Tour stop included visit to day shelter for homeless women, violence prevention discussion, and community festival
Portland, OR—Today, Governor Tina Kotek and First Lady Aimee Kotek Wilson visited Multnomah County for the ninth stop of her One Oregon Listening Tour.
“Returning to Multnomah County today provided an opportunity to hear from people doing the work on the ground to address homelessness, improve community safety, and promote culturally specific services and celebration,” Governor Kotek said. “Our goal on each trip is to get a sense of the day-to-day barriers Oregon communities face to serve people who need help. Today, I came away with a sense of urgency to ensure the state is a strong partner with community-based organizations and regional leaders, and I also appreciated how joy and celebration go hand in hand with progress.”
The Governor and First Lady started the day with a tour of the Rose Haven Day Shelter and Community Center in Northwest Portland. Rose Haven has been a day shelter and community center for more than 20 years, serving women, children and gender non-conforming individuals who are experiencing trauma because of abuse, homelessness, and other disruptive life challenges.
Following the tour, she heard from local nonprofits who are on the frontlines of serving individuals experiencing homelessness in Portland. The conversation focused on the increased severity of mental health needs since the start of the pandemic, filling the gaps in the state health care system, and how to develop more consistent resources for the services that Rose Haven and others provide. The day shelter routinely serves more than a 100 women daily.
Next, the Governor and First Lady traveled to the Rockwood neighborhood of Gresham for a working lunch to discuss community safety efforts. The conversation centered around the East Metro Outreach, Prevention and Intervention (EMOPI) program, including partners like the Portland Activities and Athletics League and POIC/Healing Hurt People. These programs work with thousands of young people to support activities outside of school and prevent violence.
In 2021, the Oregon Legislature invested $2 million to assist the City of Gresham and local community partners in creating and implementing the program. These investments aimed to address rising youth violence and improve public safety outcomes in East Multnomah County by building community and investing in mentoring and culturally responsive youth programming.
Governor Kotek and the First Lady then joined a ground blessing event nearby for La Plaza Esperanza, the future permanent home for Latino Network. She delivered remarks at the event, focused on the importance the space will have in building community. Since 1996, Latino Network has provided a wide range of culturally specific services to the Latino community in the Portland-Metro area. La Plaza Esperanza will provide Latino Network’s first in-house preschool, offering free, culturally-specific early childhood education.
The day concluded with the Governor and First Lady joining the New Year in the Park event at Glenhaven Park in Northeast Portland. The event is one of the largest and most important cultural festivals in multiple Southeast Asian countries including Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar, and the mission of the festival is to promote community engagement and awareness for Southeast Asian culture. The Governor and First Lady enjoyed food from Myanmar, received a blessing from a community member, and spoke with local vendors throughout the venue.