Fire, needles, trash: Center for moms ‘wants to feel safe’

Multnomah County

Recently, someone set a fire at the Mother & Child Education Center in Northeast Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A nonprofit group serving women and children in Northeast Portland regularly cleans up needles and human waste around their building but the situation has gotten more serious.

Last week, workers at the Mother & Child Education Center in the Hollywood District found the remnants of a fire on their porch. Executive Director Maura White said they clean up bodily fluids and pick up needles several times a week but the fire on the porch caused actual damage.

“We are lucky it didn’t start a fire for our whole place,” said White.

The center provides resources to hundreds of pregnant moms and children, as well as support for moms experiencing homelessness. White said this year marks the center’s 50th anniversary in Portland.

Damage left by a fire on the porch of the Mother & Child Education Center in NE Portland, June 2021. (KOIN)

“We serve people, we can’t have people camping here and leaving their feces behind. We got pregnant moms, we got little kids coming up here on the front porch,” said White.

White said they’ve had an outpouring of support from the community. One person volunteered to power wash the porch after the fire for free because whoever started the fire also extinguished it with “human bodily fluids,” White said.

The center hopes to install a security camera and build a fence to deter future problems. White said they want the building to be a safe and secure place.

“We want to do a community garden and we are afraid that if we start a community garden, they are going to use it as their bathroom,” White said.

To donate to the Mother & Child Education Center, click here.

“This is a tough time for everybody — there’s a lot of people at odds but you know what, there is someone who needs you. There’s a mom, there’s a child. Just try to be nice to everybody,” said White.

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