By Jill Riebesehl
A tiny homes village in HAND? The Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood is entertaining the possibility. At its general meeting May 17, residents listened to a report on the best use of a vacant space owned by the city off of SE Division St. on 19th Ave.
Presenting were Mark Linehan, of the HAND board, and Dan Valliere, CEO of REACH Community Development. The site, informally called Avalon Sanctuary, was gifted to the city long ago. Over the years, volunteers made several efforts to create community uses of one kind or another of the 60 x 100 foot space. Most recently tent campers lived there. After fire destroyed a tree and a propane tank exploded, a chain-link fence was erected and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) approved local efforts to seek a more permanent use.
In the last few months, folks from HAND, REACH (with adjacent property), PBOT, New Seasons, the city’s homeless and camping program, St. Philip Neri, New Day School and two adjacent entities have convened. REACH decided to study establishing a tiny village. Linehan and Valliere described their research of other efforts – there are 16 in Seattle, seven in Portland and one across the river. Portland State University recently published a study (bit.ly/PSUstudyTinyVillages) of the feasibility that included Portland’s efforts.
A loose concept so far would allow perhaps 10 residences, plus a few helping structures. The goal: provide safe, private, lockable dwellings that would give residents a sense of community and some level of personal agency. The aim is to provide a transitional, not permanent, situation that would help people who have been living on the street adjust, get medical attention and access to social services such as Social Security, etc.
Valliere said REACH, which has provided apartments and houses all over town since 1982, has not yet ventured into this level of residential services. But because some of its houses border Avalon, it might be a natural step. He said there is public funding available and private resources are likely, as well as fund raising. It looks like county and city agencies could help. If REACH decides to take this on, it will partner with another organization.
Questions from attendees involved concerns with drug use, applicant screening and who would operate and manage the facility. HAND would require a Good Neighborhood Agreement that would spell out safety and security, size, facilities and services. HAND would be responsible for the project as community involvement is mandatory. Stay tuned.
The Board then held its annual election. We are pleased to welcome new member Peggy McDaniel. With us was Nanci Champlin, director of Southeast Uplift (SEUL), attending to observe our election. Members of the Board had a long conversation with her about the reason for and implications of SEUL’s recent bylaw change that governs who will be accepted by SEUL’s Board to represent each neighborhood.
HAND meets 10 times a year, via Zoom, on the third Tuesday of the month at 7 pm. All are welcome: people who live here, own a business here and own property here.
Montavilla Neighborhood Association
By Jacob Loeb
The May 9 Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) meeting featured a presentation by Angela Dorsey-Kockler from the trade organization Host2Host (host2host.org). The nonprofit supports short-term rental operators, providing information and best practices.
Kockler illustrated the economic value created by accessory short-term rentals. They offer home-based business opportunities, allow people to supplement their income and attract tourists to neighborhoods far from hotels in the city center. Additionally, Portland strictly regulates and taxes this type of rental. Short-term rental operators must occupy the primary dwelling unit for at least 270 days a year. This policy ensures that homeowners provide rental units and not large commercial operations. In addition to lodging taxes, the city collects $4 each booked night that directly funds affordable housing and houseless support initiatives in the Portland area.
Host2Host hopes to grow its organization, become a positive force for Portland’s recovery and ensure that short-term rentals benefit neighborhoods.
The next MNA meeting is Monday, June 13, 6:30 pm. Nicole Peirce with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will update attendees on the Halsey St. project. That work will add a mini-roundabout and other lane reconfigurations to the busy street. Libby Winter from TriMet will provide information regarding the Better Red project. That work is underway near the Gateway Transit Center. Steve Law from Friends of Mt. Tabor Park will conclude the evening with information about his group and offer an opportunity to participate as a Montavilla liaison.
North Tabor Neighborhood Association
By Robert Jordan
The North Tabor Monthly Neighborhood meeting took place Tuesday, May 17, 6:30 pm virtually on Zoom. Normal business was covered with discussion which included the need to plan for future hybrid/in-person NTNA meetings and a possible collaboration with Mt. Tabor NA on a neighborhood cleanup (which we have done successfully in the past).
The next NTNA meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 21, 6:30 pm on Zoom. Visit northtabor.org for more information and the meeting link. Please email email@example.com with any suggestions for topics or announcements for the June or other future meetings.
Sunnyside Neighborhood Association
By Gloria Jacobs
The SNA completed the organization’s Community Agreements, which will be on the website by the end of June. An outlined code of conduct for our meetings, it is meant to encourage respectful, inspiring and curious behavior toward one another. As an evolving document, if you feel something should be added please join us at the July SNA General Meeting to discuss.
The Sunnyside Shower Program offers showers Tuesday and Thursdays, 1-5 pm and Saturdays, 2-6 pm. The program is in need of more volunteers for the Saturday shift. If you would like to sign up for a shift, email Hannah Wallace (firstname.lastname@example.org). You’ll be partnered with another volunteer so it’s a great way to meet your neighbors while helping out your community. Double win!
The SNA continues offer gratitude for the May newsletter donations. The donation link is on the SNA website (sunnysideportland.org/donate-to-our-newsletter). We also have advertising spots if you have a business or want to spread the word about something. We’re still plugging along to reach our annual production costs of $6,000.
June’s meeting will be held in-person on Thursday the 9th at SE Uplift. Meeting details and the agenda will be posted on the SNA website (sunnysideportland.org) on Tuesday the 7th. Board elections will be 7-7:30 pm. in the SE Uplift parking lot (3534 SE Main St.). There are five open Board seats and no previous experience is required. As a Board representing the neighborhood, it’s good to have different perspectives, so if you feel that something is missing from Sunnyside please consider running. The role is a two-year term and meets monthly.
Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association
By John Laursen
The Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association held its monthly meeting on May 18 over Zoom. The meeting began with our annual election of Board members and officers.
We heard a presentation from planner and urban designer Heather Flint Chatto about a project to install a 74-panel, 40-kW solar system on the roof of the building at 5000 SE Hawthorne Blvd., home to seven units of low-income housing, as well as the Sapphire Hotel bistro, Albina Press Coffeehouse and Art Heads frame shop. The Board was pleased to hear about this grassroots effort to enhance sustainability and livability in our neighborhood and we voted unanimously to support the project with a letter to the PGE Renewable Fund Grant Committee.
It was reported that following many emails and letters to City Council and testimony at the Council budget hearing, Commissioners have budgeted money for the Water Bureau to determine the extent of the repairs necessary to the basins of Mt. Tabor Reservoir 6 – the largest and most prominent of the Tabor reservoirs. This is the first step toward addressing those repairs and refilling the reservoir, which has sat empty for the last 10 months. In allocating these funds, the Council acknowledged the promise it made to the community in July 2015 in Council Resolution 37146, a legally binding commitment to maintain the reservoirs at Mt. Tabor and keep them filled to their historic levels. We applaud this budget decision and look forward to the next steps.
We also discussed the need for Portlanders to testify at Council hearings concerning RIP2 (Residential Infill Project) and, in particular, the importance of ensuring that changes to Portland’s planning and zoning regulations intended to increase affordable housing actually work toward accomplishing that goal. There is deep concern that RIP1, despite good intentions, has had the unfortunate consequence of incentivizing the demolition of affordable housing stock, exactly the opposite of what it was supposed to achieve.
The MTNA meets the third Wednesday of every month except December. We will hold our next meeting June 15, 7 pm on Zoom. Find links for this and all of our meetings under the “Meetings and Events” tab at mttaborpdx.org. All who live, work or own property in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood are welcome to attend.