By Jill Riebesehl

At Hosford-Abernethy’s May 15 general board meeting, we held annual elections and heard from three Portlanders deeply invested in making the Willamette River–which borders the neighborhood on the west–more usable.

Willie Levenson, of the Human Access Project, entertained with tales of the group’s push for Portlanders to be able to enjoy the river by swimming, floating and wading. Sallie Edmunds of the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability described current planning that sections the river into the north, central and south reaches. The central, urban reach, could change the Eastside Esplanade building setback, develop natural areas, encourage swimming access and possibly create a beach, for now dubbed the Audrey McCall beach. Dan Yates, of the Portland Spirit, which docks near OMSI, said he wants to convert the river into a water transportation highway, bringing back ferries that could more quickly connect people to spots along the river than can freeways. He called the river the last great unused right of way through the central city.

The board then turned to business. Introducing elections, the chair, Sue Pearce, described how the board is organized and cited some of what it has been involved in over the years:  helping to oppose a proposed Mt. Hood Freeway and Fred Meyer’s putting a store on Powell Park is, and leading a fight to silence Union Pacific train horns along portions of the MAX orange line.  Several members signed on for another two-year term, and six people were elected to the board:  Phil Cox, Katie Mogensen, Kim Nurmi, David O’Bryant, Michael Wade and Sam Wake.

This summer, several upcoming events include, but are not limited to a walkabout of the proposed Gideon Street pedestrian/biking bridge over the tracks; responding to a proposed rezoning of Ladd’s Addition to permit large apartments; participating in a first-of-a-kind collaboration June 16 between businesses, organizations and neighbors to clean up graffiti and litter that plague Hawthorne, Division and Clinton; and organizing a multi-neighborhood information meeting June 12 at St. Philip Neri on the city’s Central City in Motion transportation proposal, which residents can respond to during a two-week-long  online open house starting June 4.

And, finally, the board wishes to celebrate the contributions and express our appreciation to three members who are stepping down and who gave Hosford-Abernethy many decades each of their time, energy and creativity:  Linda Nettekoven, Joanne Stainbrook and Marilee Tillstrom.

The next board meeting will be at 7 pm June 19 in Carvlin Hall on the campus of St. Philip Neri. All are welcome.