|Isaiah, (Left) and Alex found support and a safe place at the PAL Youth Center|
The Portland Police Activities League announced that its Eastside youth center and its office at the Northeast police precinct, will close, Feb. 15. Based at Northeast 172nd at Glisan, the center served some of the poorest children and teens living in the Rosewood neighborhood of Gresham and in East Portland. The youth center served breakfast and lunch to 80-100 youth each day.
Longstanding financial troubles left the youth center with little money to effect crucial repairs. Last year, the league, whose board includes prominent law enforcement leaders, had to turn down an offer of $20,000 in financial help to repair its roof because matching funds were not immediately available. The leaks were repaired, but a press release from the league says financial difficulties remained.
The league recently parted ways with the center's popular director, Jay Williams, who had been an outspoken internal critic of the league's management. Williams now works for Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center.
The Beaverton youth center, located in a well maintained building owned by the City of Beaverton, will remain open, "for the time being." That's thanks to financial assistance from the City of Beaverton, who have funded the club for three months.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found one violation at the youth center: a missing plate over an electrical switch. An investigation into asbestos and mold problems in the building has not yet concluded.
The league released a statement saying,
"A series of events to include the on-going reduction of governmental funding and the economic times have placed the organization in the position to need to make this difficult decision.
Board Member Cliff Madison stated, "It is with great sadness that this wonderful program may have to close. It has made a great impact in the lives of many kids in our community and has taken down many of the walls between Cops, Kids and Community. It will be missed."
Read The Skanner News story about PAL's work with youth.