Fairview officials, particularly Mayor Mike Weatherby, deserve credit for addressing head-on the problems that accompany subsidized housing in the community.
Fairview, like most East County cities, has its share of apartments run by the Housing Authority of Portland. The Oak and Woods housing complex, which provide affordable homes to 328 low-income families, has been a concern for city officials because of the number of police calls coming from the neighborhood. But rather than simply rail against the idea of subsidized housing in his city, Weatherby has taken the more constructive approach of urging the housing authority to improve security at the apartments.
In January, the housing authority installed $30,000 worth of security cameras at Oak and Woods and the cameras are proving to be beneficial to police, who can view the video footage from their station. Weatherby is also pushing for a Fairview resident to sit on the housing authority's board of directors, a move that seems appropriate given the authority's large presence in Fairview.
Beyond those steps, the authority also is planning physical upgrades at the apartments and is asking Fairview for permission to launch an Opportunity Housing Initiative, which pairs increased rent assistance for low-income people with additional resources, such as case managers.
These changes ought to make the apartments safer and more comfortable for all. While crime has been a definite issue, most of the people who live at Oak and Woods are law-abiding. They are as much a part of Fairview as any other citizen. Improving their quality of life will, by definition, improve livability for all of Fairview.