By Jill Riebesehl
Actions this month reflect just two ways the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood is often asked to lend support. These are examples of how neighborhood associations intrinsically concern themselves with residents and the city as a whole.
Portland Fire & Rescue visited our September meeting, sounding the alarm about understaffing of the station nearest us, No. 23. The station, at Gideon and SE 13 Place, is charged with eighteen neighborhoods in SE Portland. Since June, it has had only a two-person per shift rescue medical unit which must answer calls citywide. All other stations in the city are more fully-staffed, with downtown having the most.
Thus, if a HAND resident suffers cardiac arrest, an adequate rescue effort cannot be guaranteed. The low staffing affects rescues for serious accidents and house fires. The latter requires a fire engine, which the station has, but can’t use. To keep it in good working order and to operate requires four people. Without an engine, water for fires is not accessible. The HAND board voted to encourage the city to budget for staffing three persons to a shift at Station 23 and to invite other local neighborhoods to support our request.
On a completely different front, we voted to support two components of Better Housing by Design, a comprehensive plan created by experts and volunteers to guide Portland as it moves into the future. One of the goals is to preserve our history as we modernize for increasing population.
The plan goes to the City Council October 2. We agreed to lend our support for two ways to preserve those multifamily unreinforced concrete masonry buildings in Ladd’s Addition with a historic designation, most of which lie along busy corridors: (1) allowing transfer of height allowances to other projects to help defray the cost of seismic upgrades and (2) supporting disallowing certain bonuses in the event a historic structure is demolished as an incentive to rehab rather than rebuild.
Aside from these actions, conversations included alerting people to the Climate Strike; talking over city plans to change City Code 3.96 to remove neighborhood associations from mention in the code; learning about a meeting initiated by HAND members with parents concerned about a Catholic Charities plan for low-cost housing at St. Philip Neri; and learning about Oregon Rail Heritage Center’s intentions to install the old turntable.
HAND meets Tuesdays most months at St. Philip Neri. All are welcome.