Thursday, December 15, 2011

First draft for Knights of Columbus District Deputies

Ted Seeber writes: I'm preparing a flyer to advertise Our Peaceful Place statewide at the Knights of Columbus mid-year meeting for District Deputies in the State of Oregon. Since I'm only Roundtable Chairman, and my presentation time will be eaten up by my duties as such, at most I'll only be able to mention it at the end of my speech, and the flyer will have to speak for me. It occurred to me that the first draft was good enough that I should put it out on the blog. For the reverse side, please see our main website at: How You Can Help


I was named Knight of the Year for 2011 for Our Lady of the Valley Council 3591, in Tigard, OR. I do a lot for my council, including our website, running the St. Clare’s/St. John Fisher Roundtable (soon to be a council of our own), editing the newsletter. But I also give back to the secular community. I’m on the Board of Directors of Our Peaceful Place.

In April of 1998, our founder, Sr. Maria Francis Waugh, sfcc, had been ministering to the poor on the streets of Portland for nearly twenty years. For many years she had a yearning to offer a place of peace and rest to the homeless in Portland. She desired to furnish a sanctuary where all people could find belonging and family. Her dream was to provide a safe haven for the weary in an environment rich in welcome and acceptance. A comfort zone where people would gather and where healthy relationships would be established and flourish in an atmosphere of tolerance and inclusiveness.

Tragedy struck Our Peaceful Place during the summer of 2003 when Sr. Maria was killed in a car accident. As Maria’s friends and supporters pulled together for comfort; her Board of Directors sought help from them to keep the ministry going. They were able to continue her work and though her loss is still felt, her footprint is on the heart of this mission and her vision is its soul.

Our Peaceful Place continued to operate a drop-in center until October 2006 when the church building it was leasing was no longer available. This did not stop the work of Our Peaceful Place - it has since adapted to working on the streets - where volunteers walk the streets of downtown Portland carrying backpacks filled with items like over-the-counter remedies, socks, hats, etc that are distributed free of cost to the homeless. The organization also provides referrals for access to housing and other social services, assistance in filling out forms - in a nutshell - providing all the help it can with the resources it has.

Our Directoress, Barb Lescher, goes out every morning and evening, rain or shine, pulling behind her a rolling suitcase full of items often needed on the streets of Portland. We do this very cheaply- our overhead is quite low- 99 cents out of every dollar given to Our Peaceful Place, goes to our ministry.

Sr. Maria used to run the whole thing on 88 donors giving just $25/month. As the recession set in, the number of monthly donors we could count on went down, severely. We’re now down to less than 10 donors a month we can count on. We need desperately to rebuild our sustaining circle- and the dream is still there to eventually find an empty storefront and once again open and operate a day shelter.

Every fall, in October, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Beaverton and the Indian Church put on a dinner for Our Peaceful Place. Knights of Columbus has been involved heavily in this event- in 2011, 4 councils from District 3 sponsored tables, donating between $250-$500 each. In addition, Tigard Council organized a breakfast at St. Clare’s Parish in Portland giving $1088 to Our Peaceful Place. Sherwood Council organized a sock drive at St. Francis School for Our Peaceful Place. And several Knights are already on our donor list.

I urge you all to go back to your districts and councils and mention the good work that Barb Lescher does. On the back of this flyer is a list of ways your councils can get involved with Our Peaceful Place- including taking walks with Barb. It would be wonderful if a few more Knights could become part of our Sustaining Circle- or if more councils could sponsor tables for the Fall East Indian Dinner fundraiser. But even if you have no money- and can just organize a sock drive, it would be a big help to the work Barb Lescher does on the streets every day.


Please visit our website to give. The only real difference I'm planning for the final version at this time is that I expect I will soon know when the October dinner is scheduled for, and I'll be editing the document to include that date.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Emergency need

Barb has recently had a single mother referred to her- a 9/11 era veteran Gold Card holder with two young children. She's about to be kicked out for nonpayment of rent. $350 will keep her in her apartment until the first of the year, by which time some VA support will be coming in. Our Peaceful Place can cover this expense- but it will leave us with a shortfall before the end of the year if we do so. If you can, please go to and click on the "Donate now button" to make a one-time donation specifically for this cause.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Thanksgiving is fast approaching. And with it, the infamous Black Friday, start of the Christmas Shopping Season. If you are reading this and are in the Portland Area, and are planning on shopping at Fred Meyer's on Black Friday, we ask you to add a couple of items for the homeless to your shopping list:

-Socks. Any Socks. Barb likes giving out socks.

-A $24 book of Tri-met 2 hour passes.

Freddy's always has a sale on socks on Black Friday- and Tri-met tickets- so would you please add the homeless to your shopping list? You can always contact one of our volunteers through:

Our Peaceful Place
P.O Box 3093
Clackamas, OR 97015
Ph : 503-295-7744
Email :

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Walk With Barb

This past Friday, Veteran's Day, was my birthday. Being on the board of directors for Our Peaceful Place, I can sometimes feel a bit disconnected from the work Barb does- almost like my few hours a month, necessary as they are to support Barb's work, are like paying somebody else to do my charity for me. After the dinner in October, my son and his "friend who is a girl" decided they wanted to be a bit more hands on, but they're young, 7 and 8. So I decided for my birthday, I wanted to see what Barb did for myself- we invited along myself, Ted, my wife Shannon, my son Christopher, his friend Julia and her parents. At the last minute my parents also showed up, with three more cousins in tow, for a group of 10 lost little ducklings following along behind Barb.

It was raining heavily- so it was hard to find the type of people who needed our help. In bad weather, homeless people try to find someplace dry to hide, and with the way poverty has become criminalized on our society, they usually don't want to be disturbed. But right away, we found a group of teenagers. I thought they weren't homeless at first. They looked like any other group of teenagers enjoying a night on the town. But Barb led off- asked them if they needed socks. A couple took the socks, so we offered the peanut butter sandwiches my wife had made earlier that were in Christopher's backpack. Those were a hit- so my mother took out the loaf of bread and tuna salad she had mixed up earlier, and started making tuna sandwiches.

After that, we crossed the street and went under Burnside Bridge, where a few people were settling down for the night. We found one very nice couple- he just wanted to sleep, but she was very interested in additional clothing. But when he heard "tuna fish sandwich" he perked right up. We handed out some clothing there, and moved along. Next we took a walk up towards where the day shelter used to be when Sr. Maria was alive. It now appears to be a bar of some sort, but was closed, boarded up, so we took a left and went down towards Voodoo Donuts- where we found a young lady with a small dog and a sign "I can't remember the last time I was warm". We bought her a tea at Voodoo, gave her some sandwiches, and gave her some extra clothing to keep her and her little puppy dog warm.

On the way back, we found more homeless men, and gave out a few more socks and sandwiches- one had some candy and gave it to the kids.

It was an awfully large group to take around, and a large group probably scared some people away, but it was a good experience. What Barb does, is important. Please visit our website and become a monthly donor. If we can just get back to 88 people in our sustaining circle, giving an average of $25 each, we can balance the budget and let Barb continue doing more of what she does.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Become a regular supporter

This article reminded me why Barb Lescher does what she does. Our Peaceful Place has modest needs. 88 people giving $25/month through our website would fund us. In this recession, we're down to less than 1/8th of the number of regular donors we need. The people we help- for a day, for a moment- are the poorest of the poor in America. Each one of them is a human barometer telling us that something is deeply wrong here: with our legal system, our housing programs, our mental health care system. There is something wrong with our priorities, our economy, us. There is something deeply wrong with us when people stand in the cold and rain, in public with their personal dislocation and shame. It is too painful, too humiliating, to dehumanizing. And, truth be told, for most of us, if we lost two or three paychecks, it could be us out there. That is why Barb does what she does. So reach into your heart, into your budget. Visit our website today. Click on the Donate Now Button- and sign up for monthly donations taken out of your credit or debit card. Because, for most of us- if we lost two or three paychecks, we'd be right under that bridge as well.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Catholic Charities seeing increased homeless population

The problem isn't going away, indeed, as Catholic Sentinel reported a few weeks back, it's getting worse. Many first time homeless people go from a home, to an RV, to a car, and then when money for gas runs short and they run afoul of parking laws, the car even gets impounded eventually. Do something about this- join us for our dinner on October 22nd. Check out the event on facebook at this link.

Monday, October 10, 2011

25% under 18 struggle with poverty

According to a Statesman Journal article today, more than 25% of Oregonians under the age of 18 are living in poverty. Families of single mothers younger than 5 struggle the most. Public assistance keeps some of these off the streets, but as we saw in previous articles I've been posting from the Main Stream Media, not all. We have invited some of our clients to join us for dinner on October 22nd, come and hear their story.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Indian Dinner coming up October 22nd

Do you like Curry? Would you like to do something about the Homeless? Come to the Our Peaceful Place Benefit Dinner, October 22, 2011, at 6pm. Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 14175 NW Cornell Rd, Portland, OR 97229. Suggested donation $15 for individuals, $50 for families, $500 for a business to sponsor a table. For tickets- email

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Our Peaceful Place Benefit Dinner- why you need to give

Our Peaceful Place Annual Benefit Dinner Appeal from Our Peaceful Place on Vimeo.

Watch the video. Then come to the dinner! Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Beaverton on Cornell, October 22nd, 6pm. $15 for individuals, $50 for families, $500 for businesses that want to sponsor a table. All the Indian Curry you can eat! All food is donated, so every penny goes to our work with the homeless!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Car Donation helps needy family

When we met this family, the father was out of work and they were living in a disabled car on the streets of Portland. Through Our Peaceful Place's help, we got them into housing in Gresham and the father into a part-time job as an auto wrecker in Tigard. However, this meant he was spending several hours a day on Max and Trimet to get there.

One of our Board of Directors had a car that was reaching the end of it's useful life- a Mercedes with 300,000 miles on it and a broken transmission. Knowing that the car was worth at least several thousand in parts alone, he donated it to this family. Little did he know that as a mechanic, the father would repair the car, and start using it as his commuting vehicle! The father of this family is now commuting much easier down 205, spending 45 minutes for his commute vs the 2 hours each way Trimet would take. Thank you to Bill Mumford for donating this car!

Major Fundraiser

OPP's Annual Fundraiser will be October 22th at 6:00pm at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Beaverton.
$15 per person
$50 for a family of 2 or more (kids or teens or adults – we did not break it down by age groups for kids)
$500 for a table for 8
You can purchase a table by sending a check to P.O Box 3093, Clackamas, OR 97015, or for more information visit our main website at Our Peaceful Place

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Freddy M.

Got word tonight that Freddy M. was found dead in her apartment this morning. Freddy had been homeless a long time before she got into housing. I met her in 2004. She was soft spoken because of a medical condition and generous. Loyal and tender hearted. She was talented. She had a warm and wonderful sense of humor.
Even though Freddy could have called on me any time if she needed something, I only heard from her when she wanted to let me know what was new, to check on my welfare and when someone else needed something.
An exception was last fall; she wanted to know if I could bring her a broom and dustpan. Someone had given her a tent... Finally she was warm and comfortable.  She had been setting it up down town late at night on an out of the way corner and would take it down before the sun came up. She wanted to be able to sweep the corner so I took her a broom.  I watched her as she swept the whole block.
I checked on her a few nights later and while we visited a neighbor came by who was walking his dog. Freddy spoke to him commenting on the cold, wet, weather and asked about his dog, Freddy was friendly, he was abrupt. I had a sick feeling he was going to call in a complaint about her tent. He did and she was unable to use it after that.
When I got that call earlier tonight I thought I would like to be able to say to that man, "Really? You couldn't have just let her alone that night? How was she hurting you?" But then I would want to confront every one who ever discounted or dismissed her in any kind of way. 
Freddy was really something and she will be missed.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Veterans that need permanent housing.

There are many homeless veterans in Portland. I have met hundreds, each one has served in my life time and I delight in any opportunity to serve them. I am currently working with two veterans who are being considered for safe, affordable, permanent housing. They have this opportunity to have their own address and a place to call home. There is only a small window of opportunity for this to happen for them. Application fees have been covered but they each need a $300 deposit. If they can come up with this amount from here on out their monthly rents will be subsidized and covered by VA Pensions that are pending. In other words, for $600 we can end end homelessness for two Vietnam veterans... Now that's a welcome home!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our new facebook page address

We’ve hit 25 likes on facebook, so our new facebook address for Our Peaceful Place is:


I promise- this is the last technical post.  At least until I figure out how to get Our Peaceful Place a Google+ circle……

Ted Seeber

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

October 15- save the date

The yearly Our Peaceful Place Benefit Dinner will be October 15 this year. $500 for a table of 8- $62.50/person. Since local Indian Restaurants make and donate all the food, and the venue is donated as well, every penny goes to support our ministry with the homeless.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hi From Our Peaceful Place!

In an effort to move our ministry to the next level, we're setting up this blog so that Barb can write stories about the people she meets on the streets- their stories, their courage, the people who fall through the cracks in the safety nets of the governments of Portland, Oregon, and the United States- and end up sleeping under bridges and in doorways in downtown Portland.

If you would like to donate, if what you read moves you- Please visit our normal webpage: