In another effort to help alleviate Portland’s homeless, crime and trash problems, major real estate moguls have launched various initiatives to try and at least arrive upon an interim solution. In recent months, two lobbying groups have been formed by prominent real estate development firms, commercial realtors and property owners – one to create and pass a ballot measure to funnel more money to homeless services and the other to support two city council candidates they feel would be able to provide a more pragmatic approach to solving the homeless crisis in the more immediate future.
People for Portland is a downtown lobbying group which was formed to criticize how the Portland government has poorly handled homelessness, trash and public safety, especially in the downtown area. The group is pushing to funnel 75% of homelessness tax revenue into creating temporary emergency shelters and transitional housing, as opposed to funding rental assistance and mental health support services.
The group has formed a political committee called Everyone Deserves Safe Shelter, to help further the initiative and get the ballot measure approved. Developers have already funneled $320,000 to fund signature gathering if the measure does get approved. A few top contributors are Killian Pacific, Harmony Capital Investments, and Singer Family LLC.
Portland Metro has twice rejected the proposal saying it is ineligible, but People for Portland is fighting that in court. If they are successful, and the ballot measure is allowed to proceed, it will likely cost upwards of $500,000 to collect enough signatures in the Portland Metro area to get the measure on the fall ballot.
Another group, Portland United, made up of prominent property owners, developers and real estate agents are taking a more political approach by funding a push to support two candidates in the May primary election.
The group is promoting Vadim Mozyrsky, the challenger to Jo Ann Hardesty, and Dan Ryan, the incumbent, whose challenger is AJ McCreary. Both Hardesty and McCreary are the most liberal candidates in the primary, and they tend to favor alternatives to more traditional policing and solutions to homelessness such as prioritizing permanent housing with support services over emergency and transition shelters.
Portland United’s intention for supporting Mozyrsky and Ryan is to enable emergency action which will help the city’s problems in the immediate future. The group touts Mozyrsky as best positioned to restore critical base services such as trash cleanup, getting people into shelters and reforming the Portland police force. Ads that the group has released about Ryan credit him with helping to secure tens of millions of dollars for homeless services including leading the creation of outdoor shelter sites.
Only time will tell if these two endeavors will help make an impact on the homeless problem that Portland so desperately needs help with. What are your thoughts about the creation and efforts of these two groups. Comment below!