By Nancy Tannler
Eastside Village PDX is a group of like-minded people living on Portland’s east side who have come together to develop resources they will need to age comfortably in their own homes. (See southeastexaminer.com archives Eastside Village PDX–A plan for aging in place January 2013)
The Southeast Examiner spoke with several locals who’ve been involved in the Eastside Village to find out how the project is evolving.
Mary Tinkham and her husband came to Portland two years ago to be close to their sons. They were from Boston where the first aging-in-place Beacon Hill Village was started and were looking for a retirement-type situation. Nothing met their desires until they found Eastside Village. At the time Mary’s husband had health complications and needed care.
So they bought a one story house in SE and Mary began attending meetings about how to proceed. “I got involved right away because I knew this was something I could do,” she said. They have planning meetings and potlucks where as many as 40-45 people are in attendance. She said that, as well as being informational the meetings have been fun because she’s met new people.
The Eastside PDX is still in it’s formative stages. “We are recruiting more members and have organized committees,” she said. “We have a good idea of what services and help a person will need to stay in their home.” It’s all-volunteer right now but the hope is to eventually hire a part-time staff person and have a physical office so there is a consistent go-to person.
The group has mapped out different existing social services so they don’t have to duplicate those already available. Services like RideConnection transports people all over the city. Most aging citizens just need volunteers to help with things like grocery shopping or changing a light bulb and checking in once in awhile to make sure they are all right.
“Who I see really benefiting from the village concept are adult children who do not live by their parents,” Tinkham said. They can have peace of mind knowing that someone will be there to help.
Another volunteer of the Eastside Village PDX is Amy Morrison. At 35, she is the youngest volunteer. She believes the Village gives her a chance to share skills and build community.
“We’ll need all ages of volunteers willing to provide direct services to future Village members. The Village will be able to support not just older individuals who need services, but the families that currently support them,” she said.
Morrison is on the Eastside Village Governing Council and Chair of the Volunteer Team. She’s been volunteering for over a year and got involved while transitioning her career path. She wanted to practice skills in volunteer management and organizing.
Both Tinkham and Morrison see the Eastside Village as having a successful future. There are over 100 villages throughout the United States including Ashland, Bend and Eugene.
“The Eastside Village represents a new model of community building that serves a vital need,” Morrison said.
There’s still lots to be done though. “Right now we need more volunteers and someone to run the social network aspect,” Tinkham said.
Eastside Village PDX service area will cover all or part of 13 Portland neighborhoods: Buckman, Kerns, Laurelhurst, Sunnyside, North Tabor, Montavilla, Hazelwood (west of 122nd), Hosford-Abernethy, Richmond, Mt Tabor, Mill Park, South Tabor, and Powellhurst-Gilbert (north of Powell).
The group is working on fundraising so they will have the budget to open the first part of next year. To find out more, contact 503.866.0571 or see eastsidevillage.org.