By Jill Riebesehl

Summer, 2018: The day we served up ice cream cones for our neighborhood at Piccolo Park was the hottest so far, but we had a lot of fun treating families and talking over neighborhood issues with folks out for the afternoon and evening. Every first Tuesday in August we honor National Night Out, as do other neighborhoods around this time of the year, each in its own way.

In the good-weather months, our neighborhood association is tasked with approving group uses of  the Eastbank Esplanade. Portland Parks approves the first three requests, but asks HAND and two other neighborhoods to approve subsequent requests. We decided to follow Buckman in not approving Portland Thorns request, as it was the fifth such and competes with another for the weekend they wanted. The esplanade is becoming increasingly popular and these larger group uses compete with the use by the general public.

New Day School on SE Clinton asked us for any help we could give in keeping the tiny adjacent neighboring Avalon Park from being misused by houseless campers. We spent a lot of time with them brainstorming solutions for a problem that has become endemic in cities across the nation.

In other issues, Environment Oregon asked us to support its push for reducing diesel and increasing the use of electric buses and we agreed to support their effort.

Regarding the Gideon Street Bridge, funding for which has somehow reappeared after the bridge and funding was removed by the MAX Orange Line, work by Tri-Met is on schedule to start next year, finishing in early 2020. The bridge will run from where SE 14th dead ends over the tracks to SE 13th Pl. on the south side and will have elevators and stairs. The bridge is greatly needed by bicyclists and pedestrians to cross safely over the Union Pacific and MAX tracks at the bottom of Clinton St.

On another transportation project, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is ramping up a project, Central City in Motion, that affects our neighborhood from SE 12th Ave. to the river. HAND’s input is focusing on the dual streets SE 11th and 12th, which have long been a main concern, as traffic there runs through our residential neighborhoods and is fast and dangerous. We will hear more in September.