The owner of a counseling clinic for sex offenders said she plans to leave their location in southeast Portland's Sellwood neighborhood after dozens of concerned community members met to discuss ways to force the clinic out.
Whole Systems Counseling opened last December, but many people only learned about the clientele recently. The clinic is in a nondescript building on Southeast Milwaukie Avenue in Sellwood, down the street from a Boys and Girls Club and a Montessori school.
"I just think it's an insane choice of places," said Julie Wallace, who owns a book store across from the clinic.
The clinic's owner, Johneen Manno, came to Monday night's meeting but was asked to leave. As she made her way out, the owner of the Sellwood Montessori School confronted her.
"My husband and I own the Montessori school and you have never contacted us, ever, ever. "We just found out on Thursday," the owner said.
Manno told her, "And you know what, I wish we would have had an opportunity to do that."
Outside the meeting, Manno said, "I can completely understand where they're coming from. I'm a parent myself. But we are trying to provide something that truly will help people become more safe."
She said she wanted to move the clinic out of the area, provided she can get out of her five-year lease early.
On Monday, Manno said her current landlord has agreed to let them vacate their lease.
A community member at Monday's meeting contacted her about a lead on a new location that would be away from schools and Manno said she will pursue it.
She said she doesn't have a move date yet, but plans to leave the location once a new lease is in place.
Manno said she worked with the Boys and Girls Club to form a risk management plan, but said she just learned about the Montessori school recently. She also described trying to meet with members of a local business alliance shortly after moving into the area, but said efforts fell through.
Manno denied being deliberately secretive, saying she had to balance the rights of her clients, who also include family members of sex offenders and victims of sex abuse. She said none of her clients are considered predatory sex offenders or require community notification.
"As far as informing schools and neighbors, that is something that… people who have committed offenses also have rights that we have to follow and we have to follow our ethics," she said.
Many of the people attending Monday night's meeting seemed determined to force the clinic out of the area.
When one person suggested contacting a professional mediator to help with the situation, one of the women leading the meeting responded, "There's no aspect of mediation that is going to make the majority of people in this neighborhood feel safe, quite frankly."
Copyright KPTV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Thursday, May 23 2013 12:13 PM EDT2013-05-23 16:13:30 GMT
Washington State Patrol is trying to track down a hit-and-run driver in a black Ford F150 pickup truck. State Trooper William Finn said the pickup driver ran a truck and trailer off the road on InterstateMore >
Washington State Patrol is trying to track down a hit-and-run driver in a black Ford F150 pickup truck.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:45 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:45:05 GMT
Portland police have arrested the suspect in an assault and stabbing in Northeast Portland. James Moultrie was booked in the Multnomah County Jail on assault, kidnap, rape and sodomy charges.Police respondedMore >
Portland police have arrested the suspect in an assault and stabbing in Northeast Portland. James Moultrie was booked in the Multnomah County Jail on assault, kidnap, rape and sodomy charges.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 12:32 PM EDT2013-05-23 16:32:38 GMT
Friends and family will gather Thursday night for a candlelight vigil to remember Ivanice Harris. Harris was last seen a week ago at a bar in Waikiki, Hawaii. According to family, she was in Hawaii toMore >
Friends and family will gather Thursday night for a candlelight vigil to remember Ivanice Harris.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 2:44 PM EDT2013-05-23 18:44:59 GMT
A family of three was pulled from a burning condo in Aloha during a two-alarm fire Thursday morning. Washington County deputies were first to respond to the home at Southwest Jaden Drive at 4:47 a.m. TheyMore >
Gang Huo and his 11-year-old son, Tengyuan, are in critical condition at Legacy Emanuel Hospital. More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:56 AM EDT2013-05-22 04:56:12 GMT
The body of a missing Portland woman has been found in Hawaii. A medical examiner's office in Hawaii confirmed Tuesday the body of Ivanice Harris was found near Yokohama Bay. A cause of death has notMore >
The medical examiner's office in Hawaii confirmed Tuesday the body of Ivanice Harris was found near Yokohama Bay. A cause of death has not yet been determined.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:06 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:06:27 GMT
Police in Vancouver have received several reports of batteries being stolen from RVs in the area. Detectives are now looking for the person behind the thefts. Fox 12 spoke with Vancouver resident AlexisMore >
Police in Vancouver have seen a spike of RV battery thefts in recent days.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:55 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:55:08 GMT
(RNN) - Dozens of Cleveland restaurants have pledged to give the man who rescued three Ohio women from captivity, free burgers for life. Charles Ramsey, the guy who famously stopped eating his Big MacMore >
More than a dozen of Cleveland restaurants have pledged to give the man who rescued three Ohio women from captivity, free burgers for life.More >