Insurance Masters NW: Giving Back to the Planet and Covering Your Insurance Needs

By Corey Kaster

Insurance Masters NW was started in 2005 by Corey Kaster, a North Portland resident who saw the need for an insurance agency that does things differently. Too often people do not secure proper insurance because it seems confusing, time-consuming, or they receive incorrect advice. He began his agency to fix these problems by simplifying and streamlining the process, offering expert advice, and keeping the best interests of their clients at the forefront.

In 2018 Insurance Masters NW became a Certified B Corporation as they have always been committed to social and environmental responsibility. They also became a 1% for the Planet Member, committing 1% of profits to environmental charities.

In early 2019 Corey switched the office from being a semi-captive agency with Farmers Insurance to an independent insurance brokerage. This allows them to offer more competitive pricing while still providing great coverage and quality customer service. They have grown rapidly since this change.

Many financial experts will tell you some unforeseen events and a lack of the right kind of insurance can spell trouble quickly. It can turn a bad day into a bad life! Call them today and they can analyze your insurance needs and get you covered easily at the right price. Everyone has different insurance needs. Connecting with them for a personalized business or individual assessment can show how help protect your hard-earned assets. They offer an easy side-by-side comparison to your current coverage/pricing so you can easily make the right choice.

Corey was born and raised in Portland and loves the variety Portland and the surrounding area offers. When not in the office you can find him out hiking, camping, wakeboarding, snowboarding, biking, doing crossfit, yoga, exploring the city and more. As you can see he stays quite active!

In the industry since 2004, Derek Ortega joined the team with a passion for the impact of insurance in people’s lives. An expert in both personal and commercial insurance, he asks the right questions to provide customized packages to meet each need.

Insurance Masters NW offers the following insurance products – Business/ Commercial, Home, Life, Auto, Fire, Flood, Theft, and more.

Contact them today to see how they can help. Call 503-419-6421 or drop by at 434 NE Knott St. Suite 210 directly behind the Nike Factory store.

Taxed to Death, Part 2

This is the second article on current property tax issues, continuing the article in the Eliot Neighborhood News Spring issue. The first warned of potential changes to property taxes by the current state legislature. At the time, there were several legislators arguing inner N/NE properties were under-taxed and should be reassessed to increase tax payments. This was a consequence of Measure 50, a citizen initiative to cap the rate of property tax increases passed in 1997. It appears that won’t happen. More on that in a bit, but Eliot hasn’t dodged the tax increase bullet.

The other way Multnomah County can extract more taxes from a property in Eliot is selective reassessment. I stopped a County Assessor inspecting homes on my street about a month ago. He said the County was “updating its records.” While the Assessor has an obligation to keep accurate records, doing so on a selective basis — say focusing on Eliot because it is “under-assessed” — strikes me as inequitable. While Measure 50 caps the basis for real market value (RMV), it allows reassessment for new construction and other improvements. Generally, reassessment is triggered by building permits; however, self-constructed improvements are included. Adding a deck is an example and was one item of interest to this assessor (among others). He also volunteered that the County was implementing a “pilot” project to see how many improvements since 1997 were missing from their records. Of course, any improvements that were noted would result in reassessment and higher taxes. Geographically targeted reassessments are concerning enough, but I heard another story that was more disturbing. Several years ago a friend had a house built on her spare lot, like many others with their ADUs, It was permitted and assessed at the time. Recently she received a property tax bill for 5-years of under-assessment. She was told the County hadn’t adjusted her property value at the time and was collecting for the previous 5-years at the corrected rate, a bill over $25,000!

The lesson for all of us in Eliot is that the County apparently has targeted our area for selective increases in assessed value and higher taxes. I noted this as a “worst-case” for property tax collections, but one that is pressing because governments can’t increase taxes as much as they want because of Measure 50. To recap, property taxes are currently based on County assessment of the value of the land and improvements on it, typically a house. The tax rate for both is the same, so the total tax is based on the combination of land and improvements. Measure 50 fixed the local property tax rate to 0.015% of market value and limited annual increases to 3%. The assessed value was indexed to 90% of 1996-7 RMV. As a review of the book Survival Math on page 5 of this issue indicates, Albina in the 1990s was wracked with drugs, prostitution, and gang warfare resulting in reduced property values. Using a real-world example, in 1997 a small house in Eliot had an RMV of $50,000 and taxes set at $750 (other fees brought the total to $1,000). Thanks to Measure 50, that house is now assessed $94,000 and total taxes at $2,400. Without Measure 50, the RMV would be $430,000 and the taxes roughly four times higher!

The previous article noted that if the state legislature did void Measure 50, it would cause all properties to be revalued and the actual tax change somewhat less than four times, so long as the total amount of tax collections was the same as today. For example, if all properties were assessed at twice the current value, the actual tax would be the same as today – to prevent a windfall of tax payments to area governments. However, not all properties have increased at the same rate. Eliot’s values DID increase faster than some parts of the city, such as neighborhoods to the east and far south. As a result, Eliot tax payments would still increase more than many other neighborhoods.

The legislature did not void Measure 50, and it’s possible it can’t because it was a citizen initiative, which may require a public vote to change. What the legislature did instead, with the urging of many governments and social and environmental groups, was offer a proposal of a study of different ways of assessing taxes, one based only on land value; the value of improvements would not be reflected in the tax rate. In other words, a small, 1909 cottage in Eliot would be assessed at the same rate as the recently built McMansion next door. This tax scheme is called land value taxation. A bill (SB 702) to study it as a replacement for current property taxes has passed the Oregon Senate. It calls for a study next year, presumably to be used during the next Legislative session in 2021. The bill notes that the purpose of this study IS to find ways to increase revenues from property taxes, meaning higher property taxes regardless.

Coalition of Black Men/Shellmire Unlimited Bike ‘n’ Bite

By Shireen Hasan

The Annual Bike ‘n’ Bite hosted by the Coalition of Black Men & Shellmire Unlimited P.C. on Saturday, August 3, 2019, was a huge success!

Encouraging community participation and health and wellness, this event’s community participation doubled from last year and it seems to be gaining more momentum each year.

This is a once-a-year bike ride for the community where folks meet in the morning, follow a planned bike route, and end with a community luncheon.

This year, community bikers began their bike ride at the Vanport Plaza located at 5257 NE Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, in Portland, and rode across the Vancouver Bridge to the historic Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver, Washington, where they enjoyed festivities such as live music, food, farmer’s markets, other activities, and ending the bike ride with delicious healthy food at the Horn of Africa, also located in the Vanport Plaza. This event is open to the public, including families with children.

The next annual bike ride will be held sometime in early August 2020, so mark your calendars and do not miss out on the fun! Contact Coalition of Black Men at 503-919-6804 or Shellmire Unlimited P.C. at 503-946-3484 for more details.

Minutes Eliot Neighborhood Association October 21, 2019

General Assembly Meeting and Board Directors Election

Board members present: Jere Fitterman, Jimmy Wilson, Pat Montgomery, Darren Holcomb, Sue Stringer, Brad Baker, Jonathan Konkol, Shireen Hasan, Jim Hlava

Board members absent: Johnny Engleheart Noel, Julio Mendoza, Maggie Gardener

21 additional guests/residents in attendance

Meeting begins 6:35pm

Minutes from September approved unanimously as corrected. Sue Stringer motions to approve, Pat Montgomery 2nds

Portland Clean Air (PCA) presentation by Greg Bourget

  • 41 neighborhood associations and 60 churches and synagogues endorsing the Portland Clean Air effort to require diesel trucks have their diesel engines filtered
  •  ¾ of the short haul trucks have unfiltered diesel engines
  • XPO logistics has 8000 unfiltered trucks
  • PCA has applied for a $20K grant 
  • A stake holder is needed in NE Portland and ENA is a key potential stake holder. 
  • Committee needed to determine action items, get endorsements, fund raise for more testing equipment, contact offending companies with unfiltered truck fleets
  • Sign up for committee – contact Allan Rudwick who will chair the committee

Treasurer report:

  • $5420 Check to Friends of Trees for tree planting and watering this summer
  • No money from the Blazers yet for 2019 – per Jere Fitterman, Karla Gostnell will check on this year’s money and the new contact person at the Blazers
  • Total in checking account as of today is 15266.08

Co-Chair report: 

  • Annual report of Eliot Neighborhood Association Actions for 2019 was handed out at meeting:

Jimmy is attending quarterly Public Safety Act\on Committee (PSAC) meetings and has been working to reinstate monthly meetings to discuss police presence. He set up Chief Outlaw coming to Emmanuel Church to meet with the community to discuss her vision for the city. 

ENA and Boise Neighborhood Associations agreed to take out the dotted border lines between our neighborhoods. The border will now run along the alley between Fremont and Kerby between houses and businesses that face N. Vancouver, then along N. Vancouver to Cook Street west to the 405 freeway and following the 405 freeway to the river. 

ENA subsidized tree planting of 20 large trees in the neighborhood which was conducted by Friends of Trees. Toyota paid for its own street trees ($2K) led by the ENA Livability Team 

ENA Board took dinner to Walnut Park shelter dinner once a month during the winter and spring. 

South Eliot Action Team organized a neighborhood watch training and worked with PBOT to canvas for a parking zone. The parking initiative did not pass. The group is still working on neighborhood watch. 

We welcomed many businesses in the neighborhood. Some reached out to meet us. Several are new advertisers in the Eliot News which is now making a profit and has increased distribution to 3700 with:

• PICA, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art 

• Gained Meyer Memorial Trust and Earthquake Tech as new advertisers for a full year 

• Green Drop Garage also wants to get involved 

• Oasis of Change (Kathryn and Dov) announced their new community based urban farm, restaurant, teaching kitchen, community center, live music … relax and enjoy. 

Livability Team— Litter pickup on April 20 (Earth Day), with starting point at BreadWinner Cafe, was very successful. Event was posted on SOLV’s website. Jodi Guth is the new Block Adopt lead. They will reorganize over the winter. 

7th avenue Greenway–PBOT announced 7the greenway will be on 9th, with no road improvements there. Cyclists will ride through Irving Park, no redirect. City will make improvements on 7th adding speed bumps, crosswalks, stop signs, etc. Decision made by the city because major destinations better served by 9th greenway. 

ENA supported Albina cooperative garden by supporting subscriptions for Eliot neighbors. Additionally,  funding was provided for the Diversity Community Gardening Co-Op at St Philips Church led by Shireen Hasan.

Black Parent Initiative sponsored and organized movie in the park, ENA donated to this event and also ran a very successful Domino Tournament moderated by Jimmy, with the support of Jere and Sue. 

Eliot Neighborhood Association’s Eliot Advocacy for Clean Air Team, eACT was formed to work with other neighborhoods and community groups on an initiative to decrease air pollution.

Elections were held with the help of Anjala Ehalebe from NECN. Vote to elect the following board of directors:

  • Jimmy Wilson
  • Jere Fitterman
  • Shireen Hasan
  • Susan Stringer
  • Jim Hlava
  • Sherry Staggs
  • Jennifer Wilcox
  • Darren Holcomb
  • Patricia Montgomery
  • Jonathan Konkol
  • Allan Rudwick

Executive board positions will be voted on by new board at the November 18 board meeting. New board members need to attend this meeting to vote.

Meeting adjourned 7:55pm

Legacy Health Announces New President of Unity Behavioral Health Center

By Vicki Guinn

Legacy Health announced the appointment of Melissa Eckstein, MSSW, MBA, LCSW, as the new president of Unity Center for Behavioral Health effective September 30, 2019.

“We selected Melissa after a rigorous nationwide search with multiple highly qualified candidates,” said Trent Green, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Legacy Health. “Melissa brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in creating safe, caring environments for patients experiencing acute behavioral health crises and has a strong background in fostering relationships with staff, patients and the community.”

“Compassionate and respectful around-the-clock mental health services are needed for those facing a mental health crisis,” said Eckstein. “We can only do this with a highlytrained staff of professionals who feel supported and can focus on providing high-level care to patients. I look forward to working with Legacy Health leaders, staff and other partners to continue to improve the Unity Center model of care and to continue to build upon this greatly-needed service in the community.”

Eckstein has held leadership roles guiding the operations of behavioral health centers that offer crisis intervention. She most recently served as the chief executive officer of Palo Verde Behavioral Health, an inpatient and outpatient mental health and substance use treatment facility which offers programs for adults and adolescents. Prior to that, Eckstein held the position of chief operating officer for Spring Mountain Treatment Center and Spring Mountain Sahara in Las Vegas, Nevada. She served as CEO for Salt Lake Behavioral Health Hospital in Salt Lake, Utah, and COO for Ascend Health Corporation.

Eckstein holds an undergraduate degree from the University of North Texas; an MBA from Texas Women’s University; and a Master of Science in social work from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is a licensed clinical social worker.

Memoz Dessert Café – Creative, Deliciousness in Record Time

By Memoz Dessert Cafe

Brownie with Baked Alaska …
yummm!
Photo courtesy Memoz Dessert
Café

Brand new to the neighborhood, Memoz Dessert Cafe opened this spring at 3494 N. Williams. Founded by husband and wife team Aaron and Julie Allina, this one-of-a-kind, build-your-own dessert cafe serves up incredible desserts, designed by you and baked in under two minutes, right in front of your eyes.

With an array of menu items from comfort classics like brownies and cookies to the almond tart and seasonal crisp, there’s something for everyone, including gluten-free and vegan options. Memoz offers an endless array of desserts to choose from, you can design your own or choose from a selection of seasonal signature combinations, and select fun toppings like Baked Alaska, caramel, ganache, or a la mode.

Memoz pastry chef Erica Stephensen and her team of dessert guides then bake your creation in under two minutes utilizing the cafe’s cutting edge and lightning-fast ovens for a first of its kind dessert experience.

Family friendly and built as a neighborhood retreat, Memoz offers coffee as well as beer and wine for those old enough to imbibe. For families, board games and a relaxed atmosphere invites you to come and stay awhile. Memoz is open all day, 12 to 9 pm Sunday through Thursday and is open late on Fridays and Saturdays, from 12 to 11 pm.

Sandra Ford Honored by Cascadia with Portrait by Jeremy Okai Davis

By Jennifer Moffatt

Cascadia’s Garlington Health Center unveiled a new portrait by Jeremy Okai Davis to honor the retirement of long-time community health advocate and activist, Sandra Ford, PA.C. Sandra has played an instrumental role in community health for over 40 years, beginning at the Fred Hampton Peoples Health Clinic on Vancouver and Russell Streets in North Portland. After becoming a physician assistant (PA) in 1981, Sandra started as a women’s health specialist, became a family practice clinician, and soon became one of the first psychiatric PAs in the country. Sandra has been a steadfast presence at our Garlington Health Center since 2004.

Sandra’s commitment to the community has also been steadfast. As a member of Portland’s Black Panther Party, Sandra’s work included welfare rights advocacy, justice issues, and supporting students of color. With other members of the Black Panthers she helped organize a Free Breakfast Program for children in inner-city Portland at Highland Church that fed 100 – 150 children a day, five days a week; worked to establish the Fred Hampton Memorial Peoples Free Health Clinic in Portland in 1969 which arranged sickle cell anemia testing at schools and community events, screening approximately 11,000 people in Portland; and set up the Free Dental Clinic that is now the Cleve Allen Dentist Clinic. And much more.

“I hope to be remembered as a listener, a person who cared, who was respectful and tried always to do my best for others,” said Sandra.

Community members can view this new portrait, as well as the other works by Jeremy Okai Davis, Arvie Smith, Hilary Pfeifer and Anne Crumpacker at the Garlington Health Center at 3036 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.