By Cathy Riddell

North Tabor Neighborhood Association’s annual meeting drew an audience of about 80 on a weeknight to meet with Mayor Ted Wheeler and, it was hoped, participate in board elections.

The meeting was heavily advertised, including with a mailing to every residence and business in the neighborhood, investment in new yard signs, and postings on social media. Due to fears that people might be turned away, the venue was changed to the gymnasium at Community of Christ, 4837 NE Couch, where Pastor Val Walker and her staff have generously provided NTNA with a variety of meeting spaces. The entrance to the meeting was indicated by Chuck Tubens’ handmade sandwich board sign, lit up and sitting atop his Studebaker wagon at the entrance.

The highlight was the listening session with Mayor Ted Wheeler moderated by board member Lars Kasch. The Mayor arrived early and made brief remarks including his awareness of polls showing general dissatisfaction with City government and his desire to turn that around. He added that he thought of himself as a transitional mayor because of the speed of changes happening in Portland and the larger world.

He mentioned that he too was finding himself learning new curse words while stuck in traffic. He wants to get partners from different sectors to work together on solutions. He gave as an example, cleanup along I-84 and needing to sit down with both the state, and the railroad, to figure out who owned the property.

Concerns from the audience included crime, density, homelessness and traffic. In answer to a question about homelessness and crime, he got applause stating the importance of separating homelessness and criminality, and that the problem of homelessness was largely due to both changes in the global economy eliminating manufacturing jobs and deinstitutionalization putting people requiring help back in the local community without resources to provide for them.

One of the solutions he mentioned for traffic congestion was to make buses and trains more attractive as commuting and travel options.

This board member was deeply encouraged by the Mayor’s visit, that the Mayor would make it a priority to spend an hour and a half with a neighborhood group, listening to neighbors’ concerns and suggestions. One comment overheard was that it felt good to see neighbors’ suggestions written down.

A dozen NTNA members put their names on a signup sheet for the new board. It was proposed and approved to vote on the 12 nominees as a slate. The slate was proposed, seconded and unanimously approved by a show of hands. The board includes six continuing board members: current chair Joshua Carey,  Sam Fuqua, Lisa Hersh, Lars Kasch, current secretary Sarah Mongue, and current  vice chair Chuck Tubens.

New board members taking office at the November 21 meeting are Suzanne Gardner, former board chair Robert Jordan, Stephanie Kaza, Patty Lackaff, Dawn Madden, and Emma Stocker.  NTNA is fortunate to begin its new board year with an even split of new and continuing board members.

A Friends of Trees planting is scheduled for Feb. 3, 2018 in North Tabor. Sign up by Monday, Jan. 1 to get your tree, with payment of $35 per tree due Jan. 15. Browse available trees at friendsoftrees.org. Contact Friends of Trees at NorthTabor@PlantItPortland.org or 503.595.0212 for further information.

The next board meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 4837 NE Couch, Community of Christ, at 6:30 pm.  To contact the board for information or with questions or concerns, send an email to board@northtabor.org or call 503.928.4655. We have a website at northtabor.org and are on facebook as NorthTaborNews.