Neighborhood Notes July 2021

HAND

By Jill Riebesehl

At its June meeting, the Hosford-Abernethy Board heard from two Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) departments, the group that is re-striping and repaving Hawthorne Blvd, and the other that is concerned with movement of freight in, out and around the city.  The HAND Board was pleased the city will be making crossing easier and safer at SE 23rd Ave., with Grand Central on one side, Jam and other businesses on the other side. Neighbors have long been lobbying for help at that intersection.  

On a much larger scale, PBOT briefed us on an updated, comprehensive effort to prepare Portland for changes needed to fend off global warming, protect against pollution and adapt to modern technology. The 2040 Freight Plan has a goal of zero percent carbon emissions by 2050, with the next 10 years being the crucial. PBOT is working with PGE, Burlington Northern, BNSF and other entities. Trade is the dominant economic engine for the metropolitan area. 

A representative from the Central Eastside Industrial District, which lies without our neighborhood’s boundaries, discussed with us the increasing problems of long traffic lines blocked at railroad track intersections at 8th,11th,12th Aves. We are taking quick steps to join the Brooklyn neighborhood and CEID in requesting participation from PBOT to help find a solution to this increasingly urgent situation.

In mid-June, residents who live on SE Clay St. behind Safeway and the Holman Funeral Home alerted the neighborhood to problems with reports of violence and criminal behavior threatening houseless campers. Clay residents called on HAND to help solve what has been an off and on problem on the street. By the time we were activated, the situation had calmed down. Neighbors said the city had been helpful. We learned that the city has a matrix it depends on for when to step in. We will be delving into the intricacies and actors working on this widespread, seemingly retractable situation. What we learn, we will share.

In HAND Board business, we elected some new, some renewing officers:  Chris Eykamp, chair; Mark Linehan, vice-chair and treasurer; Karen Girard, secretary; Michell Sprague, publicity; Bruce Bikle, HAND rep on the Southeast Uplift board. 

Our next meeting will be Tuesday, July 20, held via Zoom, 7 pm. All neighbors and business owners are more than welcome to attend. Information will be available on our website and Facebook.  

Montavilla Neighborhood Association

By Jacob Loeb

At the June 14 Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) meeting, members celebrated the past contributions of the departing board Treasurer and welcomed his replacement. 

MNA Chair Louise Hoff presented a certificate of appreciation to outgoing Treasurer Peter Emerson for his contributions to the community. Sarah Hertzel will fill the Treasurer position until the end of Emerson’s term in October. Hertzel jumped into the Treasurer position last month and has already made significant contributions to the MNA Board.

Next, Ron Thrasher shared the results from the first community fundraiser in over a year, the Montavilla Recycle Day held the previous Saturday. Attendance was continuous throughout the day, yielding $349.35 in donations to support the MNA. Volunteers from MNA and Montavilla Church collected 157 pounds of polystyrene styrofoam. Scrap metal donations generated $85.30 towards the total funds received. This event is a testament to Thrasher’s creativity in meeting community needs while financially supporting the MNA.

The remainder of the evening’s conversation centered on Portland Water Bureau (PWB) and community concerns over rising costs. Invited speakers Katie Meyer, Chief of Staff for City Council Commissioner Mingus Mapps, and Ty Kovatch, the Director of Maintenance & Construction at PWB, addressed the meeting’s attendees. After a short presentation comparing Portland’s fees to other cities, Kovatch answered questions about Portland’s water. He explained that federally-mandated requirements drive many cost increases, but yield more resilient water systems that can withstand wildfires and other threats to the Bull Run Watershed.

The next hurdle for PWB looks towards seismic resiliency, ensuring water service can survive a substantial earthquake. Portland’s pH-neutral soil protects our underground water pipes from age-related failures. However, the system has many segments designed before earthquakes were a consideration. To counter those vulnerabilities, strategic upgrades around the city will ensure Portland’s safety even after a disaster.

Kovatch alleviated concerns that the new water filtration plant could facilitate a switch from Bull Run to water from the Willamette River. Portland has no intention of switching water sources. Additionally, some members expressed a worry that the potential loss of wholesale water customers could drive up rates for residential customers. PWB accounted for the loss of those customers in current pricing and future financial forecasting.

In addressing concerns over sizable quarterly water and sewer bills, Kovatch pointed to two programs designed to help. First, for those who need a more consistent budget, PWB now offers monthly billing. The first two months are estimates based on past usage, and the third bill adjusts for the actual water used in the quarter. Second, those unable to afford the current cost of water and sewer services should apply for assistance at the city’s website (portland.gov/water/water-financial-assistance).

A full recording of the MNA meeting is available at montavillapdx.org/pdx-mna-meeting-podcast. The next General Meeting is Monday, July 12, 6:30 pm. Details are available at montavillapdx.org/mna-calendar.

Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association

By Nadine Fiedler

MTNA hosted a community meeting June 16 on Zoom. Regarding land use, we discussed the development of 20 townhomes at SE 64th Ave. and Burnside St. with a neighbor who will be affected by the development and reviewed what might be happening with the Dairy Queen property on SE Division St. We will sign on to a letter from Cascade Action urging a local company to adopt better clean air practices and reviewed what has happened lately with the Office of Community and Civic Life.

MTNA hosts a community meeting on Zoom, Wednesday, July 21, 7 pm. Find links for this, and all of our meetings, under the “Meetings and Events” tab of mttaborpdx.org. MTNA creates a monthly newsletter about important civic issues, which you can find on our website next to each month’s meeting minutes.  

North Tabor Neighborhood Association 

By Kim Kasch

The North Tabor Neighborhood held its monthly meeting via Zoom Tuesday, June, 6:30 pm (access links at northtabor.org).

A Special Presentation on Safety during Demonstrations was offered by CJ Alicandro.

Also discussed was Jasmine Investments LLC building development project at 234 NE 61st Ave. This three-story, 15-unit complex will offer many of the units as affordable housing units ($250K to $300K).

The next Neighborhood Meeting will be Tuesday, July 20, 6:30 pm via Zoom. Join us from your own home to hear what’s happening in the neighborhood.

Richmond Neighborhood Association

By Denise Hare

The Richmond Neighborhood Association held its monthly meeting on June 14. RNA meetings are held via Zoom on the second Monday of the month, from 6:30-8:30 pm. Preregistration is required and the link to preregister is on the Agenda, posted to richmondpdx.org and sent out to the RNA Announce listserv. To be added to the listserv, email richmondnasecretary@gmail.com.

The Board heard a report from Denise Hare about a successful first run at tabling at the Hawthorne Farmers Market on Tuesday, June 1. Many neighbors stopped by to say hi and were appreciative of the work RNA does in our neighborhood. In addition, Hope Townswell provided an update on the situation at SE Division St. and 48th Ave., discussed during May’s RNA meeting. Townswell shared that people have been very respectful in keeping noise down as well as mitigating other concerns and that communication achieved during the May meeting seems to have helped considerably towards these better outcomes.

Board officers and committee chairs were elected. Debby Hochhalter was elected to another term as RNA Board chair, with Kamal Belkhayat elected as vice chair. Allen Field was elected to be secretary and Simon Kipersztock as treasurer. Many committee positions and other leadership roles were also filled.

The Board heard a presentation by Greg Bouget of Portland Clean Air about his organization’s work in pollution mitigation. He requested RNA endorsement of letters prepared by his organization directed towards achieving reductions in diesel emissions. The Board will vote on this endorsement request at the July meeting.

There was an update from Kathryn Doherty-Chapman of the Portland Bureau of Transportation about the Division Parking Permit Program. The pandemic has disrupted the work schedule and PBOT is now determining when to restart the project. The Board was asked to weigh in on the timeline and chose to recommend the later option, strongly urging that the proposed parking study include a summer component in order to accurately reflect on parking pressures. 

Under this later option, the parking study may begin in spring or summer of 2022. In answering questions, Doherty-Chapman emphasized that the parameters of the potential program have not been defined but are up for discussion and determination by the Stakeholder Advisory Committee. The program will then need support from residents within the boundary area in order to be implemented. The board appointed Allen Field and Brian Hochhalter as RNA representatives to the SAC.

The RNA will table at the Hawthorne Farmers Market, 3-7 pm, at least once each month at Central Christian Church parking lot, 1844 SE Cesar E. Chavez Blvd. The market runs every Tuesday through September 28. 

The next meeting is Monday, July 12. Please attend this meeting if you want to be more involved in your community.

Neighborhood Notes July 2021

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