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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hacienda CDC uses public funds, creates private towaway zone on public property

Based in NE Portland in the Cully neighborhood, Hacienda Community Development Corporation has provided services to low-income and immigrant populations for years, but under its current leadership has taken a bizarre turn where Predatory Towing and affordable housing and community building intersect.
No apartment landlord in NE Portland is responsible for more towed vehicles than Hacienda, allowing commission-paid tow truck drivers employed by Retriever and Sergeant's to jack-at-will among the tenants of Hacienda's publicly-funded apartment properties.
In 2006 alone, Hacienda CDC's Cully neighborhood apartments generated 155 tows for Retreiver and Sergeants, more than all of the other apartment complexes in the area added together.
Meanwhile, Hacienda relocated its staff offices to 5140 NE 42nd Street, where--with Bertha Ferran's juice as Chair of Hacienda's Board and as a member of the Portland Development Commission's Board of Directors--Hacienda solved a parking shortage by claiming a section of public sidewalk as its own private parking area.
They posted signs along the sidewalk stating "Hacienda parking only--Violators will be towed," and claimed the entire section of public right of way for their own.
The signs Hacienda posted are illegal, and no one can be lawfully towed from there.
These signs exist merely to deter the public and the neighbors from parking there, and Hacienda staff and board members surely realize this. No landlord in NE Portland is deeper into towing than Hacienda, after all.
The other thing about these phony Hacienda towaway zone signs is the fact that they provide no information about who has your car if you were to be towed. There is no one to call but the police--and that means your tax dollars at work, baby.
To sum up: Hacienda CDC is the patrol towers' number one cash cow in the NE Cully neighborhood. Hacienda CDC contracts with Retriever and Sergeant's for that business.
But where Hacienda CDC offices on NE 42nd street, where their business and residential neighbors have to live with what parking is available, Hacienda CDC claims public property for its own and has custom-made signs proclaim it so.
So why didn't Hacienda contract with either of its towing predators to keep its NE 42nd sidewalk clear?
You'll have to ask Bertha Ferran and the Hacienda staff about that one.
Here's an excerpt from the Hacienda CDC website:
"Hacienda’s mission work in Oregon takes place at the dynamic interplay of collaboration, imagination, generosity and resourcefulness with our partners at the federal, state, city and private sectors. Together we boast an impressive list of accomplishments, including the development of over 325 units of affordable housing serving over 1,200 predominantly Latino residents in northeast Portland; the start up of a community-based credit union; the development of a primary healthcare clinic serving the un/under-insured; and three other community centers whereby a vast array of culturally-appropriate instruction and social services are provided daily."

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