For the past twenty years our region has experienced the continuous displacement of people of color, due largely to gentrification and housing discrimination. The trend has been relentless: our communities are more highly segregated by income and by race with each passing year. Safeguards to discrimination and segregation as mandated by the Fair Housing Act are largely ignored. The same goes with directives issued by our local housing authorities. Worse yet, local options for addressing the many obstacles to fair housing are limited by state legislation, passed in 1999, that favors wealthy developers, leads to concentrated poverty, and contradicts Fair Housing standards.
A crucial step is being taken toward establishing more fair and equitable housing options in Oregon. A coalition of organizations, of which OPAL is a part, is working to repeal the ban on inclusionary zoning. Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) refers to city planning strategies that require new development to include affordable housing units. The current ban means that communities cannot use this tool to address their local housing needs. Research shows that new affordable housing units are nearly always located in census tracts of the lowest income levels, essentially barring low-income families from access to good schools, centers of employment, and healthy communities. Ours is one of only two states in the country to forbid the use of IZ in land use planning; the other being Texas. This is a distinction we need to remove ourselves from. Oregon House Bill 2890 would return local control to communities by allowing them to propose that inclusionary zoning principles be a part of their planning efforts.
Why is OPAL concerned? Fair Housing is an integral part of Environmental Justice. Where we live determines the quality of the air we breath, the transportation options we have, the work and educational opportunities that are available to us. We need to ensure that people of all income levels are able to access housing that promotes their health and well-being. For a visual representation on how IZ can combat housing discrimination and concentrated poverty, take a minute to view this presentation.
Wednesday, March 13th:
East Portland Housing Justice Workshop: Peace Church of the Brethren, 12727 SE Market @6 PM
TriMet Line #71
Thursday, March 14th:
Rally at the Capital! A bus is being coordinated to transport folks who want to attend. Check back for pickup location and expect a full day (8:30am-4:00pm).
Help OPAL build power for Environmental Justice & Civil Rights in our communities by coming out to our 1st Saturday of the Month Organizing Day
BRU members about to go out organizing
WHEN: Saturday, February 2nd, 11am–2pm
WHERE: Meet at the OPAL office
2407 SE 49th Avenue, Portland, Or. 97206
On Bus Lines # 4, 14, 71
RSVP AT: 503-342-8910 or firstname.lastname@example.org Food and bus tickets will be provided
Are you interested in learning how to organize? Wondering how you can become involved in advocating for improved bus service? Are you transit dependent or know someone who’s been affected by service cuts and fare hikes? Come join us this Saturday! You’ll meet members of your community, learn how to organize, and feel empowered.
We have organizing days every 1st Saturday of the month, but don’t wait until next month – come join other members of your community this Saturday.
The East Portland Bus Stop Project focuses on creating opportunities for meaningful involvement in transit decision making and increases awareness of connectivity issues between bus and pedestrian transit. This is a community driven project focusing on areas around: SE 82nd, SE 122nd, Stark, Powell, Foster, Division and Halsey.
If you live in East Portland, we want YOU to be involved!
Thank you to those who were able to join us this last Saturday at Bar Carlo in SE Portland for an intimate holiday celebration. We were able to show our successes of the year in a Prezi presentation, highlighting the dedication and tenacity of our Bus Riders Unite members in 2012 to stand up to historic fare hikes and service cuts on buses.
This year also brought us Adela’s Journey, a documentary about a Portland bus rider that Lead Organizer Hector Osuna filmed and produced. Take a moment to watch it, whether it’s for the first time for the upteenth time, because Adela’s experience is at the heart of OPAL’s work.
OPAL staff and Bus Riders Unite leaders have been organizing transit-dependent riders for the past three years. It is only because of this dedication to grassroots organizing that we have been able to bring the voices of transit riders to the table to influence transportation decisions and to hold TriMet accountable.
Our successes are due to the belief that a community that speaks for itself can best protect itself.
We will continue to build power for environmental justice and civil rights in our communities. OPAL is on an ambitious plan for 2013 and our continued growth, success and influence is made possible by the support of grassroots donors such as you.
Join OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon as we celebrate the end of 2012 together as a community! We’ll be showing “Adela’s Journey”, a short documentary created by OPAL organizer Hector Osuna about a Portland bus rider, as well as a photo recap of our biggest successes this year. We have much to celebrate as we close out 2012 and look forward to a strong, unified and organized new year.
Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a no-host cash bar, and a raffle for fun prizes alongside OPAL members, board, staff and supporters. Suggested $20 donation at the door includes (1) drink ticket. We will have a small silent auction featuring great packages such as a VIP table for 10 to 80′s Video Dance Attack at the Crystal Ballroom, an VIP wine tour and tasting for 4 at the SE Wine Collective and more! You won’t want to miss this great chance to support OPAL this year.
Please remember to bring your checkbooks to continue to support OPAL’s work in 2013.
“Adela’s Journey” is a short documentary created by OPAL’s Community Organizer Hector Osuna. Adela rides the #4, East Portland’s only frequent service east-west line, to her 5am hotel shift in downtown Portland. What thoughts do you have after watching? Share in the comments below.
Join the Movement for Transit Justice in Portland!
Tuesday, August 14
6:00 – 8:00 PM
(food will be available starting at 5:30)
2407 SE 49th Avenue, Portland, OR 97206
On Bus Lines: 4, 14, and 71
Please RSVP by August 13: 503-928-4354 or email@example.com
Participate in our monthly membership meeting to learn more about OPAL and BRU, get updates on our projects and training opportunities, and become a leader in your own community. Food, Spanish interpretation and childcare will be provided.
Wednesday, August 1
Food @ 5:30 PM
Film Screening @ 6:00 PM
OPAL Office: 2407 SE 49th Ave
Bus Lines: 4, 14, and 71
Bus Riders Union is a riveting documentary that tells the story of the early years of the Bus Riders Union in Los Angeles, an organization that has led the fight for transit justice in LA and around the country for nearly 20 years. The LA BRU is a close partner of OPAL, and served as a model for the formation of Bus Riders Unite. The film screening will be followed by a discussion of what we can learn from the experiences of the LA BRU to further strengthen our own local movement for transit justice. Email Hector firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at 503-928-4354 to RSVP and to get more information about this event.
As OPAL and Bus Riders Unite celebrate our accomplishments from our organizing around the TriMet budget–including $1 million for a discount ticket program for low-income riders –we also need to start planning and strategizing our priorities for the coming months.
A lot of different ideas have been suggested, including a campaign for an elected or locally appointed TriMet board, as well as establishing a Transit Equity Committee made of transit-dependent riders to hold TriMet accountable. Please join us at our next membership meeting to share your thoughts about Bus Riders Unite’s next steps:
Bus Riders Unite Membership Meeting
Tuesday, July 17 (6pm-8pm)
OPAL Office, 2407 SE 49th Avenue (off Division),
On Bus Lines #4, 14, and 71
Food, childcare, and Spanish translation will be provided. Food is served at 5:30pm, so please come early so you can get settled in. Please RSVP (email@example.com) so we can plan accordingly and expect your participation.
This summer, we’ll be working with our awesome Summer Organizers-in-Training to do our East Portland Bus Stop Project. We want to hear your thoughts and ideas to keep Bus Riders Unite moving forward. Please join us Tuesday, July 17!