November 2017 Newsletter

THANKSGIVING REFLECTIONS

“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains. Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun, go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God. Think of the beauty that again and again discharges itself within and without you and be happy.”
― Anne Frank

As we gather together this Thanksgiving, Anne Frank’s words challenge us to look beyond the darkness of our day, its violence, poverty and sorrow, to see the bright beauty of God’s glory that is within and surrounds us, and in that vision  be truly thankful.  B. Gregg

 

PCC  NOVEMBER 7 BOND MEASURE  – EDITORIAL COMMENTARY BY LES WARDENAAR, INTERFAITH ALLIANCE ADVOCACY  ACTION TEAM

Experts agree that EDUCATION is the most effective way to lift people up and out of generational poverty. This is why our Portland Community College system is such a critical resource in the fight against poverty in our Metropolitan area. It provides accessible, affordable and confidence-building education and training to a population that needs it most.  And this is why–even if you are suffering from “voter fatigue” or think that single issue election doesn’t matter–you need to cast your ballot.

If passed, the PCC Bond Measure would authorize $185 million in bonds over a 16-year period, money that would enable:

  • (1)modernization of the college’s workforce training center in Northeast Portland;
  • (2) construction of a Child Development Center on the Rock Creek Campus;
  • (3) renovation of the  Health Technology Center on the Sylvania campus;
  • (4) modernization of technology and equipment;
  • (5) creation of additional training spaces for health care professions programs.

These effects are in addition to basic maintenance, extended life, and the “greening” of PCC facilities and processes. Because this is a sustaining bond measure rather than an entirely new spending authorization, it is not expected to increase the tax burden on Portland homeowners.

In the current Portland economy, many high-paying, family-sustaining jobs remain unfilled for lack of qualified candidates. PCC is our most obvious resource to strike a blow against poverty by bridging this gap, but it needs more resources, more program capacity, and more efficiency in its training. Meanwhile, a wide variety of non-profits are working hard to provide poverty-entrapped youth and adults with the awareness, self-confidence, and sustaining support to go after these opportunities. But all of these programs depend on a vital and expanding community college system.

PCC tuition costs roughly half that of a state university (one-tenth that of a private college), not to mention convenience and lower cost living expenses. Offering degrees and certificates in more than 100 areas of study, PCC ranks #1 among all Oregon higher education institutions in terms of graduates’ earnings compared to tuition costs (2017 Portland Business Journal).

According to PCC sources, every dollar invested in the PCC system returns $12.50 to Oregon’s economy in added state revenue and social savings (e.g. medical, elfare, unemployment payments). Our community not only needs this resource, but it turns out to be a great investment of taxpayer dollars.

The simplest yet most important action that Interfaith Alliance members can take against Poverty is to VOTE for measures and candidates that are the most likely to yield positive results. Keep that in mind as November 7 approaches!!!

 

PORTLAND PRIORITIES FOR  $258 MILLION AFFORDABLE HOUSING BOND

Source:   Oregon Live, Jessica Floum,   October 11, 2017

The Portland City Council approved spending guidelines  for the $258 million to focus on people of color, families with children, and the homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.  Dan Saltzman proposed  and the City Council  approved adding kids aging out of the foster system.

Mayor Ted Wheeler said, “The time for action is clearly upon us,  Portland families need safe accessible and quality housing and I believe this strategic framework provides us a direction for accomplishing that.”

1,300 affordable housing opportunities are required by the bond to accommodate those who make 60%  or less than the area median income,  and 600 units must be  available to those who make 30% or less,   In addition, 300 of Portland’s lowest income earners will be provided access to medical, mental health, addiction, and other social services.

 

NOVEMBER 2 INTERFAITH ALLIANCE MEETING – 12:00-2:00

You are invited to join the work being planned by the Interfaith Alliance at their next meeting being held  at Genesis Community Fellowship, 5425 NE 27th Avenue.

 The meeting will be hosted by Genesis Pastor Donald Frazier.    Ordained in 1983,   Pastor Frazier received  his Masters in Specialized Ministry in 2004 from Western Seminary.   The first few years of his ministry Pastor Frazier was bi-vocational, working as a manager at the State of Oregon Children Services Division.  In that role, he  developed culturally sensitive training for employees to insure that culturally competent programs were developed for ethnic clients. He states that his “ twelve years with CSD deeply burdened his heart for ministry to young people, family, and racial reconciliation.”

He has also been a leader with Promise Keepers   while pastoring at Mt. Sinai and   began the Bridge Ministries Program, designed as an outreach program aimed at reaching gang affected youth and their families. High risk and at-risk youth were referred to the program by the State of Oregon, Juvenile court, local high schools, and the community.  In addition to working with the youth, his work included a component of racial reconciliation to promote cross-racial understanding within churches. These experiences eventually led to his present position as the founder and Senior Pastor of Genesis Community Fellowship, a relevant, non-traditional, multi-cultural church in Northeast Portland.

Pastor Frazier has invited Dr. T Allen Bethel to join us the meeting.  Dr. Bethel has been Senior Pastor at Maranatha Church for fifteen years,  and also serves on the faculty of North Portland Bible College and Warner Pacific College. Dr. Bethel is  president of the board for Albina Ministerial Alliance, a group of spiritual leaders who speak out on issues of police accountability.

 FEATURED SPEAKER WILL BE FELECIA TRIPP, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE PORTLAND HOUSING CENTER,

The Portland Housing Center   was formed 23 years ago in  partnership with the City of Portland and local banks to assist first-time home buyers in obtaining mortgages.  It has since helped more than 7,000 families become homeowners.

 

NEW ZONING FOR  MOBILE HOME RESIDENTS

Members of the Interfaith Alliance are joining with Living Cully, St. Charles Church and a collaboration of non-profit organizations to establish a new zoning overlay designation to protect low-income housing for the residents of 62 mobile home parks in Portland.  The Cully neighborhood alone has five mobile home parks at risk     The new zoning law would make it more difficult for owners to shut down parks to allow construction of housing too expensive for mobile park residents.

City Commissioners Chloe Eudaly and Amanda Fritz are already on board in support of the new zoning designation, and efforts are underway to persuade May Ted Wheeler to add his support as well.

Postcards have been prepared for individual citizen’s signature requesting the mayor to approve the new zoning designation.  The cards are being distributed among Interfaith Alliance faith-based communities and non-profit organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Verde, ANAYA, and Hacienda.     The postcards will not be mailed, but will be  hand delivered to city hall on November 13.

 

NOVEMBER 15  SUPPORT NORMANDY APARTMENT RENTERS AT RIGLER SCHOOL- 5:00 PM –  BY MARILYN MAUCH, INTERFAITH ALLIANCE ADVOCACY ACTION TEAM

Come at 5:00 pm and enjoy music and enchiladas made by Rigler School families.The program begins at 6:00 pm and includes a skit dramatizing the reactions of the 18 families of the Normandy Apartments and their 26 Rigler school children when they were informed by landlords that their rents were being raised by 100%!

To avoid having the school children’s learning and living circumstances disrupted, Living Cully, an anti-poverty advocacy group located in the Cully neighborhood stepped forward to help the families find nearby housing.    Multnomah County has allocated $48,000 to cover the rent increases that have threatened displacement of the schoolchildren and their families.  City officials are also being invited.

 

DECEMBER 7 INTERFAITH ALLIANCE MEETING  12:00—2:00 PM

Westminster Presbyterian Church will host the December 10 Interfaith Alliance Monthly Meeting.  Featured speaker will be Mary Li, Director of the Multnomah Idea Lab.

 

VETERANS’ DAY

On November 11, 2017, we commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of those who have committed their lives in defense of our country and the values of democracy.  Again,  Canadian Lt. Colonel, John McCrae’s words inspire us.

IN FLANDERS’ FIELDS  ….. the poppies blow between the crosses, row on row, that mark our place; and in the sky the larks, still bravely singing fly, scarce heard amid the guns below.  We are the Dead.  Short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flanders fields.  Take up our quarrel with the foe.  To you from falling hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep,   though poppies grow, in Flanders fields.

In 2017, our fallen warriors have been transported from battlefields in Afghanistan, Niger, Iraq, etc.,  to    cemeteries across the U.S.A.     Therefore, we, too, must keep the faith, carrying high the torch now passed to us, honoring those who have given their lives so that we and the rest of the world may know the blessings of liberty. B. Gregg

Tom Hering