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.
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
$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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
If any city’s residents stick around for a while, they are likely to witness some sort of transformation. During Portland’s history, the city’s boundaries have physically changed, absorbing neighboring cities, like Albina, into the fold. Portland’s demographics and key industries have also shifted over the years. In previous versions of Portland, residents realized that some forms of transportation were better suited for the growing city than others and invested in transforming to new transport modes. Vestiges of these changes remain visible; some houses in Eliot have horse tethering rings anchored to the curb, evidence of the early 1900s, when deliveries were made with horse and wagon instead of by truck.
Mo Badreddine, a Portland-area local from birth and the driving force behind the Albina Rail Yard Relocation Project, hopes that Portlanders are at the cusp of another change. Badreddine is encouraging communities to ask Union Pacific to relocate its railroad infrastructure out of the center of the city. Badreddine believes that a new location for the railroad will benefit Union Pacific and Portlanders through improved operational efficiency, decreased traffic interference, and lower pollution. In addition, if Union Pacific were to relocate from Albina, they would vacate 215 acres of riverfront property. With development funds and community input, the former rail yard could be reimagined as mix of housing, shopping, parks, and public spaces contributing to Portland’s overall attractiveness and livability.
With increasing pressures on air quality from projects such as the Oregon Department of Transportation’s proposed Interstate 5 expansion and high traffic through the Central Eastside, any project looking to decrease pollution is worth exploration. Along with cleaner air, relocating the railroad infrastructure would improve access to other parts of Portland, and provide an economic boost through new shops, restaurants, and jobs. With this in mind, below you will find an interview with Mo Badreddine on the importance of the relocation project and how you can help.
What are your goals for the Albina Rail Relocation Project? Ultimately, our goal is to create a new path for Union Pacific that will increase the railroad’s operational efficiency, alleviate operational, safety, and environmental concerns for the public, while also retaining the economic benefits of UP’s railroad service to our community. In addition to that, I think we can redevelop the site(s) into a more communal and meaningful space where, housing, transit, art, health, science, and wildlife all coexist.
How did you get involved with the project? My curiosity and passion for large-scale infill redevelopment stumbled me into Homer [Williams]’s office many-a-years ago, and like many, I’m a product of my environment. Homer’s efforts are focused on getting people off the streets with his non-profit, Oregon Harbor of Hope, so Portland is incalculably lucky to have him. (oregonharborofhope.org)
What do you want Eliot neighborhood residents to know about the project? Probably the same thing we’ve been telling everyone: we’re not crazy. Rail relocation is not a new solution — rather, it is one that has proven to be effective and necessary given the right conditions. It is happening all throughout the United States, in big and small markets alike: Memphis, Burlington, Boston, Nashville, San Gabriel, Lafayette (IN), Reno, Chicago, LA, and Salt Lake City, are among the cities that are planning or have taken steps to move their rail facilities from urban core to outlying areas. I encourage you to think big, to think as big as you possibly can because this is a generational opportunity for every individual, motorist, cyclist and organization, living near or commuting through the CEIC (Central Eastside Industrial District).
What’s the status of funding for the study? We’re a little more than $5,000 short (of reaching our $25,000 goal), which is incredible. When we raise the remaining amount, the community will be able to say that this is a community funded & driven effort and ultimately, get to be a stakeholder throughout the decision-making process.
What can individual residents do to get involved with the project? Every dollar helps. With your assistance, we can let the creative engineers explore the possibilities of moving the Albina & Brooklyn intermodal facilities. Donations are being accepted online at https:// http://www.albinarailrelocation.org/
Good news! Eliot residents have a new way to approach local adventures. Earlier this year, TriMet extended Bus Line 24 – Fremont to run between the East Side and North West Thurman Street. The 24- Fremont’s new route makes it the first TriMet bus route to cross the Fremont Bridge since the bridge opened in 1973. With the route extension, the Fremont bridge shuttles residents quickly across the river connecting them to nature, shops, restaurants, and Max lines.
Leaving from North Vancouver Avenue, bus riders can find themselves on the West Side of the river in just two stops. If you are looking to take advantage of Portland’s commitment to nature, a quick ride on the 24 Bus will land you within hiking distance of Lower Macleay Park or Leif Erikson Trail. If you instead would like to try one of our city’s other Spanish restaurants, Atuala, or a French Bakery, St. Honoré, you could also take Line 24. Finally, Line 24 provides access to additional services by connecting Legacy Health System’s Emanuel and Good Samaritan hospitals and the North West branch of the Multnomah County Library on NW Thurman Ave.
The 24 line extension provides an easy way to reduce car trips and support bus infrastructure. The next time you’d like to explore beyond Eliot’s boundaries, just jump on the 24 Bus for fast, inexpensive access to a different part of Portland. Line 24 runs every day of the week, from as early as 6:00 am to after 9:00 pm. You can check out the route and schedule at trimet.org.
Four local artists join Open Signal Portland Community Media Center for the third year of its New Media Fellowship, a residency program that supports artists exploring the social implications of immersive technologies.
Artists Myles de Bastion, Laura Medina, Jessica Mehta and Sam Mendoza will each work in residence for four months to create new projects that incorporate virtual reality (VR), mixed reality, 360 video and immersive media art installations. Their work will use immersive media to address science fiction, poetry, decolonization and immigrant experiences. The residencies begin September 2019.
The fellowship is the only program of its kind in the state of Oregon, and a unique opportunity for Portland-based experimental media artists to receive professional support and to create new work. Each artist will receive a $2,000 stipend, a $500 material budget and studio production training with 3D and VR software and equipment from Open Signal’s new media inventory.
Artists will also have a one-on-one mentorship with Matt Henderson of Portland Immersive Media Group and 360 Labs, a Portland-based company specializing in 360-degree media. Each artist will present a final exhibition of their work on site at Open Signal.
With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the fellows will also travel to New Mexico to exhibit their work at the CURRENTS Santa Fe International New Media Festival in June 2020. At the festival, they will show their work at the 360-degree Digital Dome at the Institute for American Indian Arts (IAIA).
“It is really exciting to be able to bring our fellows out-of-state for the first time,” said Taylor Neitzke, Director of Programs at Open Signal. “It is a huge honor to present the work of these artists at an international media festival in a truly one-of-akind space at the IAIA. We are excited about how this trip will help these artists take their careers to the next level and incite conversations with artists in other states.”
Past and current New Media Fellows have received grants, exhibitions, fellowships and residencies at locations around the country. Most recently, Fellow Sharita Towne received a 2019 Creative Capital award, Manuel Arturo Abreu was selected for a 2019 Emerging Artist Residency at the Centrum Foundation and May Cat for a 2020 residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute.
2019-20 New Media Fellows applied to the program through an open call for submissions. They were selected by a panel of local and national arts organizers.
The New Media Fellowship program is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Jackson Foundation.
Fellowship Bios September – December 2019 Fellows
Jessica Mehta is a multi-award-winning poet and artist who works at the intersections of mixed and digital media. She is currently a poetry editor at Bending Genres literary review, Airlie Press, and the peer-reviewed Exclamat!on journal. Jessica is also the founder of the Jessica Tyner Scholarship Fund, the only scholarship exclusively for Native Americans pursuing an advanced degree in writing.
Jessica’s exhibition opens at Open Signal March 10,2020.
Laura Camila Medina is an interdisciplinary artist born in Bogota, Colombia and raised in Orlando, Florida. She bases her practice around memory and identity as a response to personal, cultural and historical research. Her work has shown at the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture, PLANETA New York, Blackfish Gallery and with the Nat Turner Project. She earned her BFA at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Laura’s exhibition opens at Open Signal May 12, 2020.
February – May 2020 Fellows
Sam Mendoza is an educator at Portland Community College, as well as the Manager of the Virtual Reality Development Center at PCC’s Cascade Campus. They work as an independent artist and activist focusing largely on technology, indigenous futurism, decolonization, immigrant rights, trans rights, equity and environmentalism.
Sam’s exhibition opens at Open Signal August11, 2020.
Myles de Bastion is an artistic director, musician and creative-altruist who develops technology and art installations that enables sound to be experienced as light and vibration. A strong advocate for disability rights, Myles’ work centers upon themes of inclusion, diversity, equity and access for Deaf and disabled people. He is the founder of CymaSpace, a nonprofit that facilitates arts and cultural events that are inclusive of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing.
Myles’ exhibition opens at Open Signal October 13, 2020
It’s evening in Portland’s South Waterfront District, and Annie Rudwick is getting her kids loaded for the trip home from work and daycare. Many parents would see this as a job for something like a minivan. But Rudwick is helping her daughters – aged 1, 3 and 5 – onto the back of her electric-assist cargo bike. The e-boost gives her the power to easily carry a hundred pounds of kid. And because of Portland’s rush-hour congestion, she says her four mile trip each way is often quicker by bike.
“I didn’t want to have to bike and take a shower. I wanted something I could just commute in and get to work,” said Rudwick, the associate dean for finance and administration at Oregon Health & Science University’s School of Dentistry. “The electric bike allows me to not have to exercise as much,” she added. “It really is just a mode oftransportation.”
Rudwick’s 12-foot-long bike-and-trailer combination is not the only vehicle that turns heads in the bike lanes. She’s part of a new trend that transportation experts are calling micromobility. It’s the idea that new technology – including smartphones and more efficient batteries – is sparking a big jump in small, nimble vehicles suited for increasingly crowded city streets.
“We’re seeing a lot more users in bike lanes – bicycles, electric scooters, electric bikes. I see people on kind of skateboard sort of conveyances,” said Jillian Detweiler, executive director of The Street Trust, formerly known as the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.
Most notable are those rental scooters that have been sprouting up in cities around the world. About 2,600 are now on the streets of Portland.
“I think people are just looking for different ways to get around,” said Chris Warner, director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation. He added that the popularity of the scooters show that riders are finding them a fun and affordable way to make short trips. Those scooters themselves are evolving. Since June, two scooter companies have offered vehicles with seats and larger wheels. Warner said he tried one out and liked it. “You know, I found the seated one a little steadier,” he said, noting that it could attract riders who find the standing scooters intimidating.
A recent report from Deloitte, the international consulting firm, said the rapid growth of the scooter industry – at a pace faster than the early years of ride-hailing companies like Uber – has boosted business interest in micromobility. These vehicles “have the potential to better connect people with public transit, reduce reliance on private cars, and make the most of existing space by ‘right-sizing’ the vehicle, all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” the Deloitte reportsaid.
Nobody’s quite sure how far all this will go. For example, China is pumping out hundreds of thousands of low-speed electric cars that are typically about the size of golf carts. The Street Trust’s Detweiler said something like that could someday end up in Portland. “What we want to promote is using the right mode for the trip that you’re trying to take,” she said. Her trip to work, Detweiler added, is something she could readily make by bicycle. But maybe the “trip to the grocery store where I’m trying to get the 20% discount on a case of wine could be made a little two-seater electric car with a small cargo space in back.”
Sam Schwartz, a former New York City transportation commissioner, has long argued for reducing the use of single occupancy autos in dense cities. In his new book, “No One at the Wheel: Driverless Cars and the Road of the Future,” Schwartz argues that the advent of autonomous vehicles could be either a boon or a bane for micromobility.
“Something’s got to give,” Schwartz said in a recent telephone interview. “You can’t have so many modes that move at different speeds.” Schwartz said he wants to see self-driving vehicles regulated, in order to spur the use of transit and low-speed autonomous vehicles in cities. What he doesn’t want to see are large, single-occupant autonomous vehicles that wind up pushing other users off the street. That’s something that could happen, he said, predicting that the tech-heavy automakers of the future “will be the most powerful industry on earth.”
Of course, there’s plenty to argue about besides the future of robot cars. Today, the proliferation of scooters is riling plenty of people who complain that riders are too apt to use them on sidewalks – or to park them in ways that interfere with pedestrians or cars. Cyclists using their own energy to pedal are also having to contend with a lot of vehicles in bike lanes that move in different ways and speeds.
Joe Kurmaskie, a longtime writer on bikes in Portland and executive director of the Washington County Bicycle Transportation Coalition, started to say that the increasing diversity in the bike lanes has its good and bad points. “Well, bad is maybe not the right word,” he quickly added. “[It’s] more learning to share the limited space we’re given as cyclists.”
Warner, the Portland transportation director, said Portland still has a lot of capacity in its bike lanes and is well-positioned to be on the front lines of micromobility. The city has nearly 400 miles of bike routes and may expand its bike-share network next year to include electric bikes. That could attract potential riders who want the ease of e-bikes but don’t want to shell out the $1,500 to $4,000 cost of one. “We’re really open and hoping to encourage innovation and finding ways to get people around safely and sustainably,” Warner said.
Rudwick, who uses the electronic-assist cargo bike, said her daily commute gives her a glimpse of a city built around micromobility. “For me,” she said, “the system is so great.” Almost her entire ride is either in bike lanes or off-street paths. She gets free valet parking at the base of the tram up to OHSU, which means she doesn’t even have to lock her bike. In addition, OHSU gives Rudwick a $1.50-aday subsidy for cycling to work. More importantly, she avoids car parking fees that run at least $13 a day.
“You can buy a lot of e-bike with the cost savings there,” said her husband, Allan Rudwick, who has long been avid about the potential of electric bikes. “I’m really excited to see where this goes,” he said of the emerging micromobility revolution.
Annie Rudwick said she now finds that the days when she has to drive to work are the most hassle. But she conceded that her daughters sometime complain about cycling in the rain.
Alas, the dog days of summer are behind us, and the cool, refreshing showers of autumn will soon be upon us. Along with that change comes the shedding of mature Linden, Maple, and Oak trees lining our streets, plus the many more, newly planted trees. A big shout out to Friends of Trees and the great work they do to improve Eliot’s green spaces!
Please remember to do your part and help to keep those leaves from clogging the sewers when the rain starts falling more heavily in the coming months. It also really helps those hard-working adopt-a-block folks who volunteer to keep the blocks you live on free of trash. When mixed with wet leaves, retrieving that debris and the tossed cigarette butts can be a particular challenge. In fact, the challenge is so great I hereby personally invite everyone reading this, now, to put down the paper, go to your phone and call me, Jody, at 503-331-1511 (ok, finish your coffee, first…) I’ll get you set up with all the bags, gloves, and info you need. I know, I know….it doesn’t really seem like the best way to spend a few minutes of your day, but trust me, you’ll feel great when people pass you by and thank you for your efforts. You’ll swoon when looking down the block you just toiled over and, in your own little corner of Eliot, along with 23 other toilers, you’ve managed to improve the appearance and sustainability of this one little street. Also, you’ll be thrilled to know that you are then entered into a drawing (1 out of 24 chances is pretty sweet) for a $100.00 gift certificate to New Seasons. Our next drawing is coming up shortly, and your name will be entered if you claim your block soon.
Of course it’s great to win prizes, but hopefully, your decision to join with other adopters is also one of simply caring for your community and a desire to give a little back. Our last two adopters, Cindy, who has adopted Cook Street between Rodney and MLK, and Laura, who decided to give some attention to Williams between Tillamook and San Rafael have gladdened those areas with their trusty Solve bags in tow. You might also be a hero like Brian who discovered some lost papers on his clean-up and is trying to connect them to their owners. Nice save, Brian.
I look forward to adding your name to our fine roster of dedicated Eliot Adopt-ablockers. So finish that coffee and call, already, ‘k?
Who expected that weaving 72 native willow saplings into a dome in the middle of Boise Eliot Native Grove might invoke such magic? But in early August a geyser gushed forth from the center of the Willow Dome, flooded the Fremont Bridge ramp and created a sinkhole that appeared beneath the leafy structure.
City crews were called to investigate and immediately opened nearby hydrants to stem the tide. Turns out it was a broken water main under the Grove. Crews isolated the pipe under the Willow Dome and stopped the flow. The sinkhole that formed inside the Dome was cordoned off with warning tape. Pipe repair was scheduled but threatened to destroy some of the plantings.
Fortunately, Grove volunteers from Bureau of Environmental Services, Xerces Society, Ivy School, and friends of the Boise Eliot Native Grove leaped into action, digging up dozens of Willow and Ninebark plantings to preserve them from the backhoe. Plants were stored in 20 buckets until the repair was completed, and another crew of hearty volunteers worked to replant them at the end of the month. Hurrah for Community! Also, a huge thank you to all our Watering Heroes and Willow Guardians this summer for keeping the Grove enchanting.
Stay tuned at the Boise Eliot Native Grove website, Facebook, and Instagram about upcoming willow weaving and other marvelous events! http://www.nativegrovepdx.org
Environmental Services has completed replacing or repairing approximately 10,000 feet of public sewer pipes in the southern part of the Eliot Neighborhood. These pipes were deteriorating due to age or were undersized for the sewer and stormwater flows in this area.
The project also constructed eight green street planters on public streets in key locations. These green street planters will divert 1.9 million gallons of stormwater annually from the sewer system, helping reduce the possibility of overflows into the river, basement backups, and street flooding during periods of heavy rain.
These improvements will help protect public health, property and our environment by reducing the possibility of sewage releases into streets, homes and businesses.
This was a major sewer and stormwater management project and we thank you for your cooperation and patience during construction. To learn more about the project visit http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/Eliot. If you have any questions or comments about the project you may also contact Matt Gough, Community Outreach for City of Portland Environmental Services at (503) 823-5352 or Matthew.Gough@portlandoregon.gov.
The city of Portland is divided into 94 neighborhoods. Each, including Eliot, is represented by a volunteer board made up of people who live and/or work in the neighborhood. While neighbors have always organized with each other to gain strength in numbers when dealing with city government and supporting each other, City Hall created an official bureau to provide a mechanism for enfranchising communities. This was the result of a mandate for community involvement in the implementation of the Great Society programs for urban renewal, created in the late 1960s under LBJ. Among other things, these boards have played a key role in shaping local land use policy and implementation of City code.
Fast forward five decades to today and tensions have emerged between the leadership of some of the neighborhood associations and the City’s policy goals. Commissioner Chloe Eudaly’s office, which currently oversees the Office of Civic Life (formerly the Office of Neighborhood Involvement) has asserted that neighborhoods, in general, have become an obstacle to new development, and their boards are insufficiently diverse. Rather than working to improve the situation, they have proposed changes to city code to simply erase neighborhood associations from any official recognition.
The ostensible goal of the changes – increasing the representation of citizens of marginalized communities in civic life – is laudable. It is also true that some neighborhood boards have struggled with a lack of proportional representation. We have struggled with this problem in Eliot. We have also made efforts to diversify our board to truly represent our community and we have committed to an ongoing effort to build and maintain a board that looks like our community.
At this point in our history, our government should require neighborhood association boards to be representative; we wish to continue to have a codified voice in public decision-making, so some quid pro quo is appropriate. Rather than removing the entire system, City Hall can be a partner for change and improvement of neighborhood boards. Official recognition, staff time and funding should be tied to the adoption of standards for inclusivity of neighborhood boards. Boards should look like the communities they serve, and codifying this would achieve the City’s stated goals of inclusion. We can build on what we already have. Grassroots civic involvement has made our city stronger and can continue to do so, provided we work together with a common goal.
In an increasingly alienated and divided society, the antidote to alienation and basis of a healthy society is face-to-face interaction with those around us. This means strengthening and reforming the systems of governance that unite neighbors around the city. Working together with our neighbors, we form bonds that transcend race and class and help us form networks of trust and mutual support. We will need these networks when we face inevitable challenges such as the predicted 9.0+ mega quake by developing teams to organize and implement disaster training and also continue to maintain consistent committees for this and other ongoing issues.
The proposed code changes, which were slated to go before city council in August, have been pushed back to sometime in November. What can you do? Write to the Mayor, Commissioners and the Office of Civic Life to express support for an alternative that improves neighborhoods and strengthens us to do the work of community building.
Vera Warren, an uprising young woman of color, has entered the Portland legal scene in pursuit of becoming an attorney, and it looks like she’s taking the legal profession by storm! Vera grew up in Beaverton, Oregon, and traveled between two homes, with her father living in NE Portland. Vera attended South Ridge High School, and then continued onto Willamette University College, in Salem (undergrad), accomplishing her Psychology major, and Environmental Science minor in four years. She then lived in New York for two years with her aunt. Vera says it was a good experience overall, and she misses it.
After returning to Portland, Vera worked at Portland General Electric (PGE). Fulfillment was not readily achieved in Vera’s life around this time, because clearly, she had another calling; she felt the urgency for social justice and wanted to be educated in areas to ‘make change’. Once consciously awakened to this idea and to bring it into manifestation, Vera decided to pursue the profession in law, to speak out and do something about the injustices that so many people are continually victimized by today. Hence, Vera began school at Lewis & Clark College to study law for four years, and eventually left her job at PGE.
In addition to school, Vera was blessed with, and had the privilege to intern alongside her father, Ernest Warren — a powerful, hotshot attorney (and handsome, I might add), who took his daughter under his wing, teaching her the ropes and exposing her to real-life hands on training, experiences, and opportunities working with clients, cases, judges, other attorneys, and in court-rooms of law that other law students could only dream of! Ernest owns and operates his own practice, located in downtown Portland, Oregon, and has practiced law since 1988. Vera describes working with her father as the best experience. Because he wanted better for her, he pushed her, gave her opportunities, and challenged her. They have a solid foundational relationship built on communication and a good understanding with each other. She admits there were times when Vera felt overwhelmed with school, study, the hands on training, and her dad’s expectations: there were a few snippy moments working together, but all out of love.
Ernest is a leader and has helped pave the way for his daughter, and certainly for other people of color, as well. Vera mentions that her father pulled things out of her that she was not aware that she had the ability to do. In addition, she also feels that she has learned some things about herself and discovering new things that she can do. This is powerful on so many levels, and it sounds like Vera has tapped into her own innate potential.
Recently, in preparation for the Oregon State Bar exam, Vera has stopped working. She studied for four to six hours a day, and took another smaller course to practice. Vera mentioned staying in isolation so that she could put in the time that she needed. Folks wanted Vera to take the time to go out and participate in activities, but she had no time to spend hanging out with family and friends. She found that she had to be really disciplined, and she says that if you do not pass the bar exam the first time, there is a really long wait period for the next opportunity to try it again. Vera has taken the bar exam and is expecting the results from it in the fall of 2019.
To begin with, Vera plans to work in public defense and criminal justice, and says she wants to advocate for the groups who are severely underrepresented. For example, prison inmates, folks with mental health and addiction issues, and people of color, specifically black people because of their higher representation in the inmate population. She wants to make small changes wherever she can as she moves through her journey, not allowing herself to become overwhelmed because the issues are so entrenched and expansive. Her goals are to be able to go into policy to make change, and says that she has to start with smaller goals in steps to help bring them about; maybe becoming a judge later on down the road.
In August 2020, she will start a clerkship in the Court of Appeals, working under a judge to explain laws. She’ll focus on clear communication, with some technical writing, which she enjoys. But working as a public defender before that time is at the top of her agenda.
Her continuing education is inevitable because it is required in order to continue practicing law. Vera feels that being ahead of the competition is amazing — she can share information with other attorneys, and furthermore learn from others.
Vera encourages youth who may be interested in professional law to ‘Go for It’! However, she cautions to be ready to feel uncomfortable because being in this field there may not be a lot of support for people of color, and you would need to find folks who are involved where you can receive the support that you need. This is a community, so even if you do not understand the work, just go for it anyway.
Vera encourages adults who are interested in pursuing a law profession to check out Lewis & Clark College’s evening program, because it even has allowed parents with kids to go through law classes . It’s possible if you can fit it in and can figure it out.
Vera was exposed to many aspects of law, for example, she learned taxes, mortgages, and other topics that she wished that she could spend more time on. Vera adds that you learn how to defend yourself and how to properly do things when you learn about the law, and this information is useful to her through her life.
After all of Vera’s hard work, time, energy, and determination that she has put into her education and doing her best to be the best, she is now able to take some time off and reconnect with friends and especially with family. Very says that spending time with family is very important to her. She is happy to see members of the family that she has not seen in a while. Vera is also happy to be back out in the community and connecting with everyone.
It is very exciting to see this strong, beautiful, intelligent, and down-to-earth young woman of color blazing in the direction of leadership and power. It will be interesting to follow how this unfolds for Vera. We need more young women of color taking their rightful place in society, working for the next generation of leaders at the forefront of justice, fighting for justice, and guiding our youth to do the same. We are cheering for you, Vera. You Go Girl!