By Laura Smith

January’s neighborhood association meeting opened with information about more proposed housing development in the neighborhood and other city planning news. The southwest corner of SE 50th Ave. and Division St. is slated for redevelopment with multifamily housing above a street level Green Zebra convenience store. Portland Parks Bureau declared the property currently occupied by Y’s Choice at SE 60th and Stark as surplus. As a result, Portland Housing Bureau stepped forward to acquire the property for redevelopment. Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association endorses mixed use development on the site that includes Y’s Choice and affordable housing.
Metro’s Powell-Division Transit Development Project has offered up two route options for transitioning between Powell and Division – a crossover that uses SE 50th and 52nd Avenues or one that uses SE 82nd Ave. The neighborhood association supports the 82nd Ave. option because the 50th/52nd Avenue option is untenable due to current traffic problems.
Neighborhood association members met recently with Commissioner Fish to discuss zoning changes affecting Portland Nursery and the surrounding neighborhood, as well as a request for refinement of the Upper Hawthorne Comprehensive Plan to a lower-intensity commercial zone to reflect the current transportation plan for the area. If you are interested in finding out about Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan and zoning issues affecting the Mt. Tabor neighborhood, attend a meeting Monday, February 29, 7:30-8 pm at Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church at SE 54th and Belmont.
Portland Police Officer David McGarry’s report of an increase in the homeless population along SE 82nd Ave. led to a discussion about Portland’s problem of homelessness affecting all neighborhoods and what we might do about it. The Overlook and Mt. Scott/Arleta neighborhood associations have written letters to the Mayor and City Council, asking for specific actions which include requiring homeless camps to register with the city and provide the names of the homeless campers. Vahid Brown, an advocate for the homeless, said this is creating concerns for homeless victims of domestic abuse and members of the LGBT community who fear further victimization if their location becomes public information.
MTNA passed a motion to support efforts to create safe places for people to sleep, to give neighborhood associations a voice in the development of effective and appropriate policies and strategies to serve the needs of people who are un-housed in our community, and to develop a specific, codified permit process with clear rules and expectations for the siting and management of tent camps in our community.
Adding to the discussion of housing people, Oregon State Representative and Chair of Human Services and Housing, Allissa Keny-Guyer, gave an update on current housing legislation she is promoting which includes preservation of affordable housing, converting market rate housing into affordable housing with incentives for developers, increasing the number of shelters, raising document recording fees to increase revenue for emergency housing efforts, and crafting rent increase rules to protect renters. For more, go to her website: oregonlegislature.gov/keny-guyer
The Thorburn safety project is moving along. City engineers have completed their analysis and suggestions to calm traffic include installing 10 or more speed cushions along Thorburn and reducing speeds to 25 mph on Thorburn and 30 mph on Burnside St.
Cafe au Play, owned by SE Uplift, is closed due to losing their long-time volunteer who ran day-to-day operations. A community outreach visioning process is currently underway to determine the next stage in the life of this property.
For dog owners who use Mt. Tabor Park, Nancy Norby is working with the Water Bureau about access to the dog park during the reservoir disconnection activity. As a reminder, there are hotlines for reservoir disconnect construction issues and updates. For updates, go to: portlandoregon.gov/water/64097. For human contact, call or email Terry Black, Sr. Community Outreach, 503.823.1168 or terry.black@portlandoregon.gov.
Mark your calendars. The Mt. Tabor and North Tabor neighborhood associations have chosen April 30 for this year’s co-hosted neighborhood cleanup. It will be in the parking lot of Mt. Tabor Middle School.
Tabor Trot which will take place in Mt. Tabor Park May 28. This family-friendly event is an awareness and fundraising event for Donate Life Northwest, an eye, organ and tissue donation outreach organization. For info about Tabor Trot, go to donatelifenw.org.
MTNA’s website needs some help. If you or anyone you know is interested in being a webmaster or helping with MTNA’s web page development, contact Katy Asher at SE Uplift 503.232.0100 ext 319.
The next meeting of the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association will be Wednesday, February 17 at 7 pm at Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church at SE 54th and Belmont (downstairs in the dining hall). Social time starting at 6:50 pm. For more information, visit mttaborpdx.org.