‘Resource Fair’ tries to connect people with services

Take a look at this unusual outdoor event, which helped outer East Portland connect with government and nonprofit services …

Just west of the Lents neighborhood, representatives from government bureaus and nonprofit organizations wait for visitors to arrive – to provide them with valuable information at a “Resource Fair”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It isn’t unusual for organizations to hold ‘resource fairs’ – but, holding such an event outdoors on November 20, was a bold concept. Fortunately, it didn’t rain; but the sun did little to warm the chilly breeze that swept through the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood.

The parking lot of the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) Outer Southeast Branch, just west of SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, was closed off, and tables were set up for representatives from 22 State of Oregon and City of Portland agencies – as well as folks from local nonprofit organizations – all ready to provide information and referrals to services at the fair.

ODHS partnered with the newly-renamed Portland Office of Community & Civic Life, and the Portland Bureau of Transportation, in presenting the Resource Fair. However, when asked, lead representatives of all three host organizations declined to speak with East Portland News about the fair.

Several representatives of guest organizations at the event did speak with us at the fair, however, and agreed that they understood its purpose was to provide information and resources available to ODHS clients and neighbors, and were happy to be invited to present.

Nathaly Pretell, a Worksource Portland Metro “Worksource Navigator”, helps a guest learn about employment programs.

“This is great; I’ve gotten good information about getting a job, and being safe during an earthquake,” said attendee Janelle Jackson. “I’m so glad I found out about this.”

Although attendance at the fair appeared to be light, the word is – unofficially, that is – that the organizers plan to hold another, similar event somewhere in the city in the late spring or early summer of 2020.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

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