Are There Solutions to Portland’s Homeless Crisis?

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

I equate our homeless crisis to a raging fire, that is out of control. The first record of an organized firefighting service was over 2,000 years ago in Rome. The service, called the “Corps of Vigiles,” sounded the fire alarm, put out fires and enforced fire codes.

Why did the city of Rome organize a firefighting service? The Emperor, Augustus Caesar realized that without organization, training and collaboration the city would never be able to effectively address fires.

In many ways, our homeless crisis is far more complex  than fighting a raging fire. Portland Fire and Rescue is a well-trained and highly organized department of professionals, led by Chief Sara Boone. Our city has literally, hundreds of charities working diligently to address our homeless crisis with limited coordination and collaboration.

Haven for Hope in San Antonio, Texas is recognized as one of, if not the best program to help the homeless. The city of San Antonio brought the private sector and charities together to develop this exceptional program. If we truly want to help our homeless, why can’t Portland develop a program that has proven to be successful?


Governor Brown – Just Say “NO” To The Jordan Cove LNG Project

I oppose the development of the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project because of significant safety, climate and economic risks. Oregon has better environmental and economic options for Jordan Cove.

Jack Kerfoot

Jordan Cove LNG Project

Pembina Pipeline Corporation, a Canadian oil and gas infrastructure company, is aggressively seeking approval to develop the Jordon Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. The proposed facility, includes a natural gas liquefaction terminal, a power plant, and a natural gas pipeline. The Jordan Cove LNG project, located near Coos Bay, Oregon is designed to ship natural gas from the Rocky Mountains in Canada and the United States to overseas markets.

What is LNG

LNG is natural gas that has been super-cooled to -260° Fahrenheit, changing it from a gas into a liquid. LNG takes up 1/600th of the volume of gaseous natural gas, allowing large volumes of the fossil fuel to be shipped by special vessels. The largest buyers of LNG are Japan, People’s Republic of China (PRC) and South Korea. The largest exporters of LNG are Australia, Qatar and United States.[1]

The sales price of gas varies significantly around the world.[2] The price of natural gas sold in the Rocky Mountain regions of Canada and the United States ranges from $1.50 to $1.85 per one million British Thermal Units (MMBTU). The price of LNG sold overseas ranges $5.00 to $5.25 per MMBTU.

Jordan Cove LNG Project – Advantage

The Jordan Cove LNG project is estimated to cost $7.6 billion to complete. Pembina Pipeline estimates the project will generate over $60 million per year in property tax to Coos, Klamath, Douglas and Jackson counties. The company also estimates that the project would generate an additional $50 million in state taxes.

Jordan Cove LNG Project – Risks

  • Catastrophic Explosion – LNG explosions are rare, but the results can be catastrophic. An LNG tanker explosion has an incineration zone diameter of over 7,417 feet.[3] In an LNG tanker explosion, nothing will survive within the incineration zone. Earthquakes, associated with the Cascadia Subduction Zone, increases the probability of a catastrophic explosion at either the Jordan Cove LNG plant or to an LNG tanker birthed at the facility.
  • Climate Change – The United Nations World Meteorological Organization recently reported that the concentrations of greenhouse gases have hit a new high.[4] Export of LNG from Jordan Cove will increase the use fossil fuels, which contributes to climate change.
  • Economic Risk – In 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected a proposal to build a natural gas pipeline to Jordan Cove, because the applicant had failed to demonstrate a need for an LNG facility.[5] World Oil recently reported that the current global glut of natural gas will result in a precipitous drop in LNG prices.[6]

If the Jordan Cove LNG project were to proceed, the most likely outcome would be economic failure prior to completion. Pembina Pipeline will not be able to deliver the millions of dollars in property taxes or state income taxes, if the Jordan Cove LNG project is an economic failure.

Offshore Wind – A Clean, Green Alternative To LNG

Offshore wind farms have been a major source of clean, renewable energy in Europe for over twenty years. Major offshore wind projects are now being developed off the eastern seaboard of the United States.[7]

Offshore winds are stronger and more consistent than onshore winds. Wind speeds are important when calculating power generation from wind turbines. A wind turbine can generate 50% power with a wind speed of 16 miles per hour (mph), then a wind speed of 14 mph.

The strongest and most consistent winds in the United States are off the coast of Oregon and Northern California. Twenty-seven offshore wind turbines could generate 250 Megawatts (MW) of clean, green energy; while providing 400 permanent jobs for the residents in Southern Oregon. [8]

Developing the west coast’s first offshore wind farm would be a positive step for the state of Oregon to achieve 100% renewable energy before 2035. The power from the wind farm would provide clean, green energy to the city of Portland, which has a goal, but no plan to achieve 100% renewable by 2035. It is time that state and city governments stop talking and actually take positive action to stop climate change.

I oppose the development of the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project because of significant climate, safety and economic risks. Oregon has better environmental and economic options for Jordan Cove.

Jack Kerfoot, Candidate for Portland City Commissioner 4

[1] Reuters, Commodities July 16, 2019

[2] U.S. Energy Information Administration

[3] 2012 International Symposium on Safety Science & Technology, Fire & explosion risk analysis and evaluation for LNG ships by L.I. Jianhua and HUANG Zhenghua.





[8] Offshore Wind Energy, “Offshore Wind Power Can Create More Jobs Than Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling.”

Thanksgiving – What Does It Mean To You?

My dictionary states that Thanksgiving in the United States is an annual national holiday marked by religious observances and a traditional meal including turkey. The holiday commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621, which is held on the fourth Thursday in November.

To me, this holiday is a time to give thanks for all my blessings, including:

  • Born in a democratic country that allows us freedom of speech and religion. Having lived and traveled extensively overseas, I know these freedoms are precious.
  • Thanks to my fellow veterans, past and present who protect our country and our freedom.
  • Thanks for family and for friends that my wife and I have made around the world.
  • Thanks for the opportunity to serve others, including my country and my community.

On November 27th, I was able to help serve a Thanksgiving meal for a community in northeast Portland. Every Wednesday, Pastor Jon Hagebusch with the Portland Metro Church organizes a meal for the community and yesterday was their Thanksgiving dinner.

 My contribution of time, helping serve the Thanksgiving meal was my small way to give thanks for all my blessings.


Portland Police – Building Bridges

The Portland City Council established the Portland Metropolitan Police Force in 1870. Portland’s first Chief of Police, James Lappeus led six patrolmen and one lieutenant. Today, the Portland Police Bureau has approximately 1,000 full-time officers that provide numerous services to our city.

The perception of the police across the country has changed dramatically since the early 2000s. The killing of a young, unarmed black man by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri led to the formation of Black Lives Matters. Studies have shown that confidence and trust in law enforcement has decreased over the last twenty years.

On October 2, 2017, Chief Danielle Outlaw was sworn in as Chief of the Portland Police Bureau. One of her challenges was to increase trust and confidence between police and the community they serve and protect. In April 2018, the city council created a new community oversight group for the Portland Police Bureau. Since assuming command, Chief Outlaw has been actively reaching out to build bridges between the police and the community.

The Portland Police Bureau created a pilot community policing program in 2012. The program was designed to chip away at the years of distrust that had built up between the residents in North Portland’s Portsmouth Neighborhood. Today, the pilot program is now a best practice for policing in Portland.

Over the past twenty years, the police across the country have seen an alarming increase in suicides. Portland Police now have easier access to mental health professionals that can help with the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Chief Outlaw has also instituted a wellness program to encourage a healthy diet and maintain their physical fitness.

In my opinion, Portland is fortunate to have Chief Danielle Outlaw leading the Portland Police. She is a role model to young women and people of color that there is a future for them in the police departments across our country.


Portland Fire & Rescue – Chief Boone Leading The Way

Firefighting in Portland has a long, proud and storied history. Firefighting services in Portland were first established in 1851 by Thomas Dryer, founder of The Oregonian newspaper. The city’s first firefighting department consisted of 37 volunteers with just a single hand pump.

Today, Portland Fire & Rescue has over 750 permanent employees, 28 fire engines and 10 trucks protecting our city.  Chief Sara Boone was kind enough to take time from her busy schedule to explain the challenges facing the Portland Fire and Rescue.

Chief Boone shared her story of growing up in Portland. As a young child, she frequently heard negative connotations associated either with race or with gender. In university, she thought her career path would be as a high school teacher. However, she heard that Fire & Rescue was recruiting women and underrepresented groups and entered the apprenticeship program. She quickly realized this was a career that spoke to her heart.

The National Fire Protection Association reported that in 1980, our nation’s fire departments responded to 10.8 million emergency calls, which included 3 million fire emergencies. In 2013, our nation’s fire departments responded to 31.6 million emergency calls, which included only 1.2 emergencies.

Chief Boone explained that the vast majority of the calls to Portland Fire and Rescue today are medical emergencies.  Training for Portland fire fighters has also changed over the past twenty years. Fire fighters today must be trained not only in the latest techniques in structural and chemical fires, but also wild fires in rural areas.

Chief Boone was particularly excited about a new response team pilot program. Currently, Portland Fire and Rescue send multiple vehicles to any 911 medical call, which is expensive and a drain on limited resources. The pilot program would send an emergency medical technical (EMT) with a mental health professional to people experiencing a non-emergency mental-health crisis. The pilot program will begin in the spring of 2020 in Fire District 11 in East Portland.

In my opinion, Portland is fortunate to have Chief Sara Boone leading Portland Fire & Rescue. She is also a role model to young women and people of color that there is a future for them in the fire and rescue departments across our nation.



Union Gospel Mission – Helping People In Need For Over 90 Years

Union Gospel Mission has been helping the homeless in Portland, since 1927. Bill Russell, Executive Director of the Mission was kind enough to take time from his busy schedule to help me gain more insight into Portland’s homeless crisis.

The original Union Gospel Mission was located at 15 NW Third Avenue. In 2007, the original facilities were expanded to include the current “Life Change Center.” In 2013, the Mission opened the “Life Change Center for Women and Their Children” in Beaverton.

The Union Gospel Mission provides over 250,000 meals a year to the homeless and people in need in the Portland metropolitan area. The Life Change programs provide a Christ-centered  recovery community that is designed to transform lives and break people free from addiction and destructive life patterns.

As Bill guided me through the Mission, he explained that their Life Change program can only take a maximum of 50 men. The Life Change program is designed around the specific needs of each person. It takes at least one and up to three years for a person to successfully complete the program.

Work and sense of purpose are an essential component of the Life Change program. Everyone in the program does meaningful work in the Mission and are provided a bed, food and medical care. In Bill’s opinion, addiction and mental illness are the primary reasons for the current homeless  crisis in Portland.

Bill told me that one of the most successful homeless programs in the United States is “Haven for Hope” in San Antonio, Texas. This program is 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 .

Once a person completes the Life Change program at the Mission, they move out, away from their support network. The loss of the support network increases the risk of the person falling back into old, destructive life patterns.

Bill explained that there are many advocates in Portland for a homeless facility, like Haven for Hope. Unfortunately, the Portland City Council believes that the high cost of housing is the primary reason for our city’s homeless crisis. Bill explained that the homeless who are suffering from addiction or mental illness are not ready to move into independent housing, because affordable housing will not help them change their destructive behavior.

In the private sector, collaboration and effective coordination are essential for a successful operation. If 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.




Portland, OR (NOVEMBER 2019)— Jack Kerfoot, a candidate for Commissioner 4 in 2020, went on the record at the November 14, 2019 Portland City Council hearing, to strongly support the Neighborhood Associations’ continued existence in our city’s future.

Jack’s testimony to the Council included:

“I firmly support increasing civic participation of all residents, including those who identify with historically marginalized communities. However, I strongly disagree that civic participation will be increased by eviscerating Neighborhood Associations as was proposed by the original 3.96 draft ordinance.

As you consider convening a new committee to assess the place of Neighborhood Associations in code, you should make sure those very neighborhood associations have a seat at the table, unlike the last committee. The members must be genuinely representative of the city’s neighborhoods, not hand-selected advocates whose views align with the commissioner’s.

 I encourage you to maintain the basic framework of neighborhood associations. They should have the ability to weigh in officially on development and council activities. They also should adhere to basic standards of transparency so that all residents can participate. Then add to the system. Diverse organizations should have similar access. This should be an additive process.

Neighborhood Associations are an essential element of local democracy given Portland’s unique form of government, where elected officials do not represent certain regions of our city.

I am very concerned by the divisive and polarizing approach to increase civic participation. I came here tonight, not as a candidate for City Commissioner, Position 4, but as a concerned resident who supports the city’s internationally recognized neighborhood association system.

Listening and Collaboration are Essential for Effective Government. “Division” is the last thing we need in Portland.  The name-calling or stereotyping of any group is just wrong.  This is our city—it belongs to all residents—let’s not forget that.”



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