By Laura Smith

The March meeting of the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA) was lightly attended. We discussed issues important to our neighborhood, so we would love to see more of you at our future meetings on the third Wednesday of each month. The Mount Tabor Neighborhood website is mttaborpdx.org.

A discussion about historic districts provided observations that there are strong opinions on both sides of the issue. MTNA is researching whether the entire neighborhood or certain areas might qualify as a historic district.

The Division Transit Project is moving forward to serve SE Division (not Powell). General feelings among neighbors in attendance at March’s MTNA meeting were that the project would not serve inner Division well because of current traffic issues there, and articulated buses had not worked in the past in Portland and would only compound current traffic problems and service delays. While SEUL has continued to oppose the project, MTNA has not taken an official position.

Portland United Against Hate is a community initiated partnership of community based organizations, neighborhood associations, concerned communities and the City of Portland, that reports and tracks hateful acts and provides support and protection to combat oppression. PUAH has asked MTNA to join them and MTNA voted to endorse them. For information about the partnership, go to nwnw.org/portland-united-against-hate.

Donate Life Northwest, an eye and tissue donation nonprofit organization, announced that this year’s third annual Tabor Trot will be held Saturday, May 27, from 10 am-Noon.

SE PDX Run Club meets at SE 65th and SE Foster and is looking for more runners. Contact them at FoPo Run Club on Facebook.

At the Community Conversation meeting held March 9 about future use for the Mt. Tabor Park Long Block area (between SE Harrison and Lincoln Street from SE 60th to SE 64th Ave.), neighbors expressed concerns that its proposed uses for holding nursery plant stock and expanding the community garden would reduce the open space. However, others felt that these proposed uses would benefit the entire community by discouraging future sale of the property to commercial development.

The off-leash area in the park has been replanted.

The City Budget Office (CBO) has recommended not awarding the coming fiscal year’s budget allocation ($1 million of the $4 million committed by City Council) for the Tabor Restoration project. MTNA fought hard for these funds to be used to repair the crumbling historic structures in Mt. Tabor Park which the City has not been maintaining for many years. MTNA will continue their efforts to work with the City to make sure promised repairs are completed.

The Tabor Commons/Cafe au Play space at SE 56th and SE Division is now available for lease. Contact Habitate Property Management for details at 503.358.5773 about renting this space for the next two years while long-term plans are determined.

MTNA will not hold a springtime neighborhood cleanup event, but are considering a fall event. Further research is needed about finding ways to keep prohibited materials (like asbestos) out of the collection bins to avoid fines.

The Friends of Mt. Tabor Park (FMTP) annual meeting took place March 14, where Dennis Puetz (foot patrol coordinator) was awarded as Friend of the Year, Honorary Friends Membership went to Johannes Venghaus (senior park tech), and current board members were re-elected (Susan McCarthy, Martrese White, Laura Mason). Recent accomplishments of FMTP include funding the drinking fountain near the visitor center, split-rail fence above the road near the playground, and Weed Warrior coordinator and training. The annual FMTP picnic will be Tuesday, August 8, at Picnic Area A Visitors Center, and all are welcome.

Funding of the Weed Warrior Stewardship from the Bureau of Environmental Services and Portland Parks ends June 30 when the Tabor to the River work ends. FMTP is looking for new funding sources to continue ongoing work to control invasive species.

Consider joining as an FMTP member for as little as $15 for an annual fee. Members get a beautiful electronic newsletter and annual report. Check out the FMTP website: taborfriends.org.

The next meeting of the MTNA will be Wednesday, April 19, 7 pm at Mt Tabor Presbyterian Church at SE 54th and Belmont, with social time and homemade cookies starting 6:50 pm.

Visit mttaborpdx.org for more.