Portland Metro Church – A Refuge From Chaos

Portland has many religious and nonprofit organizations that connect with people in need to do good and compassionate work.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with Pastor Jon Hagebusch who leads the ministry at Portland Metro Church. The pastor was kind enough to take time from his very busy schedule to help me understand his church’s outreach programs in northeast Portland.

Pastor Jon explained that the church’s outreach to the community focuses on rebuilding broken and discouraged hearts. The pressures of balancing work and family can create a chaotic home life. The church provides a safe healing place where members can talk with others in their support group about the many challenges in their lives.

Homelessness is a crisis across the entire Portland metropolitan area. In northeast Portland, many of the homeless are battling drug addiction or mental illness. The church tries to help people find resource centers to recover from their addictions or illnesses.

For many, Portland Metro Church is a refuge from chaos and a place to find people who care. On November 27th, the Portland Metro Church will hold a Thanksgiving dinner for the people in northeast Portland. It will be my pleasure and honor to be one of the servers at this dinner.

Jack

               

I Stand With Portland’s Neighborhood Associations

On November 14, 2019, I gave the following testimony to the Portland Office of Community & Civic Life, Committee 3.96 in support of the Neighborhood Associations. 

“What is a neighborhood? I would say a neighborhood is that alliance among residents to “care” together, whether a property-owner or a renter-resident.

My name is Jack Kerfoot—I’m a scientist, author and a Portlander, and I am concerned about the recent actions taken by the Office of Community & Civic Life that have created division, where none needed to exist.

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 representatives 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. Thank you.”

Jack

What Will Be Portland’s Legacy To Future Generations?

Have you ever thought about your legacy? An email to my campaign web site, www.jackkerfoot2020.com prompted me to think about what will be our legacy to the future generations in Portland?

Mason, a high school student sent me an email asking about solutions to our homeless crisis. We agreed to meet for coffee to discuss our homeless crisis and other issues facing our city. Mason is an articulate young man, who has a keen interest in politics.

Once we had our coffee, I asked Mason to tell me what he sees as the major issues in our city from his perspective. In Mason’s opinion, the primary issues are climate change, homelessness and gun violence in our schools. Listening to Mason, I realized that my generation never had to face these types of serious issues when we were in high school. My second reaction was, what type of legacy are the citizens of Portland leaving future generations?

Mason and I first discussed climate change and our environment. Mason asked, why can’t Portland achieve 100% of our city’s power from renewable energy before 2035?

Mason raised an excellent question. In my opinion, Portland can achieve 100% renewable energy before 2035, if we develop a plan, which is measured and reported annually. Unfortunately, Portland’s City Council doesn’t have a plan, which is one reason I am running for City Commissioner 4.

Mason and I then discussed the Zenith Oil Terminal and why it is a potential environmental disaster waiting to happen. The terminal has massive oil storage tanks that can hold up over sixty-three million gallons of viscous, toxic oil. The Zenith Oil Terminal is located on an earthquake liquefaction, which means those massive oil tanks could rupture spilling millions of gallons of toxic, viscous crude into the Willamette River.

Mason and I then discussed our city’s homeless crisis. I explained what I have discovered about the complexity of our homeless crisis, talking to numerous nonprofit and religious organizations. I emphasized that I still had many more organizations to meet to really get a deeper understanding of how our city can be more effective at helping our homeless.

After, two hours we said good-bye. I was impressed with Mason and his concerns about our cities. I decided to run for Commissioner 4, because we need to leave a better legacy to future generations than our current Portland City Council is providing.

Jack

Portland – Unicorns and Rainbows?

I had the opportunity to participate in the Grey Panthers Candidates Forum at the Chit Chat Café on October 6, 2019. The forum provided state and city candidates an opportunity to discuss their platform for the May 19, 2020 Primary.

I was surprised to hear many candidates focus on their valuable community service and not address the deeply concerning issues that I see in our city. I began to wonder if people think Portland is a city of unicorns and rainbows.

A few candidates did share their concerns with our city and more importantly, presented potential solutions. As I listened to the other candidates, I kept thinking, “Why am I running for Portland City Commissioner 4?” When my time to address the crowd, I said – “Why am I running? Over the last few years, I have become increasingly concerned with our City Council. Before deciding to run for Commissioner, I spent the past two months meeting with various community leaders and residents to simply listen  to ensure that I was informed and educated on the issues, that many feel are not being addressed.

I grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in Oklahoma, worked minimum wage jobs to save for university, served with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam and then worked my way through university to earn my degree in Geophysics.

Today, I am a scientist, author and renewable energy advocate. I have spent a lifetime traveling the world, working with diverse cultures, while leading multi-million-dollar projects. So, as I looked at the challenges of Portland— after listening to many—I thought, if not me, then who?

My commitment to you is be a Commissioner who comes to each of your neighborhoods regularly, not remain locked in City Hall.  I commit to you, that each month I will have open forums, away from City Hall—to hear the good, the bad and the ugly.  I want to be your informed voice in City Hall.

Four issues have been repeatedly raised during my listening campaign:

  1. ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION
  • Develop, measure & report plan for our city to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2035 & zero carbon emissions by 2045.
  • Stop the import of oil from the tar sands in Canada to the Zenith Oil export terminal along the Willamette River in Portland.
  1. SAFE STREETS & MOTORWAYS
  • Address sex trafficking in the Portland metropolitan area, which target runaway and homeless youth.
  • Apply proven technology, like traffic cameras to reduce pedestrian, bike and vehicle fatalities.
  1. COMPASSION & COLLABORATION TO AID THE HOMELESS
  • Collaborate with nonprofits and religious organizations to optimize the impact of financial and human resources to help our homeless residents.
  1. FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
  • City government should be accountable that all project cost estimates are accurate and are completed on budget and on time.”

I concluded by referencing my campaign website at www.jackkerfoot2020.com and asking people to share their thoughts with me.

I will be continuing my outreach campaign with various community leaders and residents to simply listen  to ensure that I was informed and educated on the issues of our city.

Listening and Collaboration Are

Essential for Effective Government

Jack

Democracy – Means Speaking Up

My daily news sources tell me that American’s are dissatisfied with their government at all levels. We have an unprecedented level of freedom of speech, but are we exercising our freedom effectively? Is a political rant on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. effective? In my opinion, it is essential that every American, let our elected officials at the city, state and federal level know our concerns.

On October 29th, I attended a town hall meeting held by Oregon Senator Ginny Burdick, District 18 and Senator Robert Wagner District 18. I was disappointed that there were only 35 to 40 people attending the meeting at the Multnomah Arts Center in Portland.

My goal in attending was to raise the following three issues to Senator Burdick, who is the Senate Majority Leader and Senator Wagner:

  1. Sex-Trafficking In Oregon – A Portland State University study reported that at least 469 children were victims of sex trafficking over a four-year period in the Portland Metropolitan Area[1]. The average of the victims was 15 ½ years old and the youngest was only 8 years old. Legislation can be taken at the city and state level to address the heinous crime of sex trafficking.
  2. Climate Change – A few of us spoke up for legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon. Senator Burdick was taken back when I told her that Oregon’s move to renewable energy over the past fifteen years has been at a significantly slower pace than many states in the Great Plains. Oregon has significant undeveloped onshore wind, offshore wind, hybrid (wind + solar) and geothermal potential would allow our state to generate all our electrical power from renewables.
  3. Zenith Oil Terminal – The facility, located only a few hundred feet from the Willamette River is importing bitumen from the tar sands projects in Canada and then exporting the highly viscous oil overseas. The facility is located on an earthquake liquification zone. The oil storage tanks at facility could rupture as spill over 60 million gallons of black, toxic bitumen into the Willamette River. British Columbia, Washington and California all have legislation which prohibit these types of oil export terminals.

I applaud Senators Burdick and Wagner for holding town hall meetings on a regular basis with their constituents. My only concern is the modest turnout of people to express their concerns and support of major issues impacting our state.

If I am fortunate enough to be elected to the Portland City Council in 2020, I pledge that I will continue to meet and listen to the concerns of the different communities around the city on a regular basis. If elected, you will have someone in city hall that will listen and respond to your concerns.

Jack

[1] https://wwwjustie.gov/usao-or/pr/hundreds-children-are-being-trafficked-sex-portland

Antisemitism In Oregon

Portland has many religious and nonprofit organizations that connect with people in need to do good and compassionate work.

Recently, I had the opportunity to have coffee with a rabbi of a small but active synagogue in Portland. The rabbi was  kind enough to take time from his schedule to educate me on the synagogue’s efforts in the greater Portland area.

Although the rabbi is concerned about Portland’s homeless crisis, he is equally concerned about the growing number of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups in the region. He vividly recalls as a child his synagogue in Portland being desecrated with painted swastikas and anti-semantic hate messages.

The rabbi explained that in the 1980s, Oregon had a strong core of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups. White supremacist groups have been on the rise across the United States and specifically in Oregon over the past few years. Jewish and Muslim leaders in Portland are collaborating to protect their congregations from potential hate crimes.

Anti-Fascist (Antifa) groups have recently gained the headlines for their attacks on people during the marches of extremist groups, like Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys. Although I don’t condone street violence, I abhor any and all white supremacist, neo-Nazi or extremist group. I give my personal pledge to work with law enforcement, clerics and all residents to ensure we stop the hate, now and forever in our city.

Jack

How Do We Fix Portland’s Fiscal Incompetence?

Portland city government has a long and troubling history of grievous fiscal incompetence. Examples of our city’s fiscal malfeasance include:

  • The cost to build the Columbia Building tripled in cost from the initial design[1]!
  • The cost to build the Washington Park reservoir increased from $67 million to at least $205 million[2]!
  • The cost to build a new Portland water treatment plant increased from $500 million to $850 million, because the project estimate didn’t include the cost for the pipes to carry the water to or from the water treatment plant[3]

What is the Portland City Council doing to address fiscal incompetence? The Portland City Council has approved new rules that will reduce transparency in city contracting![4]

Citizens quickly lose confidence in any government that isn’t transparent. Fiscal oversight and transparency are essential for any business or government.

Fine, but what can a Portland City Commissioner do to fix fiscal malfeasance in city government? The Mayor assigns each City Commissioner a department(s) for which they are responsible and accountable.

Having lead business turnarounds and start-ups, I know it is essential to define performance expectations. Any financial proposal, should include the following steps:

  1. Draft proposal to the manager and in city government, the Commissioner.
  2. Commissioner meets with the team making the financial recommendation.
  3. Project and cost estimates are “peer reviewed” by independent experts in a meeting with the Commissioner. This is the time to find and correct oversights and improve the probability of a successful project.
  4. The proposal is revised, reviewed and approved by the Commissioner.
  5. The proposal is then reviewed in depth by the City Council, which must then approve or reject the recommendation.
  6. The contract of work clearly defines deliverables for each step of the projects with precise amounts to be paid for each deliverable in the project.
  7. The project team and the Commissioner continue to meet on a regular basis, until the project is completed.
  8. Project updates should be made available to the tax payers of Portland, that are funding the project.

These simple steps are fundamental in leading efficient businesses around the world. I will make transparent and fiscally responsible government my highest priority, if I am elected Portland City Commissioner in 2020.

Jack

 

 

[1] Rob Manning, OPB October 22, 2014, https://www.opb.org/contreibutor/rob-manning/

[2] Gordon R. Friedman, The Oregonian/OregonLive, “Costs to build Portland drinking water reservoir soar past expectations,” August 26, 2019.

[3] Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian/OregonLive, “Costs for Portland water treatment plant rise 70% — because planners now including pipes,” September 23, 2019.

[4] Gordon R. Friedman, The Oregonian/OregonLive, “Portland City Council Oks Less Oversight of Spending,” April 12, 2019.

SCIENTIST, EXECUTIVE, AUTHOR TARGETS PORTLAND CITY COUNCIL SEAT

Portland, OR (OCTOBER 2019)— Prior to filing, Tuesday, October 22nd for the Commissioner’s #4 seat, Jack Kerfoot spent several months listening to Portlanders’ opinions and concerns of the city.

Jack quickly learned that the people he met were frustrated with city government’s ineffectiveness at addressing our homeless crisis, reducing traffic fatalities and keeping our streets safe. Small business owners were concerned about the city’s relentless creation of new fees, which were causing businesses to close and contribute to recent rent increases. Many people were frustrated with the city’s inaction on a potential environmental disaster at the Zenith Oil Terminal, located a few hundred feet off the Willamette River.

A common theme in all of Jack’s meetings was the Portland City Council didn’t listen and more concerning, didn’t care about the voices of Portlanders. Jack says, “… These are serious issues, and they concern me. So, the question was, if not me, then who?

I will be a commissioner that will not make decisions in the isolation of City Hall but one who will listen and be out to meet with the community on their turf to hear the facts—to address their concerns head-on and this means the different communities across the city—I want to be the commissioner that is the voice of the people inside government.

I sincerely believe it’s time for change on the City Council—we need someone who understands that collaboration is essential to address critical issues like our homeless crisis and keeping our streets safe. We need someone who Is focused on our environment, appreciates the significant value that small businesses provide to our city and recognizes that fiscal transparency is imperative; if the City Council is to regain the trust of the community.”

 Jack Kerfoot is the Author of “Fueling America: An Insider’s Journey”, a former Energy Executive and Scientist. Jack welcomes dialog at his website and wants to hear the Portland voice.

 

https://www.JackKerfoot2020.com/voice

When Will Oregon Address Climate Change?

On October 17, 2019, I was proud to join other climate advocates to sign three ballot initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The summary of the three initiatives are as follows:

  1. 100% Clean Electricity By 2045 – All Oregon electric utilities will be required to generate power using only clean renewable energy (wind, solar, hydropower, etc.) by 2045.
  2. 100% Clean Electricity By 2045 + Electrification – All Oregon electric utilities will be required to make major investments in electrification resources that reduce climate pollution and save consumers money.
  3. 100% Clean Economy By 2050 – Updates and enforces Oregon’s existing carbon pollution limits that currently aren’t being met. It requires Oregon to cut its pollution in half by 2035 and to be 100% carbon-free by 2050.

What prompted the initiatives? When the state lawmakers were unable to pass a statewide cap-and-trade bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The bill was blocked when eleven Republican lawmakers walked out of the state senate, denying a quorum for a vote on the bill.

Are these climate targets feasible? Absolutely! In July 2019, Oregon utilities used renewable energy (54.3%), natural gas (39.9%) and coal (5.9%) to generate electricity across the state[1]. Oregon has significant undeveloped onshore and offshore wind, solar and geothermal resources which could be cost effectively developed to replace coal and natural gas power plants.

Oregon, it is time we come together to take real action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our state.

Jack

 

[1] United States Energy Information Administration – Oregon State Profile Energy Estimates July 2019.

Sex Trafficking Is Happening In Portland!

Human Trafficking in Portland? Yes! U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall and Portland State University reported that at least 469 children were victims of sex trafficking over a four-year period in the Portland Metropolitan Area[1]. 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[2] (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[3]. 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:

  • Raise the age to work in a strip club from 18 to 21.
  • Strip clubs hire exotic dancers as consultants, avoiding the responsibility of confirming the person’s age. If an exotic dancer is an employee of the strip club, the club becomes responsible if an under aged person is hired.
  • 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.

Jack

[1] https://wwwjustie.gov/usao-or/pr/hundreds-children-are-being-trafficked-sex-portland

[2] www.FASTNW.org

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

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