Get Involved and Be About It

A Letter From the Chair

At the beginning of each new year we each face the unknown with renewed focus, both for ourselves, and as a community. It is a time to rethink our focus and find new ways to become more effective.  This is a time to get to work.

Local civic work needs everyone’s input and effort.  Begin by asking yourself how you can make a difference?  The answer seems very simple. You can make a difference by becoming involved locally.  Find something that interests you- anything that appeals to your passion and enlists your talents.  Right on your own street, in your neighborhood, there are ways to make a difference in your life and the lives of your neighbors.

I have found a place for my passions, and talents.  In our Eliot Neighborhood Association we support local social activities and events like Concerts in the Park, publishing and mailing the Eliot Newsletter, Annual Cleanup for disposing of large bulk items, Adopt-a-Block litter pickup and curb gutter cleaning, Neighborhood Watch Crime Prevention, Land Use and Transportation issues, advocacy and information, parking issues, and Neighborhood Emergency Training. The place to make the most difference you can see is locally. The Eliot Neighborhood Association is a place you can find out about local issues that are important to your daily life.

Our society comes with many protections and privileges, but we often forget that defending and supporting that society is also a responsibility that everyone can help with.  Civic responsibility means taking action. In the long term it is an everyday responsibility of each citizen of the community. You can help shape our community by adding not only your voice but your energy and commitment to improvement as well.

Overview of 2016 Eliot Neighborhood Association annual Activities:

  • Quarterly Newsletter published (Jan,   April,   July,   October)
  • Newsletter mailed to all residents  and businesses in Eliot  Neighborhood
  • Newsletter advertising rates updated to match other   newsletters  in Portland and to cover cost of printing and postage
  • Welcomed neighbors  of Forgotten Realms Intentional Community
  • Annual  Clean Up in May
  • Litter Pick-ups coordinated with Solve in March, May and October
  • Intersection repainting event in July- Tillamook and Rodney
  • ENA  table presence  at Good in the  Hood in June, Concerts in the  Park  in July
  • Support of Meals on Wheels fundraiser Jambalaya in September
  • ENA  table  presence at the Garlington groundbreaking in September
  • Website and Facebook maintenance
  • Nextdoor  app announcements and sandwich boards announcing meetings added to communication.

For 2017 the Eliot Neighborhood Association  needs to know what you want to happen in our neighborhood and how you want to be involved.

What Now?

“I Commit to…” Local Action – the Antidote to Despair

Stand up for what you believe in. Isn’t that what we as Americans are taught and believe is the right thing to do? We can stand, march, speak, write, protest, post, all of that. But there are local methods of involvement as well. We aren’t under attack only from outside, our democracy erodes slowly whenever we aren’t watching and working. Participation in local politics, civic institutions, and community organizations are all essential to making our community work for everyone.

Here close to home we have elected good hardworking people to lead our State and City and to represent us in the US Senate and House: Governor Kate Brown, Senator Lew Fredericks, District 22, and Representative Tawna Sanchez, District 43. Portland’s mayor elect Ted Wheeler, Portland City Commissioners Amanda Fritz, Chloe Eudaly, Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish; and U.S. House Representative Earl Blumenauer, as well as the U.S. Senators for Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Ron Wyden.

But what is happening locally in our community?

This Newsletter is delivered to everyone in the Eliot Neighborhood. The City of Portland’s Neighborhood Associations under the Office of Neighborhood Involvement has it’s mission defined as, “Promoting a culture of civic engagement by connecting and supporting all Portlanders working together and with government to build inclusive, safe and livable neighborhoods and communities”. Portland has 95 formally recognized neighborhood associations and seven neighborhood district coalitions. Our Eliot Neighborhood Association is part of the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, NECN.

In addition to the opportunities for involvement at the City, State and Federal government level there are many opportunities right here in our Neighborhood.  If you want to improve safety on your street, one simple way is to know your neighbors and who is walking down the sidewalks and driving on the street. Neighborhood Watch is just that. The City Police Crime Prevention helps you put together a list of residents on your street with contact information and distribute that to each resident. From there your neighbors can get to know each other and be there for each other.

Neighborhood Emergency Teams (NETs) are Portland residents trained by PBEM and Portland Fire & Rescue to provide emergency disaster assistance within their own neighborhoods. NET members are trained to save lives and property until professional responders can arrive. These volunteers are specially trained to help others without putting themselves in harm’s way.

NET members are:

  • Prepared to be self-sufficient for two weeks during any emergency.
  • Able to provide emergency assistance to their family and immediate neighbors.
  • Able to work within an emergency response team to save lives and property in their neighborhood.
  • Able to guide untrained volunteers who want to help others during a disaster.

The Eliot Neighborhood Association website and the Newsletter will help you stay informed. But being involved can also mean attending Neighborhood Association Board meetings. We meet on the 3rd Monday of each month at 120 NE Knott in the St Philips the Deacon Church community room at 6:30 PM. We also have a Land Use Transportation Board meeting at the same place on the 2nd Monday of each month. These meetings are where the rubber hits your very own road. If local action is something you think you can be passionate about start by attending these meetings.

Our Livability team is starting an Adopt-a-Block to build on that spirit of good stewardship if you want to participate.

Also, if you are turning your thoughts and feelings into action or social justice action check out this Portland Radio Project event that happened at Revolution Hall event. I was heartened by the comments on an NPR review of this event. At this brainstorming event in November at organized by Natalie Sept,, a member of Hillary Clinton’s campaign team,  Oregon’s Poet Laureate Liz Woody, along with activists and nonprofit leaders urged folks “Don’t talk about it, be about it.”  We can all take inspiration from the message this event  is promoting.

So, let’s BE ABOUT IT!