to each new arrival's specific needs -- for example, when the village worked with Cascadia Mental Health to line up better housing for Karls Jr.
* discussion of effectiveness for taxpayer (reference unpopularity of measure 30) DV costs $3 per night, traditional shelters $20 - $30.
* discussion of demographics
* mention all the committees that exist at village -- how the work gets done.
* emphasize the durable structure of village governance, elections were just held and the village is going strong... accountability, etc...
* emphasize the continuous transformation and improvement that has occured at the village throughout the years.