August 28, 2008
KENNEDY PARK – A group of people met in the community center at 58 Boyd Street in Kennedy Park. There were 3 Portland police officers, several Portland Housing Authority officials, three translators (Somali, Arabic, Acholi), 1 City Councilor (Kevin Donoghue-District 1) and reperesentatives of several local community organizations – The Root Cellar, Casey Family Services, Headstart, East Bayside Neighborhood Organization, – but most were concerned neighbors and parents who want to take back their neighborhood from the violence and chaos that descends on them from other places.
Drugs, kids running wild at all hours – literally, and, most recently, murder. The residents have had it are organizing to take matters into their own hands. Far from vigilantes, they are neighbors who know that the solution is neighborhood and neighbors helping neighbors.
Portland Police, though clearly deeply committed, explained their limitations due to short staffing (14 less than last year) and made suggestions on how best to use them as a resource:
- * call, call, call (if people do not call then they cannot respond)
- * provide them with information: names, descriptions, license plates, etc.
- * talk with them to help them keep the pulse of the neighborhood
Councilor Donahue committed to getting funding for a Community Policing Center at Kennedy Park.
Portland Housing Authority committed to:
- * space for the Community Policing Center
- * security cameras
- * working with residents to develop & implement their ideas
Everyone seemed to feel heard, encouraged by the meeting, and hopeful about continuing this effort into the future.
– By Ed Democracy, Neighbors Network NEWS