At noon today, February 26, 2004, representatives of Dignity Village held a press conference at City Hall.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.|
Jack Tafari opened the press conference by saying that "today we are hoping for a designation as a campground under ORS 455.252. That's a statute that allows for two campgrounds in any city in Oregon where the housing crisis is of such dimension that it requires that. So we're going into the council today very hopeful of getting this designation."
Tafari then spoke briefly of athe particular vision of Dignity Village and that "this designation will allow them to negotiate a firm, clear lease with the city for up to 10 years at Sunderland yard."
After these few brief remarks by Jack Tafari, about 1 1/2 minutes, the media immediately began asking questions. Tafari addressed one question concerning what they would do if the city did not grant their request by stating simpley that "we'll cross that bridge when we get under it." From here the majority of the questions were posed by Elaine Murphy of KATU channel 2. She asked Trafari if he sees this as special treatment for people who are homeless. He responded that "we are only 60; and we're part of a population. There are 3500 adults; there are 1500 kids. There are 1751.....who sleep out on any given night...it's really not about the 60, it's about the rest of the community, the rest of the homeless community, the people without shelter." He also mentioned here that other cities are watching this, because "they are also considering tent cities."
Following a question from Elaine about what the number of people who have moved on into society from Dignity Village turned the mike over to Tim Mc Carthy, the groups treasurer. Tim stated that "last year we had 71 people who have left the village, 62 into permanant housing with an income, and the other 9 went back out on the streets." At this point he responded to an earlier question concerning the crime rate in the Sunderland Yard area by stating that the crime rate in that area has dropped for the two years that Dignity Village has occupied that location.
The Press Conference continues for a total of a little over 12 minautes.
Dignity Village Press Conference