By Laura Smith

At the June meeting of the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA), homelessness issues were a hot topic. Mayor Hales has decreed that all vacant public buildings be evaluated for homeless shelters. According to a patrol officer at the meeting, the Portland Police Bureau’s SE precinct building was evaluated and ruled out.

Concerns about homeless campers in Mt. Tabor Park were voiced. Camping is not permitted in the park. Neighbors are worried about fires in the park. The first point of contact is City Hall’s phone number: 503.823.4000. The non-emergency number 503.823.3333 and 911 are also available as appropriate.

Other safety concerns in the neighborhood include recent incidents involving children being approached by strangers near Portland Public Schools. Parents are encouraged to discuss with their children what to do in those situations and to report any incidents to police.

Kevin Robinson, race director of the upcoming PDX Adult Soap Box Derby, says this will be the 19th year and the format will be the same as previous years. The Derby is working towards becoming a non-profit and restoring the children’s soap box derby track in Mt. Tabor Park. Traditionally held the third Saturday in August with clean up on the following day, MTNA supports the PDX Adult Soap Box Derby and appreciates the Derby folks always leaving the park cleaner than they found it. As in previous years, there will be intermittent amplified announcements throughout the day. Check their website for the exact date and details: soapboxracer.com.

Warner Pacific will be replacing ten hawthorn trees on SE 70th and two birch trees on/near SE Division over the summer. Crepe myrtles and serviceberries will be the replacements.

In land use news, current signs near the reservoirs that mention they contain drinking water will be replaced at a later date. Temporary signage reflecting the changes in the reservoirs will be applied until they are permanently replaced. The chain link fence between reservoir 5 and 6 will be replaced with a more design-appropriate barrier.  Reservoir 1 leaks and may need a liner.

For those concerned about the new asphalt near the entrance to the dog park, we have been told it will be assessed as the summer goes on.

The update on the Bus Rapid Transit project is that it is now being focused on Division only. This could result in stops being spaced out along Division. More discussion can be expected as this moves forward.

The Thorburn Safety Project is also moving forward. Neighbors have raised $15,000 of their $30,000 goal. SE Uplift has funds that were collected for speed bump projects years ago that may be able to be used.

The Cafe au Play site is vacant but stakeholders are figuring out possible new plans for the site. There will be at least two public meetings about the site in the future.

The Welcome Home Coalition consists of a number of groups focused on building affordable housing. There will be a city initiative on the November ballot.  Check out Portlandforeveryone.org and welcomehomecoalition.org for more info.

The MTNA website update committee has collected bids for a new website design as well as feedback from MTNA on the bids. Feedback is being presented to the proposers for consideration before a final decision is made.

Concerts in the Park and Movies in the Park schedules have been released.  Concerts in the Mt. Tabor Park caldera are on Tuesdays in July and start at 6:30 pm.  Inside Out will be the movie playing on Friday, July 29 at Warner Pacific. Pre-movie entertainment starts at 6:30 pm and the movie starts at dusk.

The next meeting of the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA) will be Wednesday, July 20 at 7 pm at Mt Tabor Presbyterian Church at SE 54th and Belmont, with a social time starting 6:50 pm.

For more information, visit mttaborpdx.org.