December 9th, 2009 5:33 pm | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall

Today at City Hall: Potter Is Relevant!

Denise Warren

"I really hope you prove us wrong,” Brian Wong of the Montavilla neighborhood told former Mayor Tom Potter in September 2008.

Wong was referring to Potter's then-controversial plan to curb prostitution along 82nd Avenue by steering sex workers toward treatment -- instead of imposing a prostitution-free zone.

“I know that Prostitution Free Zones (PFZs) are a popular measure to address prostitution,” Potter wrote in an August 2008 email to Montavilla neighborhood activists. “However, at this time, there are no plans to implement them again.”

Today at City Hall, where commissioners discussed the results [PDF] of Potter's plan, the mayor who famously declared he was not "relevant" was, in fact, relevant again. With funding from the city, Lifeworks Northwest started offering mental-health and substance-abuse treatment for women like Denise Warren, a former prostitute who testified at City Hall this morning.

"I want to thank him today for sticking to his guns," Commissioner Randy Leonard said of Potter.

Warren, 36, says she was Lifework's second client under the new program. "I didn't live in reality for so long," she says. "I never thought I would change. I thought I was an adult and could do what I wanted."

Now she's gotten clean, and left that life behind. (She's also currently looking for an opportunity to job shadow.)
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