I am writing to express my emphatic support of the India Street clinic and its 20 years of service to Portland. I am a business owner, just around the corner from the clinic; I am a neighbor who lives on the Hill, and I am a former patient who has benefited from India Street’s services when times were tight and health insurance a fantasy.

Regardless of our circumstance, we are all served by this clinic, as those of our fellows in need are not left to wander the streets hopeless, alone and desperate; it’s a benefit to both our personal and business lives.

Ironically, many who ask about the support sign at my shop don’t know the clinic is there. This speaks volumes to the greatest benefit of its location – anonymity. That it is hidden in plain sight meant I could seek the help I needed in confidence. To be clear, the services I sought ranged from general health checkups to making sure I hadn’t done permanent damage to myself during some of my more poorly thought-out engagements.

In the city’s recently revised (November 2015) India Street Form-based Code, there is a clear and powerful statement that directly supports maintaining the clinic’s location.

“The intent of the India Street Code Zone is to establish a district that encourages a mixed-use district, preserves and values the existing historic neighborhood fabric, and fosters and supports local businesses and residential areas” (Portland City Code, Chapter 14, Section 14-275.1).

By providing anonymous health screenings, HIV testing and a successful needle exchange, addressing risky behaviors and dealing with children’s and women’s health and safety, our clinic is an essential thread in that exact “existing historic neighborhood fabric.” And I am that business, and that resident.