By Jill Riebesehl
At our well-attended annual meeting in May, Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood association heard from two major property owners that lie within our borders: St. Philip Neri and OMSI.
Philip Neri along with Catholic Charities is at the beginning of making plans for changes at its campus. Affordable housing is at the top of the list, as is retaining parking for parishioners and keeping the neighbors apprised and included in the plans.
Not on the list is a shelter, a fact that was emphasized. Further ideas included but were not limited to restoring older dwellings for residential use and partnering with Providence in transitional housing or a drop-in clinic. In response to some concerns expressed at the meeting by parents, efforts quickly have moved ahead to create an open dialogue.
OMSI representatives described the finishing touches on the master plan to develop its eleven acres adjacent to the river. Their guidelines include STEM education, a center for sustainability and revenue-generation projects. Envisioned are a greenway, several buildings, improved bicycle route and connection with the Green Loop, a hotel, space for makers, possibly a James Beard public market and more.
At our June meeting, we heard from Emily Platt, with the Center for Sustainable Economy on Zenith Energy’s diesel storage and shipping activities, and Greg Bourget of Portland Clean Air on diesel pollution. Greg brought us up to date on efforts to clean up Portland’s air, which has improved some from five years ago but is third worse in the nation in diesel particulates.
He said the three largest sources of diesel pollution are trucking companies that still have large numbers of unfiltered trucks in their fleets. He pointed out two large industrial polluters in SE Portland, which, even after installing scrubbers, emit large amounts of toxic material. Portland Clean Air is setting up connections with neighborhood associations to keep us apprised of next actions and strategies. We selected a board member liaison.
Emily gave us the history of Zenith Energy in Northwest Portland where the company is storing asphalt, tar sands oil and some diesel along the river. It is expanding its capacity from twelve to forty-four rail cars a day for storage and transfer, creating an enormous fossil fuel export hub – in the face of Portland’s 2016 resolution to move to 100% renewable energy no later than 2050.
The HAND board voted unanimously to sign on to letters to the City Council and Multnomah County Commission demanding that they pass a moratorium on fossil fuels and deny all future permits for new or expanded fossil fuel facilities.
Other activities: On June 1, we joined other SE neighborhoods in a litter and graffiti cleanup. We will be participating in what looks to be a fun and lively Division Clinton Street Fair and Parade on July 27 and we are looking forward to passing out ice cream cones at our National Night Out observance in early August at Piccolo Park.
We are keeping up to date on the TriMet, PDOT bridge across the MAX and Union Pacific tracks from SE 14th Ave. to 13th Place. Work, which has begun, involves PGE and the Water Bureau. Our rep on a committee of Portland’s Office of Community and Civic Life is keeping us apprised of code revisions and the office’s reorganization efforts to respond to and support civic groups of all kinds and constituencies.
We are keeping our eyes on the Avalon Park usage and we postponed our executive committee meeting a week so we could attend a Creston-Kenilworth Neighborhood Association meeting to hear Home Forward and the Portland Housing Bureau talk about a large low-cost housing project at SE 30th Ave. and Powell Blvd.
At the last two meetings, elections brought no changes to the board and its officers. We meet at 7 pm the third Tuesday of each month, except August and December, at Carvlin Hall on the St. Philip Neri campus. Our executive committee usually meets a week later, at Palio. All are welcome.
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