News


<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
  • November 13, 2017 9:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Security efforts launched in July 2017 by Museum Park Super Neighborhood are yielding results.   Steps towards the comprehensive solution that we’re all working towards were discussed at the Nov. 8 meeting.  
    • HPD has provided continuous coverage in the area beginning October 23rd including patrol cars and mounted police.  Our thanks to Cpt. Salam Zia, Lt. Shamara Garner, and Sgt. Eric Flores, our South Central HPD officers, who coordinate HPD’s Homeless Outreach Team, Narcotics, Homicide, and various social service providers.  TXDoT has requested that HPD notify them of any fires adjacent to TXDoT structures. 
    • City of Houston Solid Waste Management continues to conduct bi-weekly Solid Waste clean up.
    • HouSE (Southeast Management District) has contracted HPD motorcycle officers who make two checks in the area near the encampment Monday-Wednesday during their three-hour shifts.  Sgt. Frank Gans, who leads the HouSE contract-team, is conducting 4-6 checks of the area near the encampment during six-hour shifts Thursdays and Fridays. These checks are part of the normal HouSE patrol route that takes the patrols south to Griggs Road and Palm Center.
    • Midtown Management District is currently providing dumpsters for solid waste management. Precinct 7 Constable Patrols pass through the encampments generally twice a day at varying times, among their other duties for Midtown.  S.E.A.L. security also provides patrols in Midtown including the area near the encampment regularly.
    • Chris Erickson was recognized as the incoming Safety and Security Committee Chair.  Chris will steer the Museum Park Security Alliance effort that includes Management Districts, businesses, institutions, churches, schools, residents, and all who have an interest in enhancing a thriving Museum Park environment.  

    MPSN Council will continue to work in collaboration with the Houston Police Dept., Houston Southeast Management District, Midtown Management District, and METRO to as effectively as possible manage safety, security, environmental, health, and solid waste issues surrounding the US 59 encampment within Museum Park.   HPD, the City of Houston, social service and health agencies continue to offer outreach services to those living in the encampment. 

  • November 07, 2017 4:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The November 1st MPNA meeting included discussion regarding how best to make our voices heard by Kenneth Hoyt, Judge for the Southern District of Texas, where the ACLU suit challenging the City of Houston's no-camping ordinance is being heard.  One MPNA member at the meeting reported that she had sent a letter to the Judge recounting the impact of the encampment on her as a Museum Park resident.  Discussion followed regarding a possible letter writing campaign from the neighborhood. 

    After the meeting, Kathleen O'Reilly and I reached out to two attorneys--one working in another federal court of the Southern District (not Judge Hoyt's) and to our very own board member and municipal attorney, Kim Mickelson requesting their input.  Here is a summary of their thoughts:

    1.      Letters, photos, etc  from the neighborhood are not helpful, and are not entered as evidence.  The MPNA member's letter was stamped as filed with the Court to acknowledge that it was received and is part of the record to avoid improper unilateral communications (ex parte communications).   It isn’t considered evidence or material to the matter at hand, which is limited solely to the constitutionality of the ordinance and unfortunately doesn’t include or consider impacts to adjacent properties, property owners, or the neighborhood.

    Appearing at hearings, etc., doesn’t influence the judge’s thinking.  It shows community interest, but Judge is, or should be, indifferent to presence; he is evaluating merits of the case based on the law, not how many people are in the courtroom.
     
    2.      It is possible, but unlikely, that individuals in the neighborhood could be called as witnesses.  However, the case is about the constitutionality of the ordinances and enforcement, not criminal activity or any impact on the neighborhood.  Criminal activity can be addressed by other ordinances, not those that are being challenged.

     3.     An attorney can be hired to file an amicus brief if the neighborhood would like to be involved.   However, the case is about constitutionality of the ordinances, rather than neighborhood impact.  The legal costs of that approach may outweigh the benefits involved as well as having the potential to further delay the resolution of the case.

    Based on the professional advice of these two attorneys, the Board does not believe spearheading a letter-writing campaign is way forward at this time. 

    Individuals, of course, should pursue whatever course they feel appropriate.
     

    I have asked the ad hoc committee to continue their evaluation in determining an effective path forward. Please contact me at president@museumparkna.org if you have questions.

    Sandy Stevens, President

  • October 27, 2017 11:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    at work on your behalf...

    Museum Park Neighborhood Association (MPNA), in conjunction with Museum Park Super Neighborhood (MPSN), continues to seek resolution of the issues in our neighborhood arising from the health and safety concerns in the Encampment under US 59 from Caroline to Almeda.

    October 24, 2017MPNA adopted a Resolution (Click on “Resolution” to download a copy) Requesting Relief, followed by MPNA presentation to City Council.

    Here is the link (Select 'Public speakers” on right hand side, and go to time of 11:00 to 36.40 on the video) to view the presentations, as well as to hear the informative responses by the Mayor and several Council Members, 

    SUMMARY:

    •       MPNA Resolution seeks immediate relief in the form of additional patrols     and lighting, in and around the Encampment area.
    •       CM BOYKINS gave enthusiastic support for our Resolution and offered the Mayor $30,000 of his CM District budget to provide overtime for bicycle patrols to frequently ride through the Encampment.
    •        Mayor Turner explained:
    1.     Federal Hearing on the TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (TRO) is scheduled for Tuesday, October 31, 2017. The TRO was issued to restrain the City from implementing the Ordinances adopted on 4.12.17 regarding No Camping and Panhandling

    2.     The Mayor continues to be optimistic that the City will prevail in getting the TRO lifted. Evidence to be presented by the City, at the hearing may include information on the increased number of tents, crime reports, and health violations since the TRO was ordered. The City Health director has made a recent visit to the Encampment and declared the area a public health hazard.

    3.     In the meantime, the City does not want to do anything that might be perceived by the Judge as violating the TRO or risk any charges of harassment. HPD has and will continue to respond to reports of crime, investigate, and make arrests, as determined appropriate.

    4.     It is important for the City to prevail in this hearing to have the TRO lifted.  Consequences of having an INJUNCTION issued instead would result in an appeal process while leaving the Encampment in place; in any event the lawsuit is likely to continue and will be ongoing.

    Please review the entire video

    THANKS to all who participated in initiating, drafting, and finalizing the Resolution:

    Kathleen O’Reilly, Museum Park Super Neighborhood (MPSN) President and MPNA Board member and Quality of Life/Infrastructure Committee Chair, for initiating MPNA presentation at City Council and for her actionable items to the MPNA resolution, among her many other efforts for this neighborhood.

    Lindsay Williams, for drafting the initial resolution and submitting it to the MPNA Ad Hoc Committee for further review.

    Louis Selig, Chair, Gene Voss, Matt Shafley, Chris Ericksen, Christine West, and Kristy Bridges, as members of the Ad Hoc Committee, along with MPNA Board members Sandy Stevens and Greg Quintero, for reviewing, making revisions to the draft resolution, and submitting it to the MPNA Board, with a request for adoption.

    MPNA Board members, particularly Kathleen O’Reilly and Kim Mickelson, for reviewing and making revisions to strengthen the wording of the Resolution prior to adoption by the MPNA Board.

    Sandy Stevens, Barbara McGuffey, and Cindy Woods, MPNA Board members, for presenting the Resolution at the 10.24.17 City Council session. (See link above to view the presentations)

    History

    April, 2017 – City of Houston adopts No Camping and Pan Handling Ordinances

    Kathleen O’Reilly worked closely with the Mayor’s Office, and others, to draft and finalize the Ordinance wording.

    Kathleen O’Reilly and Sandy Stevens met individually with District D CM Boykins and At Large CM’s to seek support for the passage of the ordinance.

    Kathleen O’Reilly, Sandy Stevens, and Barbara McGuffey spoke on behalf of MPNA Residents at the 4.11.17 Council meeting to ask for Council to vote in favor of the Ordinances. To see those presentations, please use this link.  (See Public Speakers, Part 1 of 3 and go to time of 60:15 to 69:37 in the video.)

     For More Information:                             

    NEWS updates posted on our website during the past year include information regarding this issue and other MPNA Board efforts.

    If you have questions or want to get more involved, please send us an email at info@museumparkna.org.

  • October 25, 2017 3:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Museum Park Neighborhood Association

    Resolution Requesting Relief

    A RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE MUSEUM PARK NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION, OBJECTING TO THE CONDITIONS UNDER HIGHWAY 59/INTERSTATE 69, BETWEEN CAROLINE STREET AND ALMEDA ROAD, AND REQUESTING RELIEF BY THE CITY OF HOUSTON 
     
    WHEREAS, the Museum Park Neighborhood Association (“MPNA”) is one of the oldest civic organizations in the City of Houston; and 
     
    WHEREAS, the Museum Park Neighborhood, bordered by West Alabama Street, Main Street, State Highway 288, and Hermann Drive, is a cluster of cultural, educational, and faith institutions, businesses, varied residential properties, as well as commercial establishments and health care providers; and
     
    WHEREAS, an increasing number of individuals began erecting tents and placing cooking equipment, furniture, electronics, bicycles, and other items  on the property underneath the Highway 59/Interstate 69 overpass within neighborhood boundaries (“Encampment”); and

    WHEREAS, the Encampment is leading to a proliferation of illegal activity and public health and safety violations that threaten the health and wellbeing of MPNA residents; nearby businesses and institutions; and the individuals in the Encampment.

     
    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF THE MUSEUM PARK NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: 
     
    Section 1: That the above recitals are hereby found to be true and correct, and are incorporated as if fully set out here. 
     
    Section 2:
    That the MPNA finds that effective regulatory and ordinance enforcement
    is lacking regarding violations of criminal, environmental, public health, and safety regulations; including public defecation, public urination, and littering, leading to potential viral disease transmission; and bacteria, plastics, and other debris entering the surface waters of the United States through the immediately adjacent storm drains; violent assaults involving lethal weapons (with two fatalities); illegal activities of prostitution, lewd activity, public nudity, illicit drug use, illicit drug sales, and littering are occurring in and around the Encampment while law enforcement is seemingly hindered. 
     
    Section 3: That the MPNA finds it in the best interests of the residents of Museum Park and other nearby neighborhoods, as well as the individuals living in and around the Encampment, and the cultural institutions, businesses, that the City of Houston must, in the interest of public health, safety and order, offer more frequent and enhanced enforcement and protections against the criminal activity and public health concerns occurring with great frequency at the Encampment.  


    Section 4: That there be continued coordination efforts between Houston Police Department, Houston Solid Waste Division, Houston Health Dept., Midtown Management District, Houston Southeast Management District, TXDoT, and METRO to provide an increased frequency and level of security, regulatory enforcement, and waste management necessary and commensurate to the issues at hand to maintain a secure, well-lighted (with a high level of downward facing, shielded, night-time illumination), clean, and healthy public environment until the
    Mayor’s six-point, holistic solution announced in March, 2017 (The Way Home, Shelter System, Encampment, Panhandling, Charitable Feeding, and Mental Health and Substance Abuse) has been implemented in full and the Encampment removed. 

    BE IT RESOLVED THIS 24 DAY OF OCTOBER 2017.
     
                                                          MUSEUM PARK NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION, INC.

                                                                       

                                                                     Sandra Stevens, President

    ATTEST:

     

    Sara Gladden, Secretary

     

     

  • September 11, 2017 2:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    at work on your behalf

    Museum Park Board Members have been working to address neighborhood concerns including the US 59 encampment health and safety issues, transmission line relocations, and Holocaust Museum's construction and repayment arrangements for 1300 Calumet.  In other news, Houston Southeast has approved funding for SWA (original design team for the Livable Centers Study) to provide a conceptual design for a pedestrian corridor as part of Our Museum Park LCS.  Details of all these efforts and upcoming events are below.

    Please note:  MPNA members, including Sandy Stevens, Kim Mickelson, Kathleen O'Reilly, Greg Quintero, and Ruth Ann Skaff, hold seats on the Museum Park Super Neighborhood Council to represent residents while working cooperatively with all stakeholders including the Museum District, Hermann Park Conservancy, Miller Outdoor Theatre, businesses, and health and faith institutions. In this way we give residents a stronger voice with which to speak to the city.

    July 13, 2017:  Museum Park Super Neighborhood met with representatives of Houston Southeast, Midtown Management District, HPD, Precinct 7 Constables, and others to discuss health and safety concerns stemming from US 59 encampment. The focus of the meeting was to explore ways to coordinate efforts among the various law enforcement organizations to provide 24/7 patrols around the encampment. Please see notes from that meeting for additional details, HouSE.MPSN Meeting Notes.  MPNA has worked closely with MPSN to achieve around-the- clock patrols near US 59, MPNA Request.

    July 21, 2017: MPSN notified by the Planning Department of variance request being made by Holocaust Museum Houston.  MPSN requested that Planning Commission hearing be postponed as required signage had not been posted, and requested meeting with HMH, Clayton Library, and CoH leadership to understand variance and other issues (see August 1).  The variance hearing was deferred to August 24.

    July 24, 2017:  Health and Safety Ad Hoc Committee met to discuss ways to address encampment issues under US 59.  Several action items emerged from the meeting:  making independent petition available for signatures at the August MPNA meeting; setting dates to call council members and later appear before city council as a block of concerned citizens.  Specific requests to the city including additional patrols, enforcement of drug laws, fencing of area beneath US 59, and additional lighting were proposed.  Committee will reconvene to finalize plans and set timeline post Harvey.     

    July 25, 2017:  MPNA was contacted by a concerned resident regarding relocation of Center Point high voltage transmission lines from current location behind homes to visible street location along Blodgett. MPNA negotiated a different, and less expensive option with CP, so lines will be raised, but remain in their currently less intrusive locations.

    Please contact us if you see a sign, an activity, a development, or receive a notice that you are concerned about....neighborhoods have a say in how they develop.  Together we can make a difference!

    August 1, 2017:  MPSN met with Holocaust Museum Houston design team to discuss construction and expansion of the Holocaust Museum and its interaction with the neighborhood.  Please see notes, MPSN.HMH Meeting Notes, for details.

    Of particular concern is the HMH agreement with the City of Houston regarding the abandonment of Calumet in 2009 and the payment terms approved by city council in 2016. MPSN/MPNA are asking the city to reconsider this agreement in order to align with Your Museum Park Livable Centers Study.  Please see documents regarding these changes including MPNA letter of support.

    HMH Campus6.21.17.jpg

    HPL_Holocaust_Museum_-_Clayton_Museum_RCA.pdf, 

    August 16, 2017:  MPSN representatives met with HouSE Management District Transportation committee to request funding for a conceptual design to be implemented by SWA for pedestrian corridor along Caroline and adjacent to Holocaust Museum Houston.  HouSE and MPSN are working to propose alternatives to the current compensation effort approved by the City of Houston for the purchase of the 1300 block of Calumet.  Transportation Committee and subsequently HouSE Board approved the request. 

    August 22, 2017: US District Court issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the enforcement of City of Houston 'no camping' ordinance, in response to complaint filed by ACLU in May. Courts were closed by Harvey; we will continue to monitor and post updates.  TRO

    August 24: Planning Commission approved Holocaust Museum variance request with several changes to accommodate most of Museum Park concerns. The HMH repayment for Calumet, a different issue, is still under discussion.

    September 10:  Membership Committee will hold a meeting to make plans for member outreach.  To join the committee email Barbara McGuffey at membership@museumparkna.org

    October 3: National Night Out will be held 6:00-800 p.m. at Southmore@Crawford.  This annual event will give you the opportunity to not only get to know your neighbors better, but also to thank Houston's first responders who have worked so tirelessly since the catastrophic flooding of Hurricane Harvey.  Volunteers are needed to make this event a success.  Please contact Cindy Woods at community@museumparkna.org


    October 4: Next General Meeting MPNA. Details to follow.
  • August 23, 2017 1:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Temporary Restraining Order issued by U.S. District Court, August 22, regarding encampment ordinance is attached below.


    tro1.pdf

  • August 22, 2017 7:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Take a peek at the new draft Master Plan summary for the strategic direction of Hermann Park for the next 20 years!  The details will be developed for the individual projects over time – so the visuals included in the plan are to indicate the goals for certain areas – and is not a literal design at this point.  The specific details of how each area will look will develop over time. 

  • August 08, 2017 10:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The City of Houston Health Department has ordered a cleaning of the area under US 59 between Caroline and Almeda on August 10.  According to the post, the clean-up aims to abate conditions that contribute to disease, including human waste, mosquitoes, flies, and trash.

    Thanks goes to everyone: city officials, including the Mayor and the Office for Homeless Initiatives; Midtown Management District, who will spearhead the effort; HPD and the Homeless Outreach Team; the Coalition for the Homeless; and most importantly the residents of Museum Park, who continue to lobby for measures to address the untenable conditions of the encampment and the accompanying issues within the neighborhood.

    MPNA and MPSN have worked to give a unified voice to our common concerns before city council, in countless meetings, emails, and phone conversations, and by hosting public meetings with city officials, and will continue to do so. 

    Thanks to all for your efforts to make Museum Park a healthy neighborhood.

  • August 04, 2017 1:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The August MPNA meeting featured a panel discussion/presentation related to Houston’s efforts to address homelessness, the current encampment under US-59.  A list of questions was circulated to the panelists in advance of the meeting (see attached).

     President Sandy Stevens called the meeting to order at 6:01 PM.  Following a general overview, she turned the meeting over to Greg Quintero, Chair of the Safety & Security committee. Greg provided an overview of format, recognized the newly formed ad hoc committee tasked with formulating suggestions related to the current encampment situation, and asked the panel to introduce themselves.

     Kim Mickelson, MPNA Vice President, consulting city attorney

    After thanking everyone for coming, Kim provided a general overview of the current state of affairs in Houston, some history about how the courts have viewed other municipalities’ ordinances aimed at reducing encampments, and the importance of respecting and balancing the Constitutional rights of all citizens.  Key points: it is not illegal to be homeless, sleeping on public land is not a crime, and personal possessions must be protected.

     Marc Eichenbaum,  Special Assistant to the Mayor for Homeless Initiatives

    The encampment under US-59 is the top priority for the City with regard to homelessness. Mayor Turner & Marc visited the encampment Aug 1. However, there is a lawsuit and care must and will be taken to ensure that future endeavors are not jeopardized by rash decision making.  The Mayor views the ordinances pertaining to encampments and panhandling to be necessary, valid & constitutional.

    ·       Other Texas cities have anti-encampment ordinances that have not been legally challenged; however, their ordinances are much older than Houston’s. 

    ·       The City has secured storage space for personal possessions that exceed the size limits specified by the anti-encampment ordinance, and this program is up and running.  There are twice weekly trash clean-ups by the Dept of Solid Waste at the Wheeler encampment.

    ·       The Health Dept is in the process of assessing and preparing a report about the Wheeler encampment.  Should they find that the area is a public health nuisance in need of full cleaning, there will be swift action to clear the area while respecting the rights and needs of those residing in the encampment. Enforcement of the ordinances would be the next step after the clean-up.  No firm dates are available at this time.

    ·        The City is focusing on providing housing to the homeless population. Houston, however, has fewer financial resources for this endeavor in comparison to other major cities. Federal funding for HUD vouchers has been reduced; the City is unable to issue any new vouchers. Two weeks ago, Mayor Turner proposed & Council approved redirecting $2.4 million of other funds for housing. People living in the encampment have been assessed for housing. At this time, the major need is to identify landlords willing to rent out appropriate units.

    ·       In the near future, the area beneath US 59 between Austin and La Branch will be fenced in and used as a private parking lot for a local nonprofit organization. 

    ·       Report any illegal activity you observe to HPD.  The City is working on a solution to allow HPD to address concerns related to small fires.

     Lt. Shamara Garner & Officer Nick Vogelsang (Homeless Outreach Team), HPD

    ·       Call 911 for immediate threats (eg, break-in in progress, life-threatening situations).

    ·       Call HPD non-emergency [713-884-3131] for other matters, including crimes that have already taken place.

    ·       HPD has identified and entered into a database the individuals currently residing under US-59.  The new city ordinances have been explained to everyone in the encampment and efforts are underway to provide help and resources to those who want it.

    ·       Regarding drug use: Kush is the #1 drug issue in the encampment.  Due to the nature of this drug, immediate arrests are not possible as testing is required to identify the substances in the drug.  Sales, possession, and use of illegal narcotics will be enforced, but such activity is nearly impossible for uniformed officers to observe.

    ·       The Sobering Center Team is working in conjunction with the Recovery Center to address public intoxication.

     Frank Carmody, Houston 311

    ·       Do not contact 311 for crimes (eg, drug activity, theft, assault): these issues should be reported to HPD. 

    ·       Do contact 311 for non-police issues such as illegal dumping/accumulation of garbage.

    ·       If you call 311, they can help to direct you to the appropriate person or city department.  Clear descriptions of offenses will help to ensure that issues are routed properly.

    ·       Sandy noted that the online 311 pulldown menu allows the reporting of human waste on public property.

     Marilyn Brown, Houston Coalition for the Homeless

    The Coalition for the Homeless (‘Coalition’) is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide leadership in the development, advocacy, and coordination of community strategies to prevent and end homelessness. The Coalition is tasked with bringing together all local organizations dealing with various aspects of homelessness in the collaborative effort, The Way Home Houston (http://www.thewayhomehouston.org/). Their goal is to prevent and end homelessness by providing housing and the necessary wraparound services (eg, health care, job training, counseling, child care). Over 11,000 people have been placed in housing, with 95% still in housing at the 2-yr mark.

    ·       Outreach requires federal (housing) and state (mental health & substance abuse treatment) funds. These budgets often change (and often decrease) creating gaps in funding, and consequentially difficulties in long-term planning.  A lack of dependable funds also harms the credibility of homeless advocates whose promises of help/resources sometimes are unable to be honored.  Local companies and philanthropic organizations are key partners, with federal dollars providing a match for private donations.

    ·       Approximately 150 individuals are residing at the Wheeler/Chartres encampments.

    ·       ~2/3 of those living in Houston encampments self-identify as having mental health issues.  Mental health problems can quickly lead to substance abuse issues through a cycle of self-medication.

    ·       Texas lacks long-term mental health care; the maximum length of a mental health ‘hold’ is 11 days—rarely sufficient time to make a meaningful difference.

    ·       Shelters are not a long-term solution; the solution to homelessness is homes.

    ·       In addition to the need for housing units for those transitioning from the street or shelters, there is also a need for affordable housing that is accessible to public transportation and support services.

    ·       Public awareness campaigns (radio, billboards, meetings with faith leaders) are underway for the Meaningful Change, not Spare Change initiative (http://meaningfulchange.org/). Rather than giving money or food/supplies directly to people who are in need, residents who would like to help can direct funds to agencies capable of assisting the homeless (and former homeless) with long-term help & support.  Note: donations are placed in a general fund so that they may be directed to helping those most in need.

     

     

  • July 10, 2017 2:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Bayou Trails is excited to announce that the Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for Hermann, MacGregor and Mason Parks have been finalized, published, and are now open to submissions from artists, arts professionals and/or organizations living in Houston!  Deadline for submissions is August 3, 2017

    As Bayou Trails enters this new phase, we encourage you to spread the word about the RFP process and to engage those around you in conversation about the community-driven vision alive in your park as well as the collective, connective goals that span the Bayou Trails footprint.

    You can read the three Bayou Trails RFPs on https://ourbayoutrails.com/. If you have questions about them, the submission protocol, or the project at large, please contact:  https://ourbayoutrails.com/contact/.

    Thank you for your dedication to this important initiative! 

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 

Copyright 2017 Museum Park Neighborhood Association
The Museum Park Neighborhood Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in Houston Texas.