Heights - River Oaks - Montrose Edition | Oct. 2020

HEIGHTS RIVER OAKS MONTROSE EDITION

VOLUME 2, ISSUE 6  OCT. 330, 2020

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TODO LIST

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HoustonBCycle logs record ridership

An 1890s home in Sixth Ward typies the neighborhood architecture protected by Houston’s preservation ordinance.

Historic preservation faces Supreme Court battle According to Pei-Lin Chong, a real estate agent and builder specializing in restoring historic structures, Hous- ton’s historic preservation law, which turns 25 this year, reects the city’s struggle with its own identity—a pur- portedly world-class urban destina- tion that bulldozes its past. “In Houston there’s no great love, no real pursuit of historical preservation. It’s very neglected,” Chong said. Rapid development throughout its history, including its sprawling net- work of highways, has erased swaths of Houston structures and neighbor- hoods, preservationists say. CONTINUED ON 16 BY MATT DULIN

TRANSPORTATION

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VOTER GUIDE 2020

development permits approved 440

Agrowing Timbergrove seeks drainage solutions

In Timbergrove, from Sept. 2017 to Sept. 2020, there were

BALLOT, CANDIDATES

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BY EMMA WHALEN

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Residents in the Heights’ Timbergrove neighborhood are acutely aware of a dicult catch-22 Houston is facing. Flood research indicates denser development, rather than unchecked suburban sprawl, puts less strain on the region’s bayou system. But as it arrives, drainage infra- structure in the city’s core has not kept up with new demands. Leigh Kilgore, the president of the Timbergrove Super CONTINUED ON 18

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Timbergrove is facing a wave of redevelopment. (Emma Whalen/ Community Impact Newspaper) SOURCES: CITY OF HOUSTON 311 CENTER, CITY OF HOUSTON PERMITTING CENTER COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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HEIGHTS - RIVER OAKS - MONTROSE EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

IMPACTS

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more

MARKET TEAM SENIOR EDITOR Matt Dulin CITY HALL REPORTER Emma Whalen SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Anya Gallant ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Keenan Porter METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kristina Shackelford MANAGING EDITOR Marie Leonard ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Tessa Hoee CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, TX. The company’s mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Today we operate across ve metropolitan areas, providing hyperlocal, nonpartisan news produced by our full-time journalists in each community we serve. BECOMEA#COMMUNITYPATRON CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE

FROMKRISTINA: As we embrace the fall months and cooler weather, be sure to visit Page 8, where we’ve captured a few local events you can enjoy safely with friends and family this season. The polls are soon to be open—stay up to date on your local elections and candidate priorities with our Voter Guide starting on Page 13 and candidate Q&A’s online at communityimpact.com. Kristina Shackelford, ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

FROMMATT: On our front page this month are stories of two dierent kinds of community challenges. We looked into Houston’s historic preservation ordinance, which after 25 years is facing a potential legal challenge in the Texas Supreme Court. Also, City Hall Reporter Emma Whalen goes deep into how one neighborhood is struggling to get drainage improvements 60 years after it was a documented need. Matt Dulin, SENIOR EDITOR

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 9 Houston BCycle ridership surging HOUSING 11 Eviction, rent relief updates CITYCOUNTY 12 News fromHouston and Harris County

THIS ISSUE BY THE NUMBERS

Voterguide

Local sources 21

New businesses 6

Virtual events 7

Local voting centers 30

BALLOT INFORMATION Candidates, polling locations NEWS REPORT County prepares for record turnout REAL ESTATE

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HEIGHTS  RIVER OAKS  MONTROSE EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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COMING SOON 10 Home decor retailer Ballard Designs will open its first Houston location in the River Oaks Shopping Center, 1977 W. Gray St., in February 2021, according to a press release. The store will be Ballard’s 16th since launching its national retail expan- sion in 2007. The Atlanta-based Ballard Designs has served the area through its catalog and e-commerce business. www.ballarddesigns.com 11 The Velvet Taco location in the works in the Heights at 2001 N. Shepherd Drive, Houston, now plans to open in December, a company spokesperson said. It will be followed by its fourth Houston location in the Galleria area, 2626 West Loop S., slated for spring 2021. The Dallas-based chain offers a take on tacos incorporating Asian and Indian touches as well as traditional Tex-Mex flavors. www.velvettaco.com ANNIVERSARIES 12 Dessert Gallery , 3600 Kirby Drive, Houston, celebrated its 25th anniversary in September. For the rest of the year, the bakery and cafe will feature monthly product giveaways. The first giveaway featured its new pinata cupcakes. Des- sert Gallery offers curbside pickup and delivery options and ships nationwide. 713-522-9999. www.dessertgallery.com 13 The Heights Mercantile Farmers Market , 714 Yale St., celebrated its first anniversary Sept. 27. The market features over 40 local vendors offering produce, grass-fed meats, pasture-raised eggs, honey, prepared foods, gifts and other items. The celebration included a fundraiser for women’s health nonprofit I’ll Have What She’s Having and featured local culinary leaders such as El Topo’s Tony Luhrman, Sparrow Cookshop’s Monica Pope and Feges BBQ’s Erin Smith. The market is held the second and fourth Dallas-based ride-hailing service Alto expanded into the Houston area as of Oct. 1, with a focus on the Inner Loop and Energy Corridor areas during the initial rollout. The service offers a customizable ride experience featuring its own fleet of custom-branded luxury SUVs with professional drivers. The vehicles also include protective equipment, HEPA air Sundays each month. EXPANSIONS

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NOWOPEN 1 Italian- and Mediterranean-inspired restaurant Ostia opened Sept. 25 in a renovated space at 2032 Dunlavy St., Houston. Houston native chef Travis McShane brings a range of experiences to a menu that includes a la carte meats and seafood, made-in-house pastas, salads and sides drawing from local providers. Family-style dining options and curbside offerings will also be available, and the restaurant has implemented precautions for COVID-19. 713-324-9288. www.ostiahou.com 2 After a year and a half of renovation and restoration, the Rothko Chapel , located at 3900 Yupon St., Houston, re- opened Sept. 24. Admission to the chapel is free, but tickets will be required, and visits are limited to 30 minutes. The Su- zanne Deal Booth Welcome House, locat- ed at 1410 Sul Ross St., will serve as the check-in point for visitors. The renovation was financed by the $30 million Opening Spaces campaign. The second phase of the work will include the construction of an administration and archives building, a program center, a guest house and a meditation garden. 713-524-9839. www.rothkochapel.org

3 Amsterdam Co. , a coffee shop specializing in coffee with CBD additives, opened Sept. 21 at 807 W. 19th St., Hous- ton. In addition to coffee-based drinks, teas and juices, the shop sells snacks as well as other CBD products. www.amsterdamco.us 4 The sports-fueled beer garden Bot- tled Blonde opened its Houston location at 4901 Washington Ave., on Sept. 17. The concept by Arizona-based Evening Entertainment Group recently shuttered a Chicago location, but it has locations in Dallas and Scottsdale, Arizona. The space boasts 40 TV screens, two 24-foot pro- jector screens, 10,000 square feet and a 1,500-square-foot patio. 346-230-0141. www.bottledblondepizzeria.com 5 Katz’s in the Heights opened Sept. 15 at 2200 N. Shepherd Drive, Houston, debuting for service from 9 a.m.-9 p.m at its new building designed by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture. The restaurant rolled out its 24-hour schedule on Sept. 23. 713-999-4799. www.katzsneverkloses.com 6 The “Great Gatsby”-inspired bar Sugar Room reopened Sept. 14 at 5120 Washington Ave., Houston, featuring ex- panded menu options by its partner, Tout Suite, which operates the on-site bakery Sweet. The space includes an updated

2,000-square-foot patio. Sugar Room orig- inally opened in January. 832-618-1494. www.sugarroomconcepts.com 7 The Menil Collection , 1533 Sul Ross St., Houston, reopened Sept. 12 with updated COVID-19 protocols. The main gallery includes a new lineup of works, including a monumental painting by Helen Frankenthaler, “Hybrid Vigor,” on public display for the first time in 40 years. The museum’s safety measures include face mask requirements and re- duced capacity with social distancing and advance reservations highly encouraged. 713-525-9400. www.menil.org 8 Toka CBD Wellness & IV Therapy , a woman-owned and physician-operated medical spa, opened in mid-August at 3407 Montrose Blvd., Ste. A5, Houston. The business offers IV drips to boost overall health. Treatments and products also use CBD oil as a supplement. 346-240-3992. www.tokacbd.com 9 The Chicago-based primary care doc- tor network VillageMD opened two new Houston offices this summer. A A Heights location at 427 W. 20th St., Ste. 708, opened June 9, B and a Greenway Plaza location at 4120 Southwest Freeway, Ste. 200, opened June 16. The network has 17 Houston locations. www.villagemd.com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN & EMMA WHALEN

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Rothko Chapel

Ballard Designs

Velvet Taco

Pearl Bar

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COURTESY BALLARD DESIGNS

COURTESY VELVET TACO

COURTESY PEARL BAR

filters, regular cleaning and disinfecting, and plexiglass barriers between riders and drivers. The service books rides through the Alto app and also offers a $99 per year membership that discounts ride fees by 30% and gives members priority during peak demand periods. www.ridealto.com IN THE NEWS 14 Greentown Labs , the Boston-area based clean energy incubator firm that is expanding to Houston, will build its new home at 4200 San Jacinto St., the company announced Sept. 22. The firm will take over the former Midtown Fiesta grocery store across the street from the Ion, which is under construction in the city’s nascent Innovation District. The building will be retrofitted to offer more

than 40,000 square feet of labs, offices and community space. Greentown Labs expects to have on-site capacity for 200-300 employees for as many as 50 startups when it opens in spring 2021. www.greentownlabs.com 15 Pearl Bar , 4216 Washington Ave., Houston, was one of 11 LGBTQ bars in the country to receive a grant as part of a Human Rights Campaign and Showtime partnership called Queer to Stay: An LGBTQ+ Business Preservation Initiative, according to a Sept. 15 news release. “Houston is ranked the No. 1 most diverse city in the U.S. and Pearl is a bar where anyone and everyone that walks in is welcome,” owner Julie Mabry said in the release. The bar remains closed but has hosted outdoor events. 832-740-4933. www.pearlhouston.com

16 A 112-foot art installation at College Memorial Park Cemetery, 3525 W. Dallas St., Houston, went up in mid-July to hon- or the Black soldiers of the 24th infantry known as the Houston 13.” The soldiers were hanged after leading the Camp Logan Mutiny of 1917 in response to the discrimination they faced within the army base and from members of the Houston Police Department. The project, titled “Pardon Me 13,” aims to educate resi- dents about the soldiers’ story as well as their descendants’ petition to get them posthumously pardoned. It was commis- sioned under the Art League Houston and the city of Houston’s Insta11ations grant program aiming to commission one piece of public art in each of the city’s 11 council districts. www.insta11ations.com

RESTAURANTSWITH MORE SPACE Here are the participating area restaurants taking advantage of More Space, a city program allowing restaurants to add patio seating in their parking lots to help space out customers and reduce the spread of the coronavirus. A Phoenix on Westheimer 1915 Westheimer Road, Houston B Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.

2101 Summer St., Houston C Providence Heights Bar 1308 W. 20th St., Houston D Down The Street 5746 Larkin St., Houston

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HEIGHTS - RIVER OAKS - MONTROSE EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

TODO LIST

October-November events

Free Online Classes & Events for Houston Seniors

We’re Bringing the Fun toYOU! While COVID-19 has reduced our ability to gather in groups, it hasn’t stopped Partners in Primary Care fromcreating newways to serve our community and help keep local Houston seniors active and connected. We’re hosting safe, virtual online events just for you! They’re free and safe, with nothing to download and you don’t even need a camera. Invite your friends and join us through your computer, tablet or mobile device just by clicking on a link! Virtual Tours View our center tour so you can see what to expect as a patient!

OCT. 331

CELEBRATE BUFFALO BAYOU PARK’S FIFTHANNIVERSARY BUFFALO BAYOU PARK

A series of events in October will commemorate the anniversary of the opening of Bualo Bayou Park. The celebration is themed “Artful Anniversary” with virtual and in-person opportunities. 713-752-0314. www.bualobayou.org

LIVE STREAMED EVENTS: Oct. 10: "Songs on the Water" Singers from Houston Grand Opera will perform on a oating stage, and audiences are invited to join the cruise from the comfort of their own homes. 7 p.m. Oct. 17: "Take Me to the Water" The Urban Souls Dance Co. will perform inside the Bualo Bayou Park Cistern for a virtual subterranean performance. 7 p.m. Oct. 24: "Da Camera" Performances by a jazz quintet, a

partnering with MECA and Grupo de Teatra Índigo to honor Macario Ramirez of Casa Ramirez Gallery for Dia de los Muertos. The performance, “Coming Forth by Day,” will be livestreamed. 5 p.m. www.roco.org 11 THROUGH DEC. 11 SHOP THE VIRTUAL NUTCRACKERMARKET The Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market, celebrating its 40th year and previously scheduled for Nov. 11-15 at NRG Center, will be a monthlong virtual shopping event this year. The market, which supports the Houston Ballet, opens Nov. 11 for early-bird sales, then Nov. 12 for all shoppers. More than 200 merchants have signed on to participate, oering holiday items, home decor, gourmet food, apparel, jewelry, toys and gift items. 713-535-3231. www.nutcrackermarket.com 14 ATTENDAVIRTUAL BOOK TALK WITHMARGARET ATWOOD Margaret Atwood, the author of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” will bring her virtual book tour to Brazos Bookstore for a discussion of “Dearly,” her new collection of poems. Brazos Bookstore will facilitate the discussion of her latest work, which is her rst book of poetry since 2007. 7 p.m. $28-$32. 713-523-0701. www.brazosbookstore.com string quartet and a solo harpist will be recorded at dierent locations in Bualo Bayou Park and compiled into a lm. 7 p.m. AT THE PARK: Oct. 3-31: "Knitscape," a nature-themed knitted tapestry by Urban Yarnage, can be found at the Rosemont Bridge throughout the month. Oct. 22: "Estructuras Monumentales," an exhibition of outdoor sculptures by the 105-year-old, New York-based artist Carmen Herrera, are on view in Fondren Foundation Meadow through April 2021.

Virtual Health&Wellness Programs We host ongoing classes that help keep you healthy and informed: • Managing your health online classes • Nutrition classes and cooking demos

OCTOBER 05 THROUGH 11 COMPILED BY MATT DULIN & EMMA WHALEN

• ZoomBINGO • Zoom Trivia • SilverSneakers® and Zumba • &more!

SUPPORT THE VIRTUAL

BAYOU CITY ART FESTIVAL The Bayou City Art Festival, originally scheduled for Oct. 10-11 in downtown Houston, will be a virtual-only experience this year. The Bayou City Art Virtual Experience will feature an art auction, performances, art projects and more activities. 713-521-0133. After a several-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sawyer Yard’s Second Saturdays art market returned in September, allowing visitors to see the work of the artists in residence and browse the outdoor market. Noon-7 p.m. Free. 2101 Winter St., Houston. 713-993-9823. www.sawyeryards.com NOVEMBER 01 TUNE IN TOA CHAMBER PERFORMANCE www.artcolonyassociation.org 10 SEEWHAT’S NEWAT SAWYER YARDS The River Oaks Chamber Orchestra launches its “Connections” series,

5 locations in the Houston area: Baytown | Downtown East | Gulfgate | Jacinto City | Pasadena 7 locations opening in 2020: Beaumont | Conroe | Hiram Clarke | Humble Port Arthur | Sunnyside | Tidwell

GCHKU3PEN Partners in Primary Care does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex. ATENCIÓN: Si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-877-320-2188 (TTY: 711). 注意:如果您使用繁體中文,您可以免 費獲得語言援助服務。請致電 1-877-320-2188 (TTY: 711). Find fun virtual online events & activities at PartnersInPrimaryCare.com/events or call 713-581-6798 to learnmore.

Find more or submit local events at communityimpact.com/event-calendar. Event organizers can submit local events online to be considered for the print edition. Submitting details for consideration does not guarantee publication.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES HoustonBCycle sees record ridership in 2020

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN

Rides on the rise

Amid COVID-19, use of the bike rental program Bcycle has surged.

2019 2020

SOURCE: HOUSTON BCYCLECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Houston’s nonprot bike rental program, BCycle, saw yet another record-setting month of ridership in August with close to 34,000 trips logged, and ocials anticipate inter- est to strengthen into the fall. “We’ve set a new record almost every month since inception, but with COVID[-19] we are really seeing extraordinary numbers. Honestly I think there’s a potential for it to increase even more,” Communica- tions Director Henry Morris said. “August was really hot, and we had the most rides we’ve ever had.” With the increased use, Bcycle is managing more bike repairs than usual as well, meaning a slightly reduced capacity is available, so once repairs are caught up, more bikes

will hit the road just as slightly cooler temperatures could arrive, Morris said. Along with repairs and main- tenance, the organization also announced Sept. 3 it implemented a credit card preauthorization of $26 for each rental to encourage correct returns of bikes into their docking stations. Typically, bikes rent for $3 for 30 minutes, but the group noticed a trend of some bikes being improp- erly returned—not fully docked or simply left near a station—leading to racked-up charges. It also noticed a specic increase in the use of prepaid debit cards, which could have limited balances, leading a bike to be checked out and potentially never returned.

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The new preauthorization, which does not charge the card, is hoped to prevent this, Morris said. If riders see an improperly docked bike, they are asked to go ahead and dock it. Unattended bikes should be reported to 713-865-3662.

Riders can also purchase a member- ship plan for $13 a month for unlim- ited one-hour rides. BCycle’s system of 111 stations and 800 bikes is slated to expand further in 2020 with 19 new stations as well as an expanded oering of electric bikes.

PROPOSED PROJECTS

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Brazos Street bridge reconstruction After a hiatus to review new design options, the city of Houston has resumed work to complete the rebuild of the Brazos Street bridge. The contractor is paving the south and north ends of the bridge, and additional deck work will continue this fall, including installing steel and electrical items. Cost: $4 million

Cottage Grove East paving and drainage A project to update stormwater drainage and repave neighborhood streets in Cottage Grove is being re-evaluated under the new Atlas 14 drainage standards. It was originally programmed for 2020 construction but is now expected to have a contract by spring 2021, ocials said. Cost: $18.72 million Timeline: fall 2021-2023 Funding source: city of Houston

Ashland Street reconstruction A project to bring new concrete paving, storm drain- age, curbs, sidewalks, driveways, street lighting and underground utilities to Ashland Street in the Heights was out for bids in September. The improvements are limited to a stretch of road between West 11th Street to West Ninth Street. Timeline: spring 2021-fall 2021 Cost: $1.79 million Funding source: city of Houston

Timeline: fall 2019-winter 2020 Funding source: city of Houston

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF SEPT. 30. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT HRMNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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HEIGHTS  RIVER OAKS  MONTROSE EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

SEEING A PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR Is Still Important

For everything from annual checkups to managing chronic conditions, taking care of your health should always be a priority. Houston Methodist primary care doctors are still available to provide personalized care for you and your family — safely. We offer a variety of convenient ways to get care from us, from same-day sick visits to extended hours at select locations. And, you can be confident that we are taking every necessary precaution to keep you safe during your visit, including:

Screening all patients, and seeing COVID-19 patients virtually only — allowing us to treat everyone safely

Ensuring social distancing in waiting rooms

Offering video visits with your doctor

Wearing masks while providing care

Adding evening and Saturday hours to space out appointments

Enhanced cleaning of equipment and surfaces

houstonmethodist.org/pcg Call or text: 713.394.6724

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

HOUSING Gov. GregAbbott to allocate $171M fromCARES Act to help renters at risk

To sign the declaration a tenant must: • Earn less than $99,000 per year or $198,000 per household • Have experienced substantial loss of income due to job loss, reduced hours or medical costs • Have attempted to make partial rent payments • Have attempted to obtain rental assistance though any government assistance program • Would, if evicted, become homeless or forced into a living situation that does not promote social distancing, such as with an outside family member or friend the CDC moratorium H ow i t wo r k s : At any point in the eviction process, tenants may be able to prevent eviction by giving a formal declaration to their landlord stating they cannot pay rent because of the pandemic. Where to apply for rent relief or donate funds: City of Houston and Harris County Rent Relief Fund www.bakerripleyrenthelp.com

Houston pulls out of joint county task force

BY SANDRA SADEK

BY EMMA WHALEN

assistance, and $4.2 million will go to the Texas Supreme Court to help the state’s legal aid sta and lawyers provide basic services to eligible Texans. “The Texas Eviction Diversion Program is crucial to our state’s response to COVID-19, and it will help many families recover from the impact of the pandemic without the looming threat of eviction,” Abbott said in the release. “This innovative partnership, coupled with the renters assistance pro- vided through CARES Act funding, will strengthen our economic recov- ery eorts and provide a lifeline to renters and property owners alike.” Details on the application process were not available at press time.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Sept. 25 the allocation of over $171 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to help Texans at risk of becoming homeless because of eviction. The Supreme Court of Texas, the Texas Oce of Court Administra- tion, and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Aairs will work with local governments, nonprots and the newly created Texas Eviction Diversion Program to help renters stay in their homes, catch up on rental payments and avoid eviction. According to a press release from the governor’s oce, $167 million will go toward targeted rental

Mayor Sylvester Turner on Sept. 11 pulled the city out of a joint housing stability task force it formed with Harris County to nd ways to prevent evictions during the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, Turner opted to take the task force’s duties in-house to Houston City Council’s Housing and Community Aairs Committee. The task force, by contrast, was made up of some elected ocials as well as landlord and tenant advocates, and reported to both Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Turner. Turner previously refused to accept its recommendation for a rent grace period. Instead, he argued that the city and county’s rent relief programs would be a more eective solution.

Texas Supreme Court issues order strengthening CDC eviction ban

EVICTIONS IN HARRIS COUNTY BY WEEK

Texas Supreme Court strengthens CDC order

CDC issues moratorium

BY EMMA WHALEN

Despite the added protections, neither order prevents landlords from ling evictions. As of Sept. 25, 1,300 evictions have been led in Harris County, according to data analytics rm January Advisors. Moreover the CDC order can be interpreted dier- ently by justice of the peace courts, said Richard Tomlinson, an attorney with Lone Star Legal Aid. “Most tenants who ll these out are going to really t the qualications, but I don’t know how landlords are going to respond or how this rule is going to be applied in [justice of the peace courts],” he said.

by allowing judges to ask tenants if they have heard about the declaration during an eviction hearing. It also requires that all eviction lings must also include copies of the form. “The CDC order was poorly written, allowing landlords to continue evict- ing many working people who should have been protected,” said Henry Khalil, executive director of the Texas Gulf Coast AFLCIO in a statement. “The Court did the right thing today; now city, county, and state ocials must act to ll the gaps in the CDC order so we can keep everyone housed.”

The Texas Supreme Court issued an order Sept. 17 adding additional renter protections to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction moratorium that took eect Sept. 4. The CDC order allows tenants to give landlords a declaration form that can block their eviction by stating they are unable to pay rent due to nancial hardship caused by the coro- navirus pandemic. The order remains in eect through Dec. 31, and unpaid rent must still be paid back. The Texas Supreme Court order adds an additional layer of protection

SOURCES: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL, JANUARY ADVISORSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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HEIGHTS  RIVER OAKS  MONTROSE EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

CITY& COUNTY

News from Harris County and Houston

COMPILED BY EMMA WHALEN

HPDadopts cite-and-release for low-level crimes HOUSTON The Houston Police

HIGHLIGHTS HOUSTON Mayor Sylvester Turner on Sept. 16 announced a collaboration with the solid waste department, public works, the parks department and various neighborhood groups to promote a public awareness campaign against littering of personal protective equipment as well as illegal dumping. HARRIS COUNTY In-person jury trials in the county’s district courts resumed as of Sept. 14 with COVID-19 precautions, including social distancing, temperature checks, and the use of hand- sanitizing stations and face masks. Jury selection takes place at NRG Arena, a venue chosen for its size and ability to house a large number of people safely.

Sewage being used to detect potential COVID19hot spots HOUSTON Using a technique pop- ularized during the polio outbreak of the 1940s and ‘50s, scientists in Houston are testing the city’s wastewater to more quickly target emerging coronavirus hot spots. “This is not the rst time that Houston has suered a major infectious disease problem, and it might not be the last, either,” said Dr. Anthony Maresso, an associate professor at Baylor College of Med- icine and member of the city’s new testing project. “In the ‘40s and ‘50s, polio would ravage Houston ... and was a seasonal hot spot in the country.” Researchers with Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University have been collecting samples from Houston’s 39 wastewater treatment plants since May in collabora- tion with the Houston Health Department. So far, the information indicates the virus is on the decline in Hous- ton and following the trends seen in test positivity rates, ocials said Sept. 24. The wastewater data provides more ne-tuned information about the virus because it is collected from the wastewater systems serving the entire city, including and made possible under state law, applies to possession of under four ounces of a controlled substance, criminal mischief costing less than $750 in damages, grati causing less than $2,500 in damages, theft or theft of service valued less than $750, and driving without a license. It does not apply to non-Harris County residents or to those on pro- bation or parole or with outstanding warrants. Oenders cited under the new pol- icy will still have to appear in court, Turner said, but will not be brought to the Harris County jail. HPD estimates that 3,000 cases in Houston would have fallen under the

policy if it was in place in 2019. Individual police ocers will have discretion when applying the policy, but they must receive permission from superiors and le reports explaining each exemption, Houston police chief Art Acevedo said. HPD will publish a monthly report on the policy, Acevedo said, includ- ing data on the race and ethnicity of oenders as well as the numbers exempted and still taken to jail. Turner said these reports and crime trend data will be used to adjust the policy as necessary. “This is not a matter of being soft on crime,” Acevedo said. “It’s a matter of being smart on crime.”

Houston adds new supports for victims of domestic violence HOUSTON The Mayor’s Oce of Human Tracking is expanding its scope to respond to domestic violence concerns, the city announced Sept. 14. Since the pandemic began, the Houston Area Women’s Center has experienced a 40% increase in calls for help, ocials said. “We know there is a common thread among domestic abuse survi- vors and human tracking survivors,” said Minal Patel Davis, the director of the expanded oce. The new role includes partnering with domestic violence support agencies throughout the city. One of its rst initiatives is to connect survivors to a 30-day skills training program called Makr Collec- tive, hosted by the local sustainable fashion nonprot Magpies & Peacocks, to help develop entrepreneurial skills and gain employment opportunities. Domestic abuse and human track- ing survivors need an average of $700 to escape an abusive relationship, said Emily Whitehurst, the president of the Houston Area Women’s Shelter. “Too often we call them victims, and we see them through the lens of their trauma and victimhood,” White- hurst said. “This program sees them through the lens of their strength and potential.” Department implemented a new cite- and-release policy for some low-level oenses starting Sept. 29. Mayor Sylvester Turner signed an executive order Sept. 28 formalizing the policy so that during his and future administrations, it will remain under the mayor’s discretion rather than the police chief’s. “We have 5,300 police ocers covering 640 square miles,” Turner said. “The question is how can we best utilize them and their time while simultaneously protecting the community.” The policy, which follows guide- lines established by Harris County

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University found the amount of the coronavirus in Houston sewage mirrored test positivity trends. WASTEWATER TESTING FOR COVID19 Wastewater viral load trend and clinical positivity rate through Sept. 14

50%

10 10.5 11 11.5 12 12.5 13

40%

30%

20%

10%

0%

July 1

Aug. 1

Sept. 1

SOURCE: HOUSTON HEALTH DEPARTMENTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

out how much of Houston’s popula- tion has already been infected with the virus, according to the health department. However, that estimate has not yet been determined. By receiving weekly updates from Baylor and Rice, the health depart- ment nds which neighborhoods to target with mobile testing and public awareness campaigns. “If we nd it in a neighborhood, we get our teams to go door to door and encourage residents to get tested because when you get tested as an individual you know how to protect your family members,” Persse said. The data can also be narrowed down by ZIP code or to specic loca- tions such as the Harris County Jail or homeless shelters, Persse said.

both symptomatic and asymp- tomatic individuals who may not get tested. By analyzing the water weekly, the information is also received more quickly than from the results of nasal and saliva swab tests, which can get caught up in overburdened test labs, Houston Emergency Medical Director Dr. David Persse said. “There have been times that we’ve seen 5,000 clinical tests for COVID-19 per day. This is compared to the 2.1 million people covered by our wastewater system,” said Dr. Loren Hopkins, the chief envi- ronmental science ocer for the Houston Health Department. In the future, the researchers may be able to use the data to nd

12

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

GUIDE

Candidates and information for November elections

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN

VOTER GUIDE 2020

DATES TOKNOW

WHERE TOVOTE Harris County residents can cast a ballot at any voting center in the county, including several 24-hour voting centers on Oct. 29, as well as drive-thru voting at various locations. Find more voting centers at www.harrisvotes.com.

OCT. 13 First day of early voting OCT. 23 Last day to apply for ballot by mail* OCT. 30 Last day of early voting NOV. 3 Election Day *DATE RECEIVED, NOT POSTMARKED

SAMPLE BALLOT

POLLING LOCATIONS

*Incumbent

D Democrat

G Green

I Independent

L Libertarian

R Republican

*Also early voting

D Drive-in voting available

Poe Elementary School 5100 Hazard St., Houston

Heights High School 560 East 14th St., Houston Helms Community

Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3 R Bert Richardson* D Elizabeth Davis Frizell Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 4 R Kevin Patrick Yeary* D Tina Clinton Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 9 R David Newell* D Brandon Birmingham LOCAL U.S. House District 2 R Daniel Crenshaw* D Sima Ladjevardian L Elliott Scheirman U.S. House District 7 D Lizzie Fletcher* R Wesley Hunt L Shawn Kelly U.S. House District 9 R Johnny Teague D Al Green* L J ose Sosa U.S. House District 18 R Wendell Champion I Vince Duncan D Sheila Jackson Lee* L Luke Spencer Texas House District 137 D Gene Wu* L Lee Sharp Texas House District 148

African American Library 1300 Victor St., Houston Bering United Methodist Church 1440 Harold St., Houston Crockett Elementary School 2112 Crockett St., Houston Field Elementary School 703 E. 17th St., Houston First Cumberland Presbyterian Church 2119 Avalon Place, Houston Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council 3000 Southwest Freeway, Houston Gregory Lincoln Education Center 1101 Taft St., Houston HOAPV Community Building 1810 Bluebonnet Place Circle, Houston *Hampton Inn and Suites 5820 Katy Freeway, Houston *Hampton Inn Galleria 4500 Post Oak Parkway, Houston

R Luis La Rota D Penny Morales Shaw Texas State Board of Education District 6 L Whitney Bilyeu R Will Hickman D Michelle Palmer HARRIS COUNTY District attorney D Kim Ogg* R Mary Nan Human County attorney R John Nation D Christian Dashaun Menefee Sheri R Joe Danna D Ed Gonzalez* County tax assessor- collector R Chris Daniel D Ann Harris Bennett* L Billy Pierce Harris County Department of Education, At-Large Place 5

NATIONAL

President R Donald J. Trump* D Joseph R. Biden L Jo Jorgensen G Howie Hawkins U.S. Senate R John Cornyn* D Mary “MJ” Hegar L Kerry Douglas McKennon G David B. Collins STATEWIDE Texas Railroad Commission R James “Jim” Wright D Chrysta Castañeda L Matt Sterett G Katija “Kat” Gruene Supreme Court, Chief Justice R Nathan Hecht* D Amy Clark Meachum Supreme Court, Place 6 R Jane Bland* D Kathy Cheng Supreme Court, Place 7 R Je Boyd* D Staci Williams L William Bryan Strange III Supreme Court, Place 8 R Brett Busby* D Gisela D. Triana L Tom Oxford

*Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church D 2025 W. 11th St., Houston River Oaks Elementary School 2008 Kirby Drive, Houston River Oaks Recreation Center 3600 Locke Lane, Houston Saint Luke’s Missionary Baptist Church 714 Detering St., Houston *SPJST Lodge No. 88 1435 Beall St., Houston Trinity Lutheran Church Downtown 800 Houston Ave., Houston University of Saint Thomas 3800 Montrose Blvd., Houston *West End Multi Service Center 170 Heights Blvd., Houston WoodrowWilson Elementary School 2100 Yupon St., Houston

Learning Center 503 W. 21st St., Houston IPSP 5525 Kansas St., Houston

Lanier Middle School 2600 Woodhead St., Houston Lazybrook Baptist Church 1822 W. 18th St., Houston Love Park Community Center 1000 W. 12th St., Houston Memorial Elementary School 6401 Arnot St., Houston Metropolitan MultiService Center 1475 W. Gray St., Houston Montrose Branch Houston Public Library 4100 Montrose Blvd., Houston Mount Sinai Baptist Church Family Life Center 902 W. Eighth St., Houston

R Bob Wolfe D Erica Davis

Harris County Department of Education, At-Large Place 7

R Don Sumners* D Andrea Duhon

VOTER TURNOUT Texas

2012 presidential election

2012 presidential election

Harris County

For more election information, visit communityimpact. com/vote .

7.99M

13.65M

1.19M

2M

Turnout Registered voters

2014 gubernatorial election

2014 gubernatorial election

Turnout Registered voters

4.73M

14.03M

679K

2.06M

2016 presidential election

2016 presidential election

8.97M

15.1M

1.3M

2.23M

SOURCES: TEXAS SECRETARY OF STATE OFFICE’S WEBSITE, HARRIS COUNTY COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

2018 gubernatorial election

2018 gubernatorial election

8.37M

15.79M

1.2M

2.36M

2020 primary election

2020 primary election

4.11M

16.21M

524K

2.37M

13

HEIGHTS  RIVER OAKS  MONTROSE EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

GOVERNMENT

2020 Voter Guide

VOTING Harris County gears up for potential record turnout inNovember election

The Harris County Clerk’s Office has taken on a number of initiatives to make voting safer and more accessible to voters during the coronavirus pandemic. DURING COVID-19 Harris County voters can cast ballots at any of the county’s polling centers during the early voting period and on Election Day. There are 2.4 MILLION registered voters in Harris County, and officials projected as many as 70%—or 1.7 MILLION —could cast ballots in this year’s election. WHERE TO VOTE

BY SHAWN ARRAJJ

are disabled, those who will not be in the county on Election Day or during the early voting period, and those who are in jail but are otherwise eligible to vote. In his Sept. 11 ruling, Judge R.K. Sandill said Paxton’s argument “ring[ed] hollow,” and Hollins himself has called the lawsuit “baseless” and “friv- olous.” Hollins said the county is complying with the Supreme Court stay but is prepared to move forward if a ruling comes down in their favor. Any mail ballot applications sent out would also include educational information explaining who is and is not eligible to vote by mail, Hollins said. “Fortunately, all vote-by-mail applications have already been delivered to Harris County voters aged 65 and above,” Hollins said in a Sept. 15 state- ment. “My office is prepared to send applications and educational materials to remaining registered voters at the conclusion of this baseless litigation.” Prior to the July primary runoff election, the county sent out nearly 400,000 mail ballot appli- cations to registered voters age 65 and older, and Hollins said about 50,000 of those were returned. About 80,000 people voted by mail during July elections, Hollins said. “The success of our outreach efforts in June and July is a clear indication the voters are concerned about their health at the polls,” Hollins said. The effort to boost mail ballot infrastructure is part of a larger $27 million plan to both prepare for and carry out the November election, including the implementation of 10 polling locations where voters can use drive-thru voting. A total of 121 early voting locations will be open starting Oct. 13, triple the number of early voting options in 2016. Hollins said he is aiming to have a record 808 locations open on Election Day. “We have a critical need for large facilities to serve as voting centers, and we left no stone unturned in our search,” he said.

Harris County is moving forward with prepara- tions for the November election, which officials said could feature record-breaking turnout in the middle of a pandemic. However, plans put in place by the Harris County Clerk’s Office to send mail ballot applica- tions to the county’s 2.4 million registered voters have been put in question after a lawsuit was filed and a stay issued by the Texas Supreme Court on Sept. 15. Harris County Clerk Christopher Hollins has identified mail voting as a crucial tool for voters to help keep people safe from the coronavirus. “This also makes it safer and more convenient for in-person voters. [It is] one less person to wait behind in line and one less person they might be exposed to at a voting center,” Hollins said. The Sept. 15 stay was the latest in a back-and- forth battle between the county and the state over whether Harris County has the legal authority to send mail ballots to all registered voters. After the clerk’s office first announced its plans in an Aug. 25 tweet, the Texas secretary of state’s office sent Hollins a letter ordering those plans to be halted. By Aug. 31, the Texas attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit. A state district judge gave the go-ahead to Harris County to send the applications in a Sept. 11 ruling, but Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed, prompting the Texas Supreme Court to block the county’s plans until the case fully plays out. Paxton has argued sending applications to all registered voters would confuse voters and poten- tially cause people who are not eligible to vote by mail to attempt to do so. Texas is one of six states that is not allowing all registered voters to vote by mail during the pandemic, Hollins said. Under state law, only certain voters are eligible to vote by mail—those who are ages 65 and older, those who

up from 46 in 2016 locations 121 early voting

projected Election Day voting locations 808

up from 785 in 2016

Drive-thru voting will be available at 10 LOCATIONS .

24-hour voting will be available at SEVEN LOCATIONS , including:

BERTNER AVE.

JOHN P. MCGOVERN TEXAS MEDICAL CENTER COMMONS 6550 Bertner Ave., Houston

BRAESWOOD BLVD.

HOLCOMBE BLVD.

N

HOW TO VOTE

Under Texas law, voting by mail is limited to people: ages 65 and older disabled outside of the county throughout the voting period in jail but otherwise eligible to vote

DATE TO KNOW

Mail ballot applications must be received by OCT. 23 .

NEW THIS YEAR

In addition to mailing ballots in, voters can drop off mail ballots at any of the county’s 11 ANNEXES on or before Election Day.

SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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