Community News November

Save your seeds

Grow Portland, a nonprofit organization dedicated to urban gardening, is starting a program to train local gardeners on how to save seeds and to create a seed sharing network.

Seed saving preserves plant diversity and creates plants well-suited to their environment. The program will preserve and improve local seed variety by increasing seed sharing and knowledge of seeds.

Identifying unique or special seeds cultivated in local gardens, Grow Portland is working to form a new seed library and gather the stories behind these seeds. These seeds will be shared with local nonprofit and educational gardens and will be shared with the public at an annual seed-sharing event.

“We know that many gardeners save delicious and productive seeds that are not available commercially,” said Grow Portland Director, David Beller. “My neighbor Oliver gave me his collard green seeds this year that I’m now growing in my garden. He grew up as a sharecropper in Alabama before moving to NE Portland. For sixty years, he has been saving seeds from different collard green varieties that people have given him. These different varieties have cross-pollinated over the years, creating a strong variety that is specially adapted to our local conditions.”

The organization is searching for varieties like these collards that have links to local history and reflect the ethnic diversity of our community.

The new program will bring local gardeners together to share and support each other’s seed saving efforts. Local seed saving helps lower the cost of gardening and enhance biodiversity. Grow Portland’s Seed Saving program is affiliated with the national Seed Savers Exchange Community Seed Resource Program and National Seed Swap Day.

FREE SEED SAVING CLASSES – Gardeners can learn more about the art and science of seed saving with free classes delivered by Grow Portland at Multnomah County Library locations. Class dates are: November 12, 2 – 5 pm at Holgate Library and November 13, 1 – 4 pm at Midland Library. Register for both libraries at

For more information, visit


Community Energy workshops

Weatherization – Free workshop where participants learn how to stop drafts in their home, especially around doors and windows to save energy and increase comfort. Great for renters too. Qualified participants receive a free kit of weatherization supplies. Thursday, November 10, 6:30 – 8:30 pm and Tues., Nov. 15, 6 – 8:30 pm.

 Lead Poisoning Prevention Workshop: Thurs, Nov. 17, 6 – 7:30 pm.

Lead-Safe Home Projects Workshop – Before any demo, scraping, sanding, or remodeling in pre-1978 housing, this is the class  for you. Great for people who want to do a small project that may involve exposure to lead paint, such as sanding down an old window frame or a reused door with potential lead paint, or a small construction project in an older home.  Wednesday, November 9, 6:30 – 8 pm.

All these workshops are held at the Community Energy Project, 2900 SE Stark St Suite A. Register for all workshops at or call 503.284.6827×109.


Recycle tips

By Bonita Davis, Master Recycler and Sunnyside resident

Storing Paint Painting a room or a home exterior is a great way to transform a home into an enjoyable living space.  At starting prices of $25-$40 per gallon, the investment needs to be handled with care. Storing paint for future projects or for touch-ups can be tricky in the cool, rainy Portland weather.

Prevent paint loss and deterioration when finished with a project by wiping the rim of the can and resealing the metal lid by tapping with a hammer.

Experts at Powell Paint shared additional tips: Avoid storing paint directly on basement or garage concrete floors. Paint absorbs moisture through the concrete.   Store on a shelf, and at temperature of 50°-95°F.

Transfer small amounts of paint to smaller containers. The less air, the better to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Rust on the rim indicates moisture has been present. Paint stored for more than 2-3 years should be checked and transferred into the container with less air space.  Paint that has “gone bad” will smell differently, have a thicker, uneven texture and will dry less quickly due to the failure of drying agent additives.

Offer up unused paint or recycle it. Always consult the website or call to make sure the agency can accept your donation.  Some possibilities: Scrap PDX, 1736 SW Alder, 503.294.0769,; Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 10445 Cherry Blossom Dr., 503.283.6247,, or offer up what you don’t need at

Recycle paint close to home at over a dozen SE businesses, including Powell Paint at 5205 SE Powell Ave. 503.775.3642,

Metro Hazardous Waste on NW 61st accepts large volumes of paint and a variety of other hazardous household materials.  Learn more at

Find a Recycler Tool or call the Metro Recycling Hotline 503.234.3000.

New installment at Grottogrotto

The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, popularly known as The Grotto, 8840 NE Skidmore St. has erected a shrine celebrating the Virgin of Guadalupe’s appearance 485 years ago! Two mosaics featuring her image are being installed – the creation of artists Mark Brody and Hector Hernandez.

The Roman Catholic outdoor shrine and sanctuary was constructed in 1924 by Friar Ambrose Mayer, a native of Ontario, Canada. The sanctuary covers 62 acres and is set both at the foot of and on top of a 110-foot cliff.

A large meditation hall with a main chamber at clifftop level extends down to the foot of the cliff and the cross on the hall is visible miles away. In addition to a church, there are several thousand feet of trails, including a trail of the Stations of the Cross, along which visitors may pass in contemplation through the botanical gardens.

The final installation for the Guadalupe shrine will be installed on December 12 during the Festival of Lights celebration.

LWV Considers Election Methods…Is There a Better Way to Vote?

The League of Women Voters of Portland (LWV) will hold a panel presentation: Election Methods – Is There a Better Way to Vote? on Monday, November 14 from 7 to 9 pm.

Note: this public civic education meeting is AFTER the November 2016 election. A good time to discuss better ways to vote. The meeting will be held in the Multnomah County Board Room, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

The speakers the LWV have invited to discuss specific areas are:

  • Kristin Eberhard, LWV of Portland, (served on the LWV of Oregon Election Methods Study Update Committee) will describe the update findings.
  • Representative Dan Rayfield, OR for House District 16,will discuss the Benton County ranked choice voting initiative.
  • Lamar Wise (Legislative Director, Oregon Student Association),speaks on Election Methods Effects on Minority Representation and Youth Engagement.

Research Topics in Election Methods will be covered by a speaker TBA.

Barbara Dudley, (LWV of Portland member and adjunct professor of Political Science in PSU’s Mark O. Hatfield School of Government), will be the moderator.

This LWV Civic Education Program is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 pm.

The forum will be recorded by MetroEast Community Media for rebroadcast and online streaming from Funding for the recording is provided by the Multnomah Bar Foundation.

Community grants available

How would you use $4,000 to create and shape your community?

From intersection murals and emergency preparedness workshops to oral history projects and social justice dialogues, SE Uplift awards grants of up to $4,000 are available to nonprofits, grassroots groups, and project teams working on community driven projects.

Never applied for a grant before? Come to a grant workshop to learn how. The next one is Saturday, November 19, 10 am – 12:30 pm,  3534 SE Main St.

Applications are due January 10, 2017.

Questions? Contact Kelly at


Portland’s First Memory Café

What’s a Memory Café? The name conjures up the image of a room full of people reminiscing about the good old days. For people whose memory has been altered by disease, a memory cafe can be a lifeline.

Alzheimer’s and other medical dementias can cause people to lose social connections at a time when they are needed most. People with dementia may not remember their closest friends and family.  They may have no memory of the visitor they had yesterday, the TV show they watched 20 minutes ago or even that they just finished eating lunch. Short-term memories like these are the first things to be lost with all types of dementia.

Conversations are loaded with landmines – especially for a person in the earlier stages of dementia – years of social training (held in their long-term memories) make the person aware that there are appropriate things they should say and ways they should act.

They know instinctively what they should be doing though many times, they just can’t. Fear of saying or doing the wrong thing or maybe even experiences with people who don’t understand this way of being is their new normal may make them anxious in social situations.

For the family member providing care for someone with dementia, the isolation may be even harder. Many caregivers have to stop working. A trip to the grocery store may require finding someone to sit with their loved one. Seeing friends takes too much effort, and even when a caregiver is with other people, the other people may not understand just how all-consuming providing care is.

Memory Café gatherings are one way people with memory loss and their care companions can come together to make new friendships and support one another.

Dr. Bère Miesen, a Dutch psychologist, understood this need for social connection when he opened the first café in Holland in 1997. The idea spread rapidly through Europe and Great Britain and is only recently gaining traction in the US, where close to 200 cafés have opened in cities and towns across the country.

SE Portland will soon have its own memory café, one of the first here through a partnership with Emerson House Memory Care and Providence Elderplace, a PACE program.

“When I first read about Memory Cafés I knew this would be a perfect project for us,” says Melissa Fisher, Community Relations Director for Emerson House.

“Whenever a resident comes to Emerson House, we want to do something that will improve the person’s quality of life. Our goal is to help each person live as independently as possible for a long as possible.

“So much of our activity program is dedicated to helping people maintain their social skills and cognitive abilities. It made sense to me that people with dementia who are homebound need these same opportunities.”

“People who are involved with Memory Café will tell you these informal gatherings are also powerful community building events. By having the meetings in a public place, like a restaurant or café, it helps educate other customers about dementia and to take away the stigma that comes from lack of understanding,” says Fisher. “It also helps people facing similar challenges to give and receive a deeper level of support.”

Emerson House is hosting the Memory Café and participants receive regular, frequent contact from an integrated medical and social care team that provide and coordinate their care.

“Familiarity with each participant means even small changes in health and well-being can be addressed,” says Tory Thompson, ElderPlace Referral Development Specialist.  ElderPlace is able to provide services in one’s own home or in an assisted care setting for those who are Medicaid qualified.

Getting together regularly with a group of friends brings joy and a sense of normalcy to an existence that all too often becomes focused on disease and disability. Memory cafés can be a much-needed break from normal routines and a source of ideas, information and connection to other types of community support.

The first Emerson House/Providence Elderplace Memory Café is Wednesday, November 16 at 2 pm at Sckavone’s restaurant on 4100 SE Division St. The café is free; attendees are encouraged to purchase beverages and/or food from Sckavone’s to add to the social experience and to thank the restaurant for providing the space for the café. Walk-ins are welcome, but RSVPs are appreciated.

For questions about the Memory Café or to RSVP, please call Melissa Fisher at Emerson House at 503.234.8585 or Tory Thompson at Providence Elderplace at 503.215.0820.

16TH ANNUAL PRETTY KITTY HOLIDAY CRAFT BAZAAR November 19 at TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont from 10 am – 4 pm. This popular fundraiser benefits the non-profit House of Dreams Cat Shelter. A wide variety of hand-crafted one-of-a-kind gifts for people and their pets will be featured. There will be a raffle, silent auction and gently-used holiday decor. For information, see, 503.262.0763 or email

ELECTION DAY NOONDAY PRAYERS on Election Day, November 8 at Saints Peter & Paul Episcopal Church 247 SE 82nd Ave., on the corner of SE 82nd Ave. and Pine St. A noonday Prayer to pray for our city, our state, and our nation and the issues that face us all. Readings from Scripture, prayer, hymns, and silence included. The service will conclude by 12:45 pm. All are welcome. Saints Peter & Paul Episcopal Church is in the Montavilla neighborhood. For information, or call 503.254.8168.

38TH ANNUAL MOUNT HOOD MODEL ENGINEERS OPEN HOUSE – Basement level, child friendly viewing begins Nov. 5, 12, 19 and 26 from noon to 5 pm at 5500 SE Belmont. Suggested donation $3. The Mount Hood Model Engineers are a HO scale model railroad club with a history going back to the 1970’s. They operate the freelanced Mount Hood RR, a large member-built layout which encompasses almost 1200 square feet and has a mainline run of seven scale miles.

HAWTHORNE DIABETES GROUP NOVEMBER GATHERING –  November 17 at Colonial Hts. Presbyterian Church, 2828 SE Stephens St. from 7 – 8:30 pm. Welcome Dr. Elizabeth Stephens, endocrinologist, as she explores ways to team up with your health care provider, how to prepare for appointments, and how to build an open, strong relationship with your doctor to keep you healthy between visits. RSVP through For information, see $10 donation requested. No one will be turned away.

MONTAVILLA FOOD CO-OP is holding an Arts & Crafts Sale featuring locally-crafted pottery and glassware, soap, jewelry, and much more. 100% of the proceeds benefit the effort to establish a community owned grocery store in Montavilla. Last year’s craft sale raised over $6,000 for the co-op. November 26 (Small Business Saturday) at Wix Insurance, 8037 SE Stark 10 am – 4 pm,

2017 SE AREA ARTWALK planning is underway. Artists or supporters interested in participating follow these links below: Artist interested in applying? Applications and $55 fee due Nov. 15, 2016. See Business/Sponsor/Supporter ready to submit your information to participate?.Business/Sponsor/Supporter need more information? See Invoice balance due Jan. 15, 2017.

RIP  BRIEFING AND PUBLIC HEARINGS – Next month staff will give City Council a briefing on the Residential Infill Project (RIP) recommended concepts. After the briefing, Council will hold public hearings, followed by a vote by resolution giving staff direction to develop Zoning Code language and Zoning Maps to implement concepts they approve. November 9, 2 pm and November 16, 2 pm. All meetings will be held in Council Chambers at City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave. Public hearings will be broadcast live at

NET  Neighborhood Emergency Training

The curious sight of a truckload of barrels intended to store water for disaster relief emerged at the Western Seminary on Mt. Tabor last month. The barrels were loaded into cars to serve some 50 families should the Big One hit.

It was one of the more unusual activities during Oregon’s emergency preparedness month known as the Great Shakeout.

Calling Oregon, the “geologic twin of Japan”, a state spokesman said preparedness is essential given the likelihood of a massive Pacific Coast earthquake.

Officials confirm shakeout activities reached more than 500,000 participants this year via schools, businesses and neighborhood volunteer teams.

Portland’s Bureau of Emergency Management recommends neighbors take advantage of free training opportunities. One is a 30-hour program that teaches first responder skills from rescue operations to suppression of fires, a common hazard when the ground shakes.

Another program with a shorter time commitment is intended to teach citizens to serve as communication liaisons between citizens and first responders.

The bureau’s website lists a number of resources on the national, state and city level including Neighborhood Emergency Training known as NETs. Go to

Even those who can’t attend training, benefit from increasing awareness of Oregon’s susceptibility to either a subduction or a crustaceous-type quake that could happen here anytime.

PBEM spokeswoman Felicia Heaton says, “A basic thing to know is not to over-think disaster. Pick a preparedness source to learn some steps and just do it.”

Duck, cover and hold are three basic survival tactics. In other words, when the shaking starts, get under a sturdy table or chair if possible, cover your head and neck and hold on tight. Stay on your knees to protect vital organs until the quake stops.

One of the most important things people can do, she says, is free and simple. Sit down and formulate a communications plan. Make sure to identify a contact out of state that family and friends can reach.

On Mt. Tabor, neighborhood association board member Stephanie Stewart helped coordinate the barrel distribution as a pilot project in the hopes more block captains will step forward to provide potential disaster relief.

She said the collaboration to buy in bulk resulted in thousands of dollars of cost savings. (The barrel they chose is here:

The barrels serve a family of four. Survivors would need one gallon per day for up to two weeks. For two people, that equates to 28 gallons.

Karen Belsey, a key organizer of the barrel event, said, “A little bit of information gets people worried. A little bit more gets a person organized.”MP

Community News November

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