By Jill Riebesehl

Housing and transportation, mundane as those issues are, remain at the top of the lists for most Portland neighborhoods. In our Hosford-Abernethy, we expect we will soon have a low income housing project courtesy of St. Philip Neri and Catholic Charities. 

In February a good crowd filled Carvlin Hall to view architectural proposals for the Division St. church campus. This may include as many as 50 permanent apartments, in old buildings and new. When ideas were first being imagined, past and current board members jumped in to help neighbors express their concerns. 

On the horizon, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), is eyeing Hawthorne Blvd. repaving in two years, and has started inviting community participation. Staff members met with the HAND Board and neighbors in January to lay out ideas. This gave us a chance to participate early, to be heard about problems we have long seen that need addressing, to learn new options for changes and to make suggestions for this busy street on our northern border.  

TriMet and PBOT occasionally update us on the ongoing effort to accommodate more transit ridership and speed traffic from outer SE to downtown. The large, multi-million dollar Division Transit Project has a finish date of 2022. The biggest snags we continue to voice in letters and at meetings lie at the west end of Division, in our neighborhood. Those of us who live near or frequently travel the area continue to grapple with TriMet proposals for rerouting bus, automobile and freight traffic and reconfiguring lanes. At a recent board meeting we learned TriMet may reroute the #10 bus out of Ladds Addition.      

The long-hoped-for Gideon Crossing finally has a solid skeleton, with the horizontal piece placed the second week of February. TriMet anticipates the bridge, from SE 14th to SE 13th Pl. over freight, passenger and MAX tracks, will be ready for use by the fall. The HAND board had actively urged replacing a bridge that was removed to accommodate the MAX orange line, and the need for the crossing became urgent when people began endangering themselves trying to get past freight trains that often block SE 8th and 11th avenues.  

We are anxious to see how the increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic will affect nearby businesses with accompanying freight needs. 

Recent increasing amounts of graffiti will probably be on the agenda for our next meeting, among other local issues such as finalizing our comments on Hawthorne repaving and deciding on Eastbank Esplanade events. Discussions are shaping up about the best use of a city-owned site off Division at SE 19th that has had various uses, changing over the years. Ideas include houseless needs and possibly a community garden. 

As the primary election nears, we invited and heard from two candidates for our state House district: Paige Kreisman and Rep. Rob Nosse.  

The HAND Board meets every third Tuesday of every month, 7 pm in Carvlin Hall on the campus of St. Philip Neri. All are welcome to join us.