Dec 18, 2014|
AN INTERVIEW WITH BILL RUSSELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR WITH UNION GOSPEL MISSION, ABOUT THE WORK THEY DO FEEDING THE HOMELESS IN PORTLAND AND THEIR CHRISTMAS PLANS AT THE MISSION.
AN INTERVIEW WITH JOSH LEAKE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE PORTLAND FILM FESTIVAL ABOUT WHAT MOVIES WILL BE FEATURED, WORKSHOPS THAT ARE BEING OFFERED, AND NEW FEATURES FOR 2018.
AN INTERVIEW WITH BILL RUSSEL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE UNION GOSPEL MISSION ABOUT THE WORK THEY DO WITH THE HOMELESS AND ABOUT THEIR SEARCH AND RESCUE PROGRAM.
AN INTERVIEW WITH JOHN BISHOP, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OR THE OREGON STATE SHERIFF’S ASSOCIATION ABOUT THE WORK SHERIFF’S DO AROUND THE STATE.
AN INTERVIEW WITH MELISSA MILLER AND NICOLE VINCENT WITH EMPLOYMENT SOLUTIONS WITH UCP ABOUT HOW THEY HELP PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES GET JOBS AND HOW THEY HELP EMPLOYERS HIRE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
This is meant to scope and ever come radio Portland public affairs program I'm Gary blocks and in the holiday season is upon us in this hemisphere while we spend time of family and friends. It's also great time here to lend a helping hand and can help those less fortunate. And that's exactly what the union gospel mission is doing I'd like to welcome Bill Russell executive director of the union gospel mission to metals go either Phil Dick good to be on the greats. We'll have access I think most of our audience most everybody in Portland this heard about the union gospel mission but how about a quick history and how do you gun vault. Yeah I mean these emissions. Out out it's a lot older than I am it was started in 1927. I came along that years later in 89 but that's 25 years ago. And I'd been a prosecutor. And had to. Looked for alternatives to incarcerating people people were down and out a lot of the people you see in court. Have substance abuse problems or chess need treating it and do start. And eventually going to date prison chaplain C and that led me to union gospel mission. And so I became staff here in June of 89 and eventually became executive director I absolutely love it no regrets at all. So you've been there quite a long time must be very. Very reported. Yeah I think it's challenging I think the difference between being a prosecutor where you have fat paid. Witnesses and and work in the mission yet the same people we have imprisoned. Only gear maybe they have a weapon and they might be intoxicated and you know it is the you don't have guard throughout the world. Guys you really do learn to value people and showed dignity to them. And and he's the best in what is oftentimes a deeply broken life. What does the union gospel mission to here in Portland. Well the first thing we've always done is feed the hungry we do an average of about 625. Meals for the day. And then on special events including Thanksgiving Christmas we have. Huge meal at Thanksgiving. Alone will do about 15100 meals we set up by a 120 foot tapped. Out on the street and it's the largest Thanksgiving Day meal for the course single seeding in Portland. That's a significant amount of people. Yeah ideas and you know the way we do that is they don't go through a line everybody gets served that they're drink and served there appetizer and served their dinner. Because again you have a lot of people who. Are are really. Looking for what dignity they have in this life and and we want to add. Attitude not at all minimize. The fact that god creates everybody and they're worthy of celebration and a time for giving thanks just like we are. Don't of the people that to help come from or they've are they generally local people are. They are. There's you hear a few trips to inspect. A lot of them don't wanna stay in Portland when it's. Rainy and cold they'll both take off for warmer climates. But most of the people I've talked to 125 years I've been here grew up from Portland or in this area. And we we never wanna hear kids are loved ones in this situation where. They need help with a free meal but life happens and how a lot of people. Who never thought they'd be here either through economic two rats war. Different medical problems or maybe we have the substance abuse problem and up on the streets and in the need and hopefully provide. Are you finding that the new new gospel mission is helping more people these things. Yes since 2009. We saw big spike I mean there are a number of us who had hoped that there would be a ten year plan and then homelessness funded by the government that would. Alleviated I had actually never thought it would end homelessness does it could greatly reduce that end and for the short term it did that but. The metrics of this economy eventually caught up without playing and in the end their more homeless people on the streets now than ever. We do kind of see the economy turning around here for some people can yeah. Yeah and I I think the homeless segment is allowed to benefit from not. They're the least flexible they don't have a real flexible skills. In in that slow economy. And so you know while we hope for the best that we do a lot of job readiness training we have work program here and in our life change that is outstanding we were very high unemployment rate post graduation. But it takes awhile to get there and again. Someone needs to make heroic efforts to. To readied themselves to. Thrive in this kind of economy. The trickle down happens that it takes a long time yeah and I think I think our our people are about the last two experiences. So bill can you tell us a little bit about what's going on for Christmas that the union gospel mission. Well at Christmas we have a bunch of things going on the first ball at our. Limited children's center around Beaverton we're gonna have any extraordinary. Christmas party reps for Christmas what I mean by that is we have a woman who is a shaft in the Napa Valley highly trained and she's commit duke. An extraordinary meal for the women and kids out there like they've never seen before I don't know about you. But it just excites me. To think of kids. Eating a meal that they've never even imagined in their lives and yeah if that is just so good. So that's going to be happening. Down at the mission we had eight. Fabulous I mean extraordinary Beaverton foursquare church. Has been an extraordinary. Christmas program. For opt out fifteen years now a pastor named Rick Helling and started it if it is a basic. So that's going on and that we have our. Another homeless meal Christmas morning a brunch. And at that bridge between. 10 in the morning and two in the afternoon will serve. Somewhere around five this 700. Meal. To really nice Christmas brunch and with that everyone will get a gift. Some type to take away that that will help them pay you don't have to be without this Christmas. And so I'm always excited about that the Christmas meal. All doubt with the regular. You know what we get cold weather this time of the year we end up doing emergency now take shelter and that's that's always you know 700 people stay in extra overnight is is a challenge. I I always hope and pray. That we get a little bit of space. We're we're not doing emergency now Rachel to write act Christmas book for the sake of the homeless. There's no one wants to be. You know driven in cope with extreme cold weather are that time of the year. But also that we have some will be fabulous Christmas parties it's it's just to scratch. If we I have to boy and the ball went on with emergency shelter but we're here to be that whatever that. Kept or gets down below 38 degrees we're gonna open up on itself. Yeah if it into a pocket poll that asks you end up with a lot of exhausted people come about February 1. How badly did some cold nights around here. Yeah we do and it's good I mean that the care. That people provide debt of people it's it's stunning and again port lenders are so. Generous that whether it's Christmas and providing. Celebration meal and people come down a voluntary. Or whether or not it's just. People. Providing gifts or or. To be a generous throughout the holiday season we've done I've had a 125 years and it's just. Stunning how good people are to the poor so. I actually look forward BK you know when you think about it Christmas is this season and giving. And so I get to see it. From the standpoint of all the donors and all the volunteers. And all the people. Who have come off the streets helping the people who are still on the streets and there are a lot of so I think a lot of goodwill I mean it's it's like Christmas Carol. You know god bless the faucet tiny Tim ice it every year. That's great. Are you looking for any volunteers this Christmas he's. Yeah we edited the whole Christmas do you send we can use almost service volunteers. For the Christmas. Bryant who we might still have a few spots available we used about a hundred volunteers. And that whole operation. And again there's preparation before the doors open at 10 o'clock and then they're clean up after they close at 2 o'clock. So it. If people want a voluntary check out all our volunteer opportunities as we have a lot of volunteer needs they can call us sit on those 32744483. Or they did go on our web site at www. You cheat and I'm not. You answered union cheese and gospel Emmons admission. UGM Portland dot ORG and our volunteer. Opportunities to volunteer art there on the web site. Besides volunteering him I would assume you couldn't accept a bunch of donations what would put a good things that people can donate to stay here. This this Christmas weekend. Use. Premiums for Christmas morning. We can use. They you know he did given the fact that that were we're talking about Christmas rape before Christmas. It's probably true that we already got all the gifts. For the children who were then is not the women slight change that are out Beaverton we've probably got all the gifts already. And I can't check right now about it I'm I'm sure we're all done giving gifts for the united children I'm a man in a life change program their kids. But. You know we're gonna need to funds to go through the winner and we can always use a Christmas gift from people who will help us with. Whatever. Utility costs are staff costs were gonna have to keep people safe and warm throughout the water. And we are definitely sticks around be on the holidays. It does you know I I think the toughest smog here is February I really do. You know sometimes we just get that cold snap in January but it. Maybe it's just that we're tired of that by February it's not charming so by the time rolls around it's this Christmas please think about sin and if you can make a generous here and get to lessons its party you're only giving we will we'll put it to previous. The bill beyond the holidays what are the services does the union gospel mission provide. Well I mentioned before we have eighty. A recovery community college life change can. We call it a community because it's more than just eight program. You know programming implies that a provider is going to help you with the a special set of skills that will. In this sense get you. Some kind of skills or educational curriculum that you need and Ed programs are great period. To some extent a little bit what we do is is in the program mode. But we are. The life change community is is do you need to. Opportunity. For people to commit to work together. Every one who comes in the life changed its society job right away and so again we don't start their time giving back on their feet in a classroom. They blatant spiritual formation. Where it had not made education and but a big part of it is pulling together and learning how to help one another because when when they get. Guys are done with the community and they go back into. Independent Libyan aircraft and ought to make good choices. And the people are gonna have to know how to. And now with the right people that's that's a big part of it choices. And so what we can start that right away and say come on you know. I'd join the community learn how to work as a team. And and it but in doing so they differ the cost of their recovery. And they learned skills that are absolutely essential so I put the light changed together. Programs together would with. Davos shell and Clint Sampson smother people over the years and I'm really happy. With how it's working it's it's I think it's amazing but then again I'm not pounders so so you know why wouldn't I think it's made of course it's amazing. Do you see a lot of Dixon come through the recent. We do I would say that these you know may be our third of the people that come to us for help conduit for help because they're struggling with mental illness. And there is a portion of people who come to position for help who. Art just packed culturally. Loners and and they don't sit and regular society and and you know they they. In depth bounce around on the streets but a good number of people and it's sad. Has had a life controlling addictions since they were very young I think the average age of starting substance abuse among our. Recovery residence is about. Twelve or thirteen years old then and so. Most people can't imagine. You know drinking at such a young new Ager you know we have a guy who is using methamphetamine. Toyota. I peace record of him that goes back to California and and he was he was only thirteen years old when he started use of heavy drugs and and that. That prevents you from growing up normally. And it prevents normal development and in its twilight change has to be expensive. We ask most of the residents in the life change community to live with us for two or three years so they can change all their core beliefs and their Abbott loop and and work on spiritual formation so we know they're fully forgiven and they have up to hold a fresh start lives and that's where works I mean fresh start served great today. Absolutely. Absolutely. Besides addictions what are some of the other causes of homelessness. I think you know a gale we we referred to. The current economic crisis. We'll probably see more more people. Who since 2009. Just fell through the cracks they may have had a a medical emergency. And where as certain catastrophic illnesses if you don't have enough insurance. You can end up losing everything. And there we had those people it's it's really heartbreaking but it's real and we also have people who were in the Foster care system early on in they have attachment disorder they've never really bonded. To anyone before and so will pick them up maybe it 3035. Years of agents and kind of going back over the basic and have human relationships and how to trust another person and again how to work as a team and but you know that the big presenting problems that was a bearded man. And then most everyone we meet at some point whether it's be ended minutes or. Early substance abuse underlying cause is. A personal life trauma and so you know world word. PT SB is a good posttraumatic stress disorder is is a big issue for us and them part of of what we. Have learned to deal when it went individuals who come to us. We've heard lots of stories of people that never imagined that they can pay themselves to be homeless and and then they find themselves in that situation. It's true you know we've had. We've we've had our hands and other professionals. We had for years a million lives here at the mission. Who is a lawyer in New York City and under stress. He had an emotional breakdown and and he would be. Great and touch of a valuable asset really a bright guy and then other days he really didn't know we will and so you help the mental illness. Maybe to some extent I've come to believe that with myself and everybody. We all have some breaking point dirt issue where we can before OPEC can and be afraid of the things that. Maybe other people would consider abnormal but. You know there there there are things in life that consent. Even the most solid looking people on on a particularly those who don't have a strong feeling in a safety net there. They can end up going farther downhill than they ever dreamed. So how about some success stories can you need relates and say success stories with us. Oh yeah you know one of one of my favorite stories isn't story about a kid named Dan and he was pretty scholarships student at university of Santa Barbara. And on college. He was he'd been a science nerd most of the fly different there's some science nerds listening out there who know what I mean. He didn't he never really party nice school it was it was all about getting good grades and getting a scholarship. When he got on college campus he started experimenting with drugs and it. Just took him down. The rabbit hole he went that way for him to. Methamphetamine is down in the Los Angeles area. Ended up been in jail. And there was a kid in the jail. Who had spent a short time with the disappearance and left way before he completed the community protocol and he ended up in jail them and he said boy Sid did that big. The kid. This chair Barbara. Scholarship kids. He was saying that man I get it turned my life for around in the other kids could go up to Portland to a life change. And he came up to his death was actually a prosecutor as I've been a prosecutor so we go along real well. But he came up here and he did so outstanding on our program he's married. You know he went from from just that train wreck Goliath stories raising kids worked at a job and just do an outstanding. And he you'll have to see that you know you love to see people who are basically a drain on society become a tremendous assets. In society I love it I don't know about anybody else but I is that's what gets me up in the morning. Absolute limits make you'll lose your love your job. Absolutely. We have another woman. And she. I had a boyfriend who murdered her son I and most of us can't even imagine anything like that I mean she did that so unthinkable. But her response to that was two. Self medicate yourself with substance abuse. And ADT register guard wrote an article about her call her the worst criminal in Oregon and right again. I can't imagine what it would be like to be identified. On the front page of a fun day. Paper you know probably the second largest paper in Oregon. Being called the worst criminal but. Her. Are there she got up here are her parole officers say you know this woman's got a ton of potential. And senator up to us and we took her pitch he. Is doing fabulously should got a great child she's out she's been an asset to. Her church and in people in the community and you know she's done with it and I love that I loved that story is there's hope in their parents were listening to microscope today who may be wonder if there's any hope for their kids there is hope. It's a long battle but you know the sooner they start to get help the quicker people can get help and that's why I'm glad the mission's been here. In it you know in Portland since 1927. We've been at this same location on third avenue since 1938. So people know where to get help and we're just pleased to have them come down to join us and get that help. Because it helps all of us when they get help. Yeah for sure and just make society a better place. Yeah yeah they caught a whole lot less a pain that I it's. Helping people who are. You don't down and out is is extreme medically. And then government only it's just. If it's extreme we pay a lot to avert taught to our hospitals. In our reach to cover up for the people who go in there and and take emergency services in the ER campaign had done it. And that's still hasn't changed as of yet. But hopefully it'll be changing soon poetry. If 11 can only hope that you have some people they you've helped out come back and help you do they work in unison. About a third of our staff have come through. Gone out gotten other jobs. Russell Kirk went down to hurricane Katrina and worked and in that relief and then came back I was a property manager. And then he got the potential we could actually come back to be a counselor. And he would he came off the street I didn't know he's gonna make it do you think guys that it just was just so far gone I thought boy. I don't know what they're doing an intake anymore and now he's through the whole process and he's a fabulous counselor and a great assets so. That that's good deceit people and then. We we have some of the people. That have been through the process come back and volunteer. And I love that no I just love to an impeachment clocks. Or passion on to those who were going through the process of undisputed finding their lives again to help out. You know just come back and and help out some hope. Pay enough forward nuts that's great yeah yeah. Absolutely something you mostly work with men's and troop. No we have women and children that are out in Beaverton. We have eighteen families send their right now and that is phenomenal work its. It's been a bit short and you know. I think it if you have men and come off the street you can cobble that together into a program. And they become a band of Brothers and start working together real quickly. And it it it's really good. And it it's not all that complicated. But you know you can't women with kids and all of a sudden he got those kids and you go look at their needs. And if it's that that becomes a lot more complicated a lot quicker if you know what I mean and so. We need extra staffing at our weapons that are Beaverton. Eight I wouldn't it change we opened that chatter about a year ago. Because some other places that helped women with kids had closed in Portland. We did it in an emergency. And because that's how or wired Evan we're just wired to get help to where it's needed. It's been a tremendous sacrifice but I have absolutely no regrets doing it. I mean it's been one of the most rewarding things to go in there concede those kid it's every time I go out there executed. Whose senate seat healing environment where he had been in or she had been at a pretty dangerous situation. So I don't know what could be more rewarding them and though I love it. New findings some success in breaking that cycle. Yeah absolutely. You know there are a lot of people who are highly motivated if you give him a chance. Two move off the streets and into a new life and those are the people we just don't know it Pakistan can I do everything you can't help. Let's pray they hope you have a great and fantastic holiday season. Thank you appreciate it Bill Russell executive director union gospel mission thanks again for beyond McChrystal today scary doctor. Yeah microscopes and Entercom communications public affairs program. My name's Gary and if you have a nonprofit or public affairs organization that you'd like to let others know about you can email me at metro Scopes @entercom.com. Remember inter com starts of the need for you can go directly to the station's website click on the community link and submit your information there. Also we like to hear this program again you can visit our podcast page at microscope PDX dot com. Thanks for listening to microscope and enjoy your weekend.