Fall Community Conversations

Open House Welcome! © Sean O'Connor / Our United Villages
Open House Welcome! © Sean O’Connor / Our United Villages

In October 2014 Eliot Neighborhood Association reached out to everyone living or working in the neighborhood for three Community Conversations around the past, present and future of Eliot neighborhood. For the first Conversation on October 8th an array of photos, maps, and open ended questions were set up at the St Philip the Deacon Church on 120 NE Knott St. Folks had a great time meeting neighbors, chatting and discussing the neighborhood.

Our United Villages (OUV) helped facilitate discussions. OUV, a nonprofit organization, is independently funded by the ReBuilding Center.  OUV believes that every community, no matter how it is defined, has tremendous capacity for enriching the day-to-day lives of everyone within it.  OUV inspires people to value and discover existing resources to strengthen the social and environmental vitality of communities. You can find out more about OUV and their programs at ourunitedvillages.org.

The second round of Community Conversation on October 22, 2014 generated much enthusiasm for action. Folks wanted to become involved to improve their community. Comments  gathered from the first Conversation were categorized and presented as table topic discussions, intending to deepen the  Conversation. Groups had one of four topics: Pride and Identity; Safety; Social Engagement; and Re-Development.  They were given all the comments from the previous conversation gathering. Their ideas and wishes were further prioritized by the folks who attended the 3rd Community Conversation on November 5, 2014. Priorities for action, strengths and concerns are below.

From these conversations the Board concluded that folks want leadership to facilitate their involvement, acknowledging and respecting diversity. They want clean safe neighborhoods. They are concerned about the direction and control of redevelopment, and desire consciousness of affordable housing. Folks want to have ways to become involved, have social events and to stay informed.

Actions Planned by the ENA Board

The ENA Board has spent the months since these Conversations digesting the input and, with the election of new members in October, organizing themselves and setting priorities for 2015. For the February meeting the ENA Board invited folks who indicated at the Conversations that they wanted to be contacted for action. ENA Board member are intending to chair action groups around the following goals:

  • May Clean up and regular Saturday Clean up committee
  • History Pub Night Social Engagement committee
  • Beauty and Identity Sign Caps and
  • Parking Group
  • Tree Committee and Tree Planting
  • July Concerts committee with Emanuel
  • The standing Land Use and Transportation/Redevelopment committee with ongoing meetings the 2nd Monday of each month at St. Philip the Deacon Church

Priority issues and metrics from 3rd ENA Community Conversation
(#) – the number of comments

Neighborhood strengths and Community Leadership (33):

  • Residents are willing to help (10)
  • Strong functioning NA (6)
  • Cultural diversity (race, income, historical) (17)

Clean neighborhood (31):

  • Volunteer groups for cleanup days, patrol, maintain (14)
  • Yard sale along with ENA Annual Cleanup (7)
  • Don’t litter/Pick up your trash campaign (10)

Land Use and Redevelopment (27):

  • Use empty lots for higher quality development (14)
  • What is the job of Land Use Committee? (4)
  • Development west of freeway (1)
  • Community input around development (8)

Community enriching events and programs (26):

  • History Pub night (reference science night Meetup) (9)
  • Events: intersection painting, music/theater, farmer’s market or festivals, pop-up workshops (10)
  • Programs: Project grow or green spaces, skill sharing, Eliot soccer team (7)

Affordability (23):

  • Mixed income/affordable housing development (14)
  • Land trust or community help sustain/increase home ownership (9)

Historic homes: save them (17)

Neighborhood Identity, Landmarks, public spaces (15):

  • sign caps (6)
  • Dawson Park & Dishman (4)
  • Library micro branch, Fred Meyer or Safeway (5)

Welcoming-Hospitality (15):

  • Include apartment rental occupants to feel a part of the neighborhood (8)
  • Good neighbor behavior (7)

Safety (14):

  • Increase crosswalks and instant flashers (7)
  • Control speed (7)

Business development (13):

  • Increase businesses on MLK to attract pedestrians for a community feel (10)
  • Help diverse business owner start-ups and jobs for locals (3)

Communications: Newspaper/Internet (12)

  • Newspaper interviews of longtime resident families (7)
  • More digital presence: calendar on website, Facebook page, social networking (5)

Parking concerns (10)

Beautification (6):

  • Sustain/increase healthy trees (3)
  • Beautify Rodney (3)