Sisters of the Road Community Organizer Patrick Nolen was given an achievement award by City Commissioner Nick Fish this afternoon, along with six others who have shown "tireless dedication to addressing and ending homelessness in our community."
"It's definitely Sisters that got this," said Nolen. "If it weren't for them believing in me and believing I could be more than just a guy who walks in and wants a meal..."
It was all very cordial, however: Nolen, along with several of his allies like Israel Bayer of Street Roots, is currently trying to persuade new housing commissioner Nick Fish to vote against the sit/lie law when it's revisited in the fall. Fish's will be the deciding vote, and if he votes for it to continue, he's likely to face a lot of angst in the homeless community. Then again, Fish took money from the pro-sit/lie Portland Business Alliance, and plenty of its members, during the election campaign. So he's sitting on the fence right now. Fish did tell the Mercury during his endorsement interview that he would have to "look at the numbers" before making a decision on the sit/lie. If it was being used to target a specific group, he said, then he'd have to vote against it.
Well, the evidence that the sit/lie is being used to target a specific group is pretty overwhelming, and Nolen has been among the most persistent advocates to point this out. Play nice, chaps. But figure it out.
Best quote of the afternoon, from Dennis Lundberg, who was awarded for his work with Janus Youth Programs: "I like to think I'm a lot more articulate out on the street talking about abscess infections, so I'll keep this brief."