Neighborhood Notes March 2021

HAND

By Jill Riebesehl

The Hosford-Abernethy board met this chilly, snowy month via Zoom and held wide-ranging conversations on our neighborhood’s needs and problems, such as how we can best ease the lives of neighbors living on the streets; how best to participate in wide-ranging civic efforts by the city on houselessness; how we might view a suggestion being floated for sanctioned camping; and last but not least, learning how the city decides where to place its red portable toilets. 

We hashed over the future of neighborhoods being able to alert and offer solutions to the city from our on-the-ground perspective. We are excited that perhaps one dangerous situation we have long spoken out about on Hawthorne Blvd. at SE 23rd Ave. might soon be addressed. 

Another larger one rearing its ugly head again, and as usual, lies at the west end of Division and Clinton streets. There, freight trains, cars, trucks, pedestrians, students, bicyclists and buses are all competing for safe and efficient use of the limited number of streets. This struggle branches out into the residential section of Hosford-Abernethy as well as the Central Eastside Industrial District, which lies within our boundaries.

We hope constructive options can result from all of our talk and we encourage everybody who lives and/or shares our geographical section of the city to join us the third Tuesday of every month at 7 pm. Sign in and offer your thoughts, observations and suggestions and, yes, feel free to share your problems – we may be able to help you. 

A coalition of SE neighborhoods is looking forward to a Zoom meeting with Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, one of whose charges as of the new year is the Office of Community & Civic Life, on Thursday, March 4, 6:30 pm. Details can be found on the HAND website, handpdx.org.

Montavilla Neighborhood Association

By Jacob Loeb

Three groups shared information regarding their projects at the February Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) meeting. Representatives from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), African Youth & Community Organization (AYCO) and Metro presented to the online attendees.

Nicole Peirce, Capital Project Manager for PBOT, offered details regarding safer intersections and better access for non-motorists on NE Halsey St. Winston Sandino, the project manager for the 70s Bikeway project, joined Peirce. Both projects overlap on Montavilla’s section of NE Halsey St.

Several traffic calming components will transform NE Halsey St. into a safer roadway. The triangle-shaped traffic divider at NE 68th Dr. will expand its sidewalks and gain some “green space” at the center. Alongside the divider, the I-84 offramp will no longer allow direct merging onto eastbound Halsey St. Instead, drivers will need to turn left onto NE 69th Ave. before turning right onto Halsey.

Reduced travel lanes on NE Halsey St. will create a uniform width along the road, allowing for one car lane in each direction. New buffered bike lanes along the road’s edges join a consistent center turn-lane. Additionally, several crossings on NE Halsey will gain improved crosswalks and pedestrian islands.

The most significant change to traffic on the busy street will come from a mini-roundabout at NE 80th Ave. That addition with divert cars heading to the I-84 overpass and NE 81st Ave. around a small, raised island. Not only will it slow vehicles, but pedestrians crossing Halsey will have improved visibility to motorists. PBOT’s presentation concluded with additional information regarding the 70s Bikeway project, which will enhance crossings at major intersections along 80th Ave.

Executive Director for AYCO, Jamal Dar, shared information about his group’s mission. It offers support services and youth mentoring for the African immigrant and refugee community. Located on NE 74th Ave. and NE Glisan St., this organization serves a growing population of people with East Africa origins in AYCO’s recently opened Dream Center.

Athletics and academic support are among the many services offered. They assist hundreds of students and families adjusting to a new life in Portland. 

AYCO relocated to Montavilla to expand its programs and capabilities in a larger facility. They now offer physical and mental health services along with expanded one-on-one mentoring. Dar concluded his presentation with a promise to return later this year and provide more details about the organization’s enriching programs.

Metro representatives Choya Renata and Patrick McLaughlin outlined the development process for a proposed low-income housing project at the former Trinity Broadcasting Network site. Two years from now, Montavilla will gain 120 new households on NE Glisan St., providing affordable housing to the area. Ahead of that development, Metro will survey the community to gain insight from residents and future tenants. The results of the survey will shape the project’s Statement of Values.

The Statement addresses four community-driven project requirements and it will accompany Metro’s solicitation for a project developer. It encompasses the community’s desires regarding outdoor space on the property and the level of community design input. Further, it will shape the type of ground-floor activities that are supportive to the community and residents. Finally, the Statement outlines what onsite services and programming will best assist residents at this location.

Developer selection begins in spring. The Statement of Values will play a small part in the overall selection process. However, the interested developers will need to speak to the Statement within their proposal. The chosen developer will engage the community again, looking to shape the project’s design through three meetings. Construction will begin in 2023, providing much-needed housing in the neighborhood.

To address expanded community interest in neighborhood development, the MNA Board approved a new Land Use Committee. Headed by Land Use & Transportation Chair Adam Wilson, it will extend the community involvement with area development and provide a focused meeting space for those issues.

The next MNA meeting will be online via Zoom Monday, March 8, 6:30 pm. Join live or listen to audio recording of the event at montavillapdx.org.

North Tabor Neighborhood Association

By Kim Kasch

The next meeting takes place Tuesday, March 16, 6:30 pm and features speaker Greg Bourget, from Cascadia Action. He will speak on Portland’s industrial air pollution and its impact on North Tabor Neighborhood specifically. Greg will be able to answer any questions about industry or diesel particulate exposure for your neighborhood. His presentation will be from about 7-7:15 pm.

In April we will have a guest speaker on Emergency Preparedness (more information coming soon). Visit northtabor.org for updates.

Richmond Neighborhood Association

By Brian Hochhalter

The first Richmond Neighborhood Association monthly meeting of 2021 was held Monday, February 8. Agendas are posted on richmondpdx.org and sent out via the RNA Announce listserv. Recordings of monthly meetings are linked on our website. Meetings will be via Zoom until further notice. Preregistration is required and the link to preregister is on the agenda. To be added to the RNA’s listserv, email richmondnasecretary@gmail.com.

The RNA Board held our annual retreat in January and performed a SWOT analysis:  strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. At our February meeting, we discussed the retreat and ways to actualize our goals. 

The RNA hosted Electrify Now’s co-founder, Brian Stewart, for an informative presentation on the benefits of transitioning to electric power and away from natural gas. His presentation covered where emissions come from, what can we do about it and how can we transition away from the burning of fossil fuels in practical ways. Visit their website at electrifynow.net to review four actions you can take to dramatically reduce your carbon emissions.

State Representative Rob Nosse attended the meeting to discuss a letter he drafted to Multnomah County Chair Debra Kafoury and Portland Commissioner Dan Ryan regarding the need for emergency sanctioned sites for houseless persons to camp. The letter is requesting a commitment to create sanctioned sites throughout the city to eliminate homeless camping at schools, parks and in the public right of way. After a lively discussion, the Board voted to endorse the letter but to add a request that the City maintain an ongoing dialogue with, and allow input from, the SE Uplift District Coalition and SE Neighborhood Associations on site location and management issue. 

It was announced that the Richmond, Hosford-Abernethy, Creston-Kenilworth, Kerns and Buckman neighborhood associations will join together to host a community Zoom meeting with Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty on Thursday, March 4.  

The meeting included committee reports, housekeeping and budget issues. The RNA’s next meeting is Monday, March 8, 6:30–8:30 pm. The agenda request form is on the RNA’s website.

Neighborhood Notes March 2021

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