Sunday, October 12, 2008

1 Year Anniversary of the PFZ lift - Press Conference

(Video of Press Conference shot by Chris Lancefield - thank you)

On September 30, 2008 – we held a press conference to commemorate and commiserate on the 1 year anniversary of Mayor Potter & the City Council’s abandonment of the Prostitution Free Zone (PFZ) ordinance. Charles Lewis who is running for City Council joined us and is a great supporter of our efforts and of our communities.

Montavilla In Action volunteers have been gathering petition signatures all summer long from concerned residents who have witnessed the deterioration of their neighborhoods in less than 1 year after City Council’s abandonment of the highly effective PFZ ordinance. The residents demand that the PFZ be reinstated as soon as possible, now more than ever after hearing the Mayor’s new proposal (released September 11. 2008) on how the City now plans to address this complex crime. .MIA realize that the City’s new efforts will take buy in, approval of funds and more importantly time, they eagerly await these solutions, but ask that the PFZ be added as part of the immediate tools to restore safety & livability in their neighborhoods.

Following up from a very successful community “March to Reclaim 82nd Avenue”, Montavilla In Action (MIA) is holding a press conference at Montavilla Park (NE 82nd + NE Glisan) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 at 11:00am. This date marks the one year anniversary of the Mayor & the City Council’s unfortunate abandonment of the PFZ ordinance 1 year ago that day.
At the heart of Montavilla In Action’s efforts is their Petition to Reinstate the PFZ (see attachment of petition) in addition to other tools the City is now working to develop. MIA urges all to first look back on the history of prostitution in Portland and thoughtfully ask why so many neighborhoods are now in such dire straits less than one year after the PFZ was dropped. The PFZ was a highly effective tool that should be included as part of the solution to stem the current crisis in conjunction with other tools, including strong sanctions directed at the johns.

MIA will present its “Petition to Reinstate the PFZ” to Portland City Council to commemorate the 1-year anniversary of its abandonment. The five key reasons for reinstating the PFZ are:

>>1. The research that the Mayor cited when lifting the ordinance did not even mention “prostitution” once, in the entire 18 pg doc it was lumped with the issues surrounding DFZ's enforcement. **

>>2. According to the Neighborhood Response TEAM (NRT) - calls regarding prostitution have quadrupled since last year this time. Cause & Effect - Zone is gone = crime has grown considerably & taken roots

>>3. We the citizens around 82nd Ave are having our safety compromised each & every day (read our blog to hear comments from your neighbors: how neighborhood women are being harassed, neighborhood young girls are being propositioned in daylight).
>>4. Crime from all over is coming to 82nd – it is well documented that the women are being trafficked from Seattle, LA and beyond to work on the avenue due to our laxed laws. Johns from all over the State & WA state are coming to our neighborhoods. Pimps & organized crime are turning our streets into a deadly turf war.
>>5. Until the city’s real solutions are in effect we need to immediately stem the crime that has taken over our communities.

Montavilla In Action urges elected City Leaders to please act quicker. When the City Council lifted the PFZ last September 2007 – “real solutions” were coming per the Mayor & Randy Leonard, unfortunately the residents have only seen that “real” & dangerous organized crime that has quickly moved in instead and that took advantage of the weak laws and enforcement of the crime here in Portland. Montavilla In Action sent a rebuttal (attached) to the Mayor’s new proposal on September 12, 2008 and is still awaiting his response.

Prostitution Free Zones do not solve the problem of prostitution. Nor are they suppose to, they do help citizens reclaim their neighborhoods, however, and that in itself is a solution to the problems plaguing many in our city. If making an area safer and more livable isn't the purpose of these ordinances, MIA don't know what is. If years of experience and statistics aren't showing that this ordinance helped to keep this problem in check in areas where they'd otherwise run rampant, we all know too well that this is in fact true, since the residents are currently in the crossfire of this new turf war because the zone is simply now gone.

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