Rose Haven – A Safe Harbor For Portland’s Vulnerable Women

Rose Haven is a day shelter and community center serving women, children and gender-diverse people experiencing the trauma of abuse, loss of home or other disruptive life challenges. Katie O’Brien, Deputy Director of Rose Haven was kind enough to help me gain more insight into another facet of Portland’s homeless crisis.

Rose Haven was founded in 1997, as a program through the Catholic Charities. Today, the organization is a nonprofit that is located at 627 NW 18th Avenue in Portland. Although Rose Haven is not affiliated with a religious organization, it does follow the Good Shepard value system which embodies compassion, individual worth, reconciliation and zeal.

Katie guided me through the small facility, which is only open from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm on weekdays. She explained that domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness among women and that in an average day, 100 to 120 women seek support and services at Rose Haven.

Katie and I discussed the growing homeless crisis in Portland. Homelessness in America increased by 2.7% over the past twelve months. However, homelessness increased in Oregon by 9.7% over the past year. Katie noted that over the past ten years, the average age of women coming to Rose Haven has increased from 43 to 49 years of age.

Katie noted that Rose Haven can only offer a temporary safe harbor for Portland’s most vulnerable women, during the day. She was interested to hear about the “Haven for Hope” facility in San Antonio, Texas. This facility is located on a 22-acre campus and helps people rebuild their lives from destructive life patterns, transition into a job and finally into their own apartment off campus.

Portland has literally hundreds of nonprofits and faith-based groups working independently to address our city’s homeless crisis. Haven for Hope’s well-coordinated approach is recognized as the most successful homeless program in the United States.

Since Haven for Hope is recognized as one of the best homeless programs in the United States, why shouldn’t Portland employ a similar model? Our City Council should seek to collaborate with the private sector, nonprofits and religious organizations to address our homeless crisis.

If you agree with me and want to see our city find solutions to our homeless crisis in the future, please consider adding your name to my list of public supporters for my campaign.

Together we can find viable solutions to the issues facing our city. Thank you for reading this blog and thank you for your support.


Can Mobile Crisis Response Teams Help Portland’s Homeless?

America, not just Portland is dealing with a homeless crisis. No one aspires to live on the streets, but there is no one root cause for our homeless crisis. The reasons men, women and children are living on our streets are as diverse as the people themselves.

Crisis Assistance Helping Out on The Streets (CAHOOTS) has successfully provided mobile crisis intervention in the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area in Oregon for over twenty years. Tim Black, CAHOOTS Operations Coordinator was kind enough to help me understand how a mobile crisis intervention program can have a significant impact on our homeless crisis in America.

In the Eugene-Springfield area, a CAHOOTS response team is dispatched through the police-fire-ambulance communications center. Each response team consists of a mental health professional and either an emergency response technician (EMT) or a nurse. Tim told me that each member of the response team will receive over 500 hours of training prior to joining a response team.

How effective are the CAHOOTS response teams? In 2019, the Eugene-Springfield the police-fire-ambulance communications center received over 90,000 calls and dispatched a CAHOOTS response team over 10,000 times. The CAHOOTS organization has clearly earned the confidence and respect of the Eugene-Springfield the police, fire and ambulance departments.

Portland City Commissioner JoAnne Hardesty has recently championed a pilot program similar to the CAHOOTS response with the Portland Fire and Rescue Department. This type of program has the potential to improve response time to people in crisis and at significantly lower cost than a conventional team from the Portland Fire and Rescue Department. I support this pilot program, and I would support expanding this type of program across Portland, if this pilot program proves successful.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported that homelessness in the January 2019 in the Oregon, increased by 9.7% from January 2018. If Oregon is going to effectively address our homeless crisis, then we must look at programs across the country, like CAHOOTS that have proven to be effective.

If you agree with me and want to see our city find solutions to our homeless crisis in the future, please consider adding your name to my list of public supporters, or even make a small donation to my campaign.

Together we can find solutions to the issues facing our city. Thank you for reading this blog and than you for your support.


The Ugly Truth of Sex Trafficking in Portland

On January 10th, a Portland man was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison after he was convicted of sexually trafficking a girl he started grooming when she was only 11 years old[1]. Ironically, January 11th was National Sex Trafficking Awareness Day.

“Ahad Shaukak Hasan Jr. knew exactly how to starve this victim from a normal adolescence,” stated Deputy District Attorney Trista Speer, who prosecuted this case. “To him, she was a commodity and an object that he could control for his own profit.”

Human Trafficking in Portland! Yes, and this is not an isolated case. Portland State University reported that at least 469 children were victims of sex trafficking over a four-year period in the Portland Metropolitan Area[2]. The report provided the following disturbing data:

  • The average of the victims was 15 ½ years old.
  • The youngest victim was 8 years old.
  • 96% of the victims were female, 3% male and 1% transgender.
  • 5% of the victims were Caucasian, 27.1% African American and 5.1% Hispanic

Wynne Wakkila, executive director of Fight Against Sex Trafficking & Fight Against Slavery/Trafficking[3] (FAST) was kind enough to educate me on the epidemic of human trafficking in Oregon. Wynne explained that the Portland metropolitan area is a known hub for sex trafficking. Portland is second only to Las Vegas, Nevada in the number of children found in forced prostitution in the United States.

Human trafficking is the second most profitable criminal activity, after drug-trafficking in the world[4]. Sex trafficking is the exploitation of a person for commercial sexual activity through force, fraud or coercion and involves both adults and children.

Sex traffickers target victims using tailored methods of recruitment and control. Sex traffickers primarily target runaways, abuse victims or homeless youths. The victims are commonly forced into prostitution, pornography, escort services or strip clubs.

Wynne believes the City of Portland should take the following action to stop sex trafficking in our metropolitan area:

  • Mandate that all dancers have a U.S. Passport as identification. Passports are the most difficult document to forge, unlike a driver’s license.
  • Strip clubs hire dancers as consultants, avoiding the responsibility of confirming the person’s age. If a dancer is an employee of the strip club, the club becomes responsible if an under aged person is employed.
  • Establish shelters which can provide special counseling for sex traffic victims.

Sex-trafficking is a despicable, crime that targets runaways and homeless youths. I will support taking aggressive action against sex-trafficking, if I am elected to the Portland City Council in 2020.


[1] “Portland man who raped girl, 12, then sex trafficked her gets 7.5 years prison sentence” by Katie Williams, The Oregonian/OregonLive, January 11, 2010.



[4] Human Trafficking in Oregon: A Report of the Oregon Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Feb. 2018.

Pride in the Union Label

Labor unions have a long and proud history in the United States. Initially, unions were created in an effort to protect the working population from abuses such as sweatshops and unsafe working conditions.

The first hundred years of U.S. history saw relatively little in the development of labor unions. The first successful union strike in the building trades took place in 1791, when Philadelphia carpenters campaigned for a 10-hour workday[1].

The National Labor Union was created in 1866 to lobby Congress to limit the workday for federal employees to eight hours. The push to improve the working conditions in the private sector resulted in the formation of the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions in 1881, and the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in 1886.

Congress finally recognized the importance of our labor force and created the Department of Labor on March 4, 1913. Congress then passed the Clayton Antitrust Act in 1914, which defined unethical business practices, such as price fixing and upheld employees right to strike and boycott their employers.

In 1938, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which was a significant victory for the American worker. The law is  intended to protect workers against certain unfair pay practices or work regulations. The Fair Labor Standards Act mandated a minimum wage, extra pay for overtime work and basic child labor laws.

Labor unions have come a long way since the birth of our country. The unions today are seeking a just and vibrant society where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

The fastest growing union in North America in America  is the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The SEIU represents workers in the field of:

  1. Health Care: Nurses, doctors, lab technicians, nursing home workers and homecare workers
  2. Property Services: Building cleaning and security, maintenance workers and window cleaners
  3. Public Services: State government workers, public school employees, bus drivers and childcare providers

The SEIU is championing many important labor issues, including establishing formal training and career development programs for long-term care workers. Over the next decade, long-term care will be the largest growing profession in the United States. In Oregon, there will be an estimated 36% increase in the demand for long-term care workers over the next decade.

When caregivers are able to join together and make their voices heard there are immediate and positive results. The quality of care improves, and families supported by caregivers are lifted out of poverty. In Oregon, there is a clear to when homecare workers organized a union and results that helped consumers and caregivers.


[1] “The History of Unions in the United States” by Mark P. Cussen, April 2, 2019


Lents Neighborhood Livability Association’s Candidate Forum

On January 10, 2020, I was invited to participate in the Lents Neighborhood Livability Association’s Candidate Forum for the Portland City Commissioner 4. The incumbent, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly elected not to participate.

The following were my introductory comments:

I am frequently asked, why am I running for office? Which is quickly followed by, Are you crazy? My answer is to ask – “are you satisfied with our city’s policies on our homeless crisis, environment, unsafe streets and fiscal incompetence?” The answer I keep hearing is a resounding NO!

I started my campaign by reaching out to leaders working with non-profits and faith-based groups dealing with the homeless, small business owners, neighborhood associations, environmental groups, police, fire and rescue, city employees, teachers, doctors, nurses , unions, urban planners and building contractors. I wanted to be sure I had a thorough understanding of the major issues facing Portland, before I started my campaign.

As a result of my outreach campaign, my platform is focusing on –

Homeless CrisisPortland has literally hundreds of nonprofits and faith-based organizations trying to help our homeless. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently released a report that showed that homelessness in America has increased by 2.7% from 2018. However, homelessness in California and Oregon has increased by 16.4% and 9.7% respectively.

Why the dramatic increases in homelessness in Oregon, especially Portland? Our City Council would say, more affordable housing will simply solve the problem. I have met with leaders of nonprofits and faith-based groups across Portland and the city’s simplistic perception is not correct. Our homeless crisis is as complex as the people we see on the streets.

If we really want to address Portland’s homeless crisis, we must look at what has worked in other cities, such as Haven for Hope in San Antonio, Texas. A facility built by businesses, nonprofits, faith-based organizations and city funds. It is recognized as the most successful homeless program in America.

Safe StreetsThe topic of safe streets is a broad topic. It includes addressing the dramatic rise in traffic related fatalities, rioting on the streets, unclean homeless camps, drug dealers and sex trafficking.

Traffic related deaths (pedestrians, bikes, motorcycles, cars) has continued to increase, even though city council has implemented a safety program. Why? Insurance company statistics (Quote Wizard & Allstate Insurance) rate Portland as having some of the worst drivers in the 200 largest cities in America. How do we solve this problem? Traffic cameras have proven to reduce traffic related deaths by 11% to 44% in Europe, Canada and major US cities. I will support efforts to have the Portland Police Bureau to install traffic related cameras across Portland.

In my outreach campaigns, I have repeatedly heard support for community policing. I pledge to support Portland Police Bureau in their efforts to protect and serve. The police across America have come under increased criticism, sometimes justifiably for their actions. Unfortunately, we seldom see or hear of the countless acts of courage by our police every day.

I want to work to help build bridges between our community and the men and women who protect and serve. We will not be able to effectively implement community policing while we have over 100 plus vacancies in the Portland Police Bureau.

EnvironmentWe can see the impact of climate change around the world. In Oregon we are experiencing drier weather, forest fires and stagnant air. Our city council talks about achieving 100% renewable energy but has NO viable plan. I have the expertise to lead the development of a plan, which will be measured and then reported to the people of our city on a regular basis.

Portland also has an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen at the Zenith Oil Terminal. The facility was transformed from an asphalt plant into an oil import and export terminal. The oil is shipped from the tar sands in Canada to the Zenith Oil Terminal, stored onsite and then pumped into a ship to be sold in China. The facility is located on an earthquake liquification zone, which means an earthquake can cause the land to turn to liquid, causing the oil tanks to rupture spilling millions of gallons of toxic, heavy oil into our Willamette River. There are easy solutions to address this potential crisis.

Fiscal DisciplineCost overruns of 300% to 400% have become routine such as refurbishing of city buildings and water treatment plants. These cost overruns are inexcusable. I will not sign off on any city project unless proper decision and risk analysis has been conducted on the estimate and the project has been rigorously peer reviewed by professionals in this field.

Responsive Government – In my out reach campaign, I continually heard that our City Council doesn’t care or isn’t listening to the voters once they are elected. I commit to you, that if elected, I will have open-to-the public town hall meetings. I will rotate these meetings across every sector (North, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest) of our city. I will also invite the media to these town hall meetings to ensure that your voice is heard not only by me but will reverberate through city hall.

Portland’s city government is unique in that a commissioner is expected to lead multi-million-dollar departments. However, it is rare that any commissioner has experience in leading a business. I have spent 40 years in the energy industry, primarily turning around under performing businesses around the world. I know how to energize and lead an organization to improve performance for the stakeholders, which are the people of Portland.

I believe I can be an effective city commissioner that can and will bring positive change to our beautiful city. I will be a commissioner that will continually reach out across our city to listen to your concerns and make sure your voice resonates through city hall. Thank you.


KEX Radio Interview – Jack Kerfoot on Renewable Energy

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