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GRESHAM, Ore. -- The City of Gresham has begun two new programs to address homelessness in the community: a program to keep trails and open spaces clean and a dedicated staff person to assist individuals in need.
Through the Central City Concern (CCC) Clean Start program, Gresham now provides paid, mentored work experience for individuals transitioning out of homelessness. With funds from Multnomah County and the A Home for Everyone initiative, the City contracted with CCC to engage with the CCC Clean Start program.
"The CCC Clean Start program serves as a great example of Gresham's search for practical, yet compassionate solutions to this complex societal issue. We're making a difference in the lives of those individuals seeking a path out of homelessness, while preserving our community open spaces and parks," said Mayor Shane Bemis.
A trained CCC staff person serves as the supervisor and mentor on the team. The trainee is an individual coming out of homelessness who, through the participation in this program, gains valuable work experience and is one step closer to gaining the confidence and skills to pursue permanent employment opportunities.
The two-member CCC Clean Start team is working with the City's Neighborhood Enhancement Action Team to develop patrol routes through Gresham's parks and trails five days a week, Monday through Friday, eight hours a day. The team cleans up trash generated in areas impacted by homelessness. They are on call between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and can quickly and efficiently address pressing clean up or safety needs (such as needles, bio-waste, etc.) that currently take up police resources. When not addressing an urgent call, the team is available to tackle graffiti removal and other livability concerns. The public may report livability issues at www.GreshamOregon.gov/MyGresham or 503-618-2463.
"We won't end homelessness by acting alone, which is why Gresham's partnership with Multnomah County is so important," said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. "By working together we are breaking down artificial jurisdictional boundaries and making sure that people have the resources they need to get off the streets."
With the remaining County grant funds, the City hired a Homeless Services Specialist to serve as a single point of contact for individuals in need. Newton Gborway resides in Rockwood and is experienced working in mental health and homeless services. He fled his home country, Liberia, on foot at the age of 10, a refugee from civil war, and went on to earn his Masters in Social Work in the United States. Gborway proactively engages with the homeless population within the city and connects them with the available resources for shelter, healthcare, mental health and addiction treatment services.
"If someone is unable to get a job because they don't have an address or an ID or a birth certificate, or if they need clean clothes and a shower, I'll help them," Gborway said. "If we work together, we will make a difference--not overnight, but long term."
These new initiatives join a host of other measures the City employs to address the issue of homelessness, including:
* Funding for JOIN outreach workers, who help 10-12 people transition from the streets into housing every month.
* Pass-through funding for Human Solutions and other social service providers (using federal Community Development Block Grants) to bring families out of homelessness.
* Support for homeless students through the Second Home program, which provides stable housing for high school youth.
* Participation in A Home for Everyone, a countywide effort to reduce homelessness by 50% by the end of 2017.
* Increased police presence on the Springwater Trail to address safety concerns, as well as park rangers patrolling all City parks regularly.
For more on Gresham's work to alleviate homelessness, visit www.GreshamOregon.gov/Homelessness.
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GRESHAM, OR. -- Draft flood map revisions to the City of Gresham and nearby Lower Columbia Sandy Watershed and the impact on property owners will be discussed during a June 27 open house from 6-8 p.m. at the Gresham City Hall Conference Center, 1333 NW Eastman Parkway.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued preliminary maps showing revisions to the 100-year floodplain, which has a one percent chance of flooding in any year. The revised flood insurance rate maps cover properties along the Sandy River and local creeks and will help community officials and local residents identify flood risks. When adopted, the maps will guide flood insurance, land use and development decisions.
The City of Gresham encourages property owners to examine the preliminary maps, attend the June 27 open house and ask questions about how revisions could affect them. Preliminary maps can be reviewed digitally at www.GreshamOregon.gov/Maps or in person at Gresham City Hall's planning counter located at 1333 NW Eastman Parkway in Gresham.
Flooding is the nation's most common and most expensive natural disaster. According to national statistics, homes inside high-risk flood areas have a 26 percent chance of being damaged by flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage, compared with a nine percent chance of sustaining fire damage.
More information on flooding and flood safety is available at www.ready.gov/floods/. To learn more about federal flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov.
GRESHAM, OR. -- Stories, memories, moments and photos, old and new, will form the downtown Gresham Memory Mural, which will transform the 3rd Street side of the brick wall of 301 NE Roberts Avenue this summer. The Center for the Arts Foundation, with support from the City's Arts and Cultural Assistance Grant Program and local businesses, has selected wall muralist Lee Lauritzen to paint a mural depicting Gresham family life, culture and history.
Residents are invited to be part of history in the making by sharing their memories and photos of downtown childhood and family memories, festivals and community gatherings, and favorite restaurants or shops. The Center for the Arts Foundation will compile memories and photos into a timeline to assist the muralist in the design.
"We are excited to see this 3rd Street blank wall come to life with Gresham's Historic Downtown history. We expect to hear many tales and stories for artist Lee Lauritzen to interpret in paint with some help from personal photos," said Sue O'Halloran, President, Center for the Arts Foundation.
The community is invited to the kick-off event on June 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Gresham City Hall, 1333 NW Eastman Parkway. Meet the artist, bring photos and learn more about how the project will take shape. Attendees will participate in facilitated roundtable sessions to provide input on the design. Children are welcome to attend and will be invited to create their own works of art at supervised coloring tables. Refreshments will be served.
Memories and photos will also be accepted online until June 24. RSVP for the June 20 kick-off meeting or submit your input online at www.GreshamOregon.gov/ArtsandCulture.
Questions? Contact the Center for the Arts Foundation at 503-489-1157, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.GreshamCenterfortheArts.org.
GRESHAM, OR. -- 230 miles of pipe deliver safe, convenient water from three protected water sources to more than 100,000 Gresham citizens--at less than a penny a gallon. The City doesn't stop there and continually monitors water quality to ensure it is safe and clean. In 2015, the City of Gresham met or exceeded all federal drinking water quality standards.
"As new challenges to drinking water safety emerge, we remain vigilant in meeting the goals of source water protection, water conservation and community education while continuing to serve the needs of all our water users," said Deputy Director of Environmental Services Brian R. Stahl.
Specific water quality data is available in the 2016 Water Quality Report--including the City's commitment to community safety and reducing exposure to lead. The City of Gresham has been in compliance with the federal Lead and Copper Rule since it was enacted in 1997. Water-related lead exposure in Gresham is linked to household plumbing, not to lead in the source water or distribution system. Citizens can request free lead test kits and get more information about reducing exposure to lead from the Leadline at 503-988-4000 or www.leadline.org.
In addition to water quality, the City continues to work on the resiliency of our water system in the event of a major earthquake. For example, in order to withstand forces that might be generated by a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, existing reservoirs are being retrofitted and new facilities are being constructed using new seismic standards.
The City of Gresham has produced an annual Water Quality Report since 1998 and has met all drinking water requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency each year. The 2016 Water Quality report is available at www.GreshamOregon.gov/2016wqr. Citizens may also pick up a report at City Hall, 1333 NW Eastman Parkway, or call 503-618-2525.