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Update on Catholic Charities of Oregon’ Investigation into Illegal Activity at Kenton Women’s Village

Posted by | Deacon Rick Birkel

Portland, Oregon / November 17, 2017

Catholic Charities of Oregon has completed the investigation of the incidents reported to us on November 6th and November 10th. Of the three incidents reported, we have concluded there was no illegal activity or violation.

In contrast to what was assumed to be illegal activity, what we actually found was the day-to-day comings and goings of visitors and frequent interactions among friends and acquaintances; within and around a normal, healthy and busy village. We believe it is important for the villagers at Kenton Women’s Village (KWV) to maintain their friendships, social networks, and engagement with a broader community.

We are dismayed by the immediate assumption of guilt and misconduct that was promoted by the allegation received on November 10th.  We are further disappointed that the accusations and swift promotion of them only served to further the stigma of houselessness across the neighborhood and broader community. During our investigation we learned that the women of KWV are deeply hurt by this.  They are working extremely hard to earn and maintain the trust and respect of the neighborhood. They are proud of their village, thankful to be there, and they feel undermined by these baseless and stigmatizing claims.

Beyond this point, we look forward to deepening our collaboration with the Kenton Neighborhood Association, the Joint Office of Homeless Services, the City of Portland and Portland Police, the Village Coalition, and with the women of village. We will follow up to raise the formational questions of a village like this, such as self-governance, program participation, and the physical structures of the village.

Press Release Contact:

James Howell
Catholic Charities of Oregon
Clark Family Center – 2740 SE Powell Boulevard, Portland, OR 97202
(503) 688-2620 (direct) / Email: JHowell@ccoregon.org

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