Neighborhood Notes June 2021

HAND

By Jill Riebesehl

The Hosford-Abernethy Neighborhood Association held what might be one of its last Zoom board meetings on May 18. We discussed the situation and decided to wait to make a decision until July at the earliest. Leah Fisher, acting director of SE Uplift, who was in attendance, said there are several ideas being tried as to how to conduct meetings that are a hybrid of virtual and in-person. The possibility struck up much interest, as it would enable more people to attend. 

Elections, held annually in May, had five members reupping. We gained one new member. Positions are held for two years and elections are staggered. Returning are Chris Eykamp, Mark Linehan, Michelle Sprague, Michael Wade and Charlene Zaharakis. Rick Nunno, in Portland for two years, joined the Board. The six each briefly said why they are interested in participating, most citing civic engagement and responsibility, and were voted in as a slate. Chris, Board chair, thanked Claud Gilbert and Daniel Amoni, who have left the Board, for their contributions.

The guest for the evening was Kate Merrill, executive director of the Central Eastside Industrial Council. She was invited to brief us on the district as well as its Enhanced Service District, the latter of which operates under contract with the City. She described the Central Eastside Industrial District, which stretches from 12th Ave. to the river and I-84 to Powell Blvd. and includes 1,300 businesses. Kate described the myriad ways the Enhanced Service District is working to help people who are houseless, work with SOLVE to deal with trash, keep the district safe and more.  

After discussing the dangers of the rail crossings at SE 8th, 11th and 12th Aves., the Board voted to send a letter to the Portland Bureau of Transportation and any others involved urging prompt action to install signs for pedestrians and bicyclists at the three crossing sites. The signs would direct people to the new Bob Stacey Crossing over the tracks at SE 14th Ave. The signage should be for both north and south bound travelers. Current signs don’t adequately inform people stalled by trains, resulting in dangerous situations and at least one fatality.  

The next HAND meeting takes place Tuesday, June 15 via Zoom. See handpdx.org for link.

Montavilla Neighborhood Association

By Jacob Loeb

Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty attended the May Montavilla Neighborhood Association meeting to answer questions and address members. Topics covered changes within all three of the Commissioners’ boroughs and a range of questions from attendees. Much of the conversation centered on challenges experienced in implementing the Portland Street Response pilot program, and how it could expand with support.

Hardesty heads three Portland agencies, two of which are relatively new to her oversight. At the start of the year, the mayor assigned the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and the Office of Community & Civic Life (Civic Life) to Hardesty’s portfolio.

Commissioner Hardesty perceives a conflict with Portland committed to greenhouse gas reduction and how PBOT receives funding from gas taxes and parking fees. “I can’t have a borough in my portfolio that is actually so dependent on things that we are trying to move away from.” She wants to find an alternative revenue source for PBOT that can cover the $5 billion backlog in road upgrades and repairs while supporting our climate goals.

Hardesty described the recent history of Civic Life as having “many challenges over the years.” Her work within that organization will be ongoing, but she sees an immediate need for association support. The Commissioner wants to restore the funding for community activities and neighborhood small grants. Funding from Civic Life saw significant cuts during the pandemic. Groups need support now for cleanup activities and general outreach.

She spoke about her third borough with nothing but appreciation. “The hardest working public servants I know are Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) folks.” That admiration extends beyond the traditional role of the fire department to PF&R’s most recent addition, The Portland Street Response (PSR) pilot program. It officially launched in late February with a new approach to emergency calls. The program diverts non-violent calls involving people experiencing houselessness or behavioral and mental health issues to specialists equipped to resolve those situations.

PSR currently serves a small portion of Portland and the Commissioner would like to expand the pilot program across Portland’s diverse environments. Hardesty feels it is not a fair test of the program if it only serves one segment of the community. Unfortunately, the majority of City Council is not in support of additional funding. “I’m really excited about the potential to expand PSR throughout the city. I was disappointed that the mayor’s budget didn’t reflect the same commitment,” explained Hardesty.

The Commissioner spoke for an hour and answered a variety of questions. On exiting the meeting, she offered an invitation for additional support by reaching out to her office and encouraged MNA members to stay involved and make their voices heard. A full recording of Commissioner Hardesty’s conversation is available at montavillapdx.org/pdx-mna-meeting-podcast. 

The MNA Recycle Day is coming up June 12 and the next General Meeting is June 14, 6:30 pm. Details are available at montavillapdx.org/mna-calendar.

Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association

By Stephanie Stewart

MTNA hosted a community meeting in May on Zoom. Reservoir 6 (the biggest reservoir, closest to SE 60th Ave.) will likely be empty July-November 2021. The Shelter To Housing Continuum project was passed by Council with those changes advocated for by park advocates. In August of 2020, the city commissioned an independent audit of the bureau now known as Civic Life and the audit was withheld by the city until a citizen forced its release to the public (a link to the report is in our newsletter).

Our next meeting is Wednesday, June 16, 7 pm on Zoom. Find links for this and all of our meetings under the “Meetings and Events” tab of our website, mttaborpdx.org. MTNA’s monthly newsletter is on our website next to each month’s meeting minutes.

North Tabor Neighborhood Association

By Kim Kasch

At the May North Tabor Neighborhood monthly meeting, Rob Hertert from Host2Host gave an informational presentation on short-term rentals in the neighborhood. For info, visit their website, host2host.org.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 15, 6:30 pm and will offer a safety presentation entitled Ask an Activist: Protest Safety, presented by CJ Alicandro offering steps for maintaining your safety during a demonstration. Tips will be included for folks engaging in action as well as neighbors living nearby. Time will be included for questions.

The Neighborhood Association has implemented a free digital newsletter to keep all our neighbors informed. If you would like to subscribe or volunteer as an assistant for the newsletter, visit northtabor.org for more information, or contact the Board at board@northtabor.org.

Richmond Neighborhood Association

By Allen Field

The Richmond Neighborhood Association (RNA) meetings are held via Zoom on the second Monday of the month, 6:30 – 8:30 pm.  Preregistration is required and the link to preregister is on the Agenda, which is posted to richmondpdx.org and sent out to the RNA Announce listserv. To be added to the listserv, email richmondnasecretary@gmail.com.  

May 11 Annual Board Election Results:  All eight candidates were elected: Ann Sandvig, Brian Hochhalter, Claire Cofsky, Debby Hochhalter, Hope Townsell, JoAnne Knowles, Kamal Belkhayat and Madeleine Anderson-Clark.  

Much of the meeting was a community discussion about the fatal shooting of Noah Terry in October 2020 at the intersection of SE 48th Ave. and Division St., the memorial at the site and the impacts on neighbors from the “drifting” that has been occurring in the intersection since Terry’s death. 

“Drifting” is the term for cars doing stationary 360s, which causes immense tire smoke and noise. Noah’s brother, Isiah, and his mother were present, as well as the owner of the property where the memorial is located, the owners of the nearby apartment buildings, Robert King, Public Safety Advisor to Mayor Wheeler and several community members.  

Isiah explained that the drifting they have been doing in the intersection has been in memory of his brother and their form of grieving. He acknowledged that the activity is illegal and very disruptive to neighbors and traffic. He explained that he had recently told people in his car community to stop the drifting in light of the complaints he was receiving. 

Many people offered their sympathies to the Terry family and empathized with their desire to have a memorial at the intersection. Vandalism of the memorial has become an ongoing point of tension between the car community and neighbors. There was discussion about replacing the memorial with a more discreet form of memorial that would be less susceptible to vandalism.  

Overall, it was a very successful meeting with the sharing of several, very different perspectives on a difficult and complicated issue. It is the beginning of an ongoing conversation how to honor the wishes of a grieving family as well as the nearby neighbors and businesses to address safety concerns and the disruption caused by drifting in the intersection.

RNA will have a table at the Sunnyside Farmer’s Market, opening Tuesday, June 1, 3-7 pm, at Central Christian Church parking lot, 1844 SE César E. Chavez Blvd., continuing every Tuesday through September 28.

The RNA’s next meeting is Monday, June 14, when Board officers and committee chairs will be appointed. You do not have to be on the Board to be a committee chair or be on a committee. Please attend the next RNA meeting if you want to be more involved in your community.

South Tabor Neighborhood Association

By Tina Kimmey

Summer is almost here and what better way to celebrate than a good old fashioned Neighborhood Yard Sale? Saturday, June 12, 9 am-3 pm, we invite you to participate in the South Tabor Yard Sale. To be included on the official map sign up at southtabor.org under the News heading or on the South Tabor Neighborhood group on Facebook. If you want to help out or participate you can contact secretary@southtabor.org. Maps will be distributed to local businesses the week prior to the event. 

We had our annual elections in May with Juan Cummings being re-elected to the Secretary position and Tina Kimmey newly elected to the Chair position. Juan was appointed to the vacant Vice Chair seat. We look forward to the opportunities ahead of us with the re-opening of local businesses and holding more outdoor community activities.

Our meetings are currently held remotely – links and agendas for all meetings are posted at our website, southtabor.org. The Land Use Committee next meets June 15, 7-8:30 pm, and the monthly Board meeting will be held June 17, 7-8:30 pm. Hope to see you soon!

Neighborhood Notes June 2021

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