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Council action puts domestic violence resources, center in the spotlight

Resolution, report and grant request to be consider Wednesday

More than 2,000 people have visited the Gateway Center for Domestic Violence Service since it opened last September.

According to a report to be presented Wednesday to the City Council, most of the visitors have been women between the ages of 19 and 49. Services they received included help applying for 557 restraining orders and referrals for housing, legal and mental health assistance.

In addition, 750 children received therapeutic child care, according to the report.

An estimated 28,000 people are victims of domestic violence each year. The center is one-stop shop for such victims and their children. It houses a variety of service providers to make it easier for them to receive a variety of services under one roof.

The center is on Southeast Burnside at the 102nd Avenue MAX stop. The city pays for much of its operation, including its $440,000 annual operating budget. The city also paid about $600,000 to refurbish the facilities.

Half the assaults in the city

The council is scheduled to accept the one-year report at its first meeting in October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. A resolution scheduled to be heard by the council recognizing the designation says 'domestic violence touches the lives of Portlanders of all ages, leaving a devastating impact on women, men, and children of every background and circumstance.'

It also says 'domestic violence accounts for approximately half the assaults in the city of Portland.'

The council is also scheduled to consider providing $41,720 in one-time funds to match $83,155 from Multnomah County to implement a federal grant for a one-year pilot program to have domestic violence crisis intervention advocates work with the Portland Police Bureau on evenings and weekends.

The center was championed over the years by City Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen. Saltzman began arguing that family related services should be concentrated at one easy-to-reach location when he served on the County Commission in the 1990s. He continued working on it after being elected to the City Council in 1998, where Cogen served on his staff. Cogen worked on it again after being elected to the commission in 2006 and becoming county chair in 2010.

'Domestic violence has hurt too many lives already. The Gateway Center is the product of our community stepping forward and helping families before tragedy occurs,' Saltzman said at the opening ceremony for the center, which included remarks from Cogen, Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and Portland Congressman Earl Blumenauer.