Rotary Youth Center at Morrison

The furture Rotary Youth Center at Morrison

Pearl Rotarian and architect Corey Omey with EMA Architecture, LLC is working in partnership with Morrison chilid and family services for a community and recreational facility located at Sandy Blvd and 110th. The site with house a covered gym and sports center and have a therapy garden.

More information on the project can be found at: https://morrisonkids.org/ways-to-give/rotary-youth-center/

Dawn of the Bed, Team Rake Superior, Growing Gardens

Pearl Rotarians volunteered together on Saturday, October 25th for Growing Garden's Dawn of the Bed. They worked towards building a garden area for the homeowner.

Friendship Day with Street Roots

Friendship Friday from last week's 2nd Annual Street Roots Vendor Appreciation Dinner. When we connect with all members of our community, we connect in our mutual humanity. Thank you to Street Roots for all that you do. We are honored to partner with you.

Joel Shapiro: What We're Doing to Stop the Sex Trafficking Business

Most of us have heard about sex trafficking across national borders, mainly involving poverty-stricken women from such countries as Russia, China, and Mexico. But did you know that sex trafficking is also a big problem within our country?

Portland area attorney Joel Shapiro told Pearl Rotarians June 4th about some of his experiences trying legally to thwart Oregon sex traffickers and provide help for the young women in our area who are trapped into providing sexual services for very low financial remuneration.

He particularly focused on one situation where a Beaverton strip joint used 13 and 15-year-old girls were being trafficked. In the Beaverton case, the girls were held during the club’s working hours in a small room that was just inside the entrance. As customers entered the building, the management offered a financial opportunity to the young women. None of the money was used to pay the women who mainly depended on their pimps to survive in the larger world.

The evident growth of the sex trafficking trade has been facilitated by the development of internet sites that list opportunities for those willing to pay for sex. In the above Beaverton case, the strip joint was shut down, consistent with Oregon law, but the same company still operates three other similar franchises.

The dismal existence of sex trafficking has been counterbalanced recently, Joel reported, by the development of supportive shelters for the women, although the number of beds is low relative to the need. Given a fresh start, some of the exploited have a renewed normalized living situation. For instance, the 13-year-old girl in the Beaverton strip joint case is married, living with a spouse, and has children.

Joel noted that the laws related to sex trafficking vary significantly over states, both in civil and criminal law. He said the legal focus across the United States is generally shifting away from punishing the trafficker to a greater concern with the situation of the exploited woman.

The Beaverton case is still being adjudicated in the appeals courts. Some of the remedies in this case, legally direct or indirect, have included shutting down the strip joints, large cash penalties for the businessmen that sponsor this activity, and long prison terms for the pimps. However, according to Joel, no criminal penalties have been levied against the owners of the Beaverton joint, mainly because it has been difficult to determine their specific involvement in the sex trafficking.

Pearl Rotarians at the Women of Excellence Awards

Several Portland Pearl Rotarians attended the 2019 Women of Excellence Awards.

The event honors outstanding women from Portland/SW Washington who are accomplished in areas surrounding the sorority’s programmatic initiatives.

Awardees are selected by first submitting a completed application and meeting all of the application requirements, including enrollment in a four-year college or university in the fall of 2019.

This year's celebration theme was “Jazzin’ It Up! ” with illustrious guest speaker, Dr. Keith Dempsey.

What to do with 34 acres in the Broadway Corridor

Pearl Rotarians heard expansive long-term plans March 26 for the redevelopment of our neighborhood. We call this area the edge of the Pearl District. The city government calls our area the Broadway Corridor and the plans to redevelop 34 acres around us.

June Reyes from Prosper Portland, the city government sponsoring agent, told Rotarians that most of the work on the project to date has involved planning and organizational activities. Hopefully, in the next year or so, a major rebuilding of the corridor with begin, although some more cautious thoughts are suggested below. Handouts from the city say that the renewal project may last as long as 15 to 20 years.

June reports that the key focus of redevelopment in the near future will be the large U.S. Postal mail sorting station that is located across the street from our Ecotrust building. The post office building will be torn down, the sorting facilities moved elsewhere, and a large park-like community for multiple uses will be constructed. The city owns the land in the district, but will depend on private interests for some of the necessary money.

June showed Rotarians slide images that suggest some of the possible future development ideas. Portland’s historic Union Station will remain, being integrated more into the current postal land. June presented some maps that highlighted three possible themes in the renewal area: play, nature, discovery. Especially notable in the new area will be green spaces and walking/hiking paths. In addition, the developers clearly intend the district to be seen as a fun destination for visitors, involving sports facilities and recreational opportunities.

The planners have envisioned ambitious specific goals for the area. Eventually, June told Rotarians, residential development will include 2,000 households of which 700 will be affordable housing, and job sites for 4,000 workers.

While the Corridor is intended for all folks, the literature on its future development especially emphasizes its value for three groups: people of color, the low-income population, and children. The material on the Prosper Portland website gives some rationale for this by stating “Previous downtown development projects have propelled Portland’s economic growth and contributed to Portland’s reputation as a popular destination city. However, many downtown projects have failed to benefit - or have negatively impacted - longtime residents and community members, particularly low-income residents and communities of color.” Consistent with these ideas, some of the project literature emphasizes the necessary development of shops and facilities that are especially desired by low-income residents.

While projecting overall positive enthusiasm, June suggested to Rotarians that some of the ambitious plans of the project may have to be scaled back. She indicated a couple of recent setbacks. First, the construction market in Portland has become “softer”, with the result that the costs of developing the site may outrun the current resources to pay. Second, according to June, difficulties in developing collaborative arrangements with other public and private organizations have “slowed us down”. (text courtesy of Pete Guest, and photo by Seth Gardner)

Membership and Service Monday - Pearl Rotarians deliver dictionaries!

Membership and Service Monday - Pearl Rotarians deliver dictionaries to Ainsworth and Chapman Elementry last week. I am not sure who's more excited, the kids or Rotarians. Excellent work!

Pearl Rotarians do Books for Kids

Pearl Rotarians spent a lovely evening last monday sipping and nibbling while prepping dictionaries which will be given to area 3rd graders. A statistic taken from Portland's Chilren's Book Bank states, "In low-income neighborhoods, the ratio of books to children is one book for every 300 children. Middle-income neighborhoods average 13 age-appropriate books per child."

Street Roots Director talks to PPRC

A walk in downtown Portland will convince anyone that a significant population is experiencing homelessness. With housing in Portland in short supply and the decrease of federal funding for affordable housing by 64 billion over the past 30 years has created our mass homelessness issue.

Pearl Rotarians heard on Jan. 22 about one Portland employment program, Street Roots has employed people experiencing homelessness for the past 20 years. Street Roots publishes its own carefully edited weekly newspaper that is then sold by associated vendors. The publication, written by professional journalists, mainly covers local Portland news, with special attention to issues of poverty.

Kaia Sand, Street Roots Executive Director, told Rotarians that as many as 175 homeless individuals each week are charged .25 cents per copy and are sold for $1.00. Sands reported that as many as 500 individuals are employed as vendors during a typical year.

Circulation of paper runs about 200,000 copies. Earnings will vary by vendor but are often around $700 per month.

Kaia Sand, Street Roots Executive Director