Letter from the LUTC ViceChair: City’s New Code Change Could Be a Game Changer for Neighborhood Associations

By Jonathan Konkol

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.

Perseverance Results in Bright Future and Prestigious Clerkship for Woman of Color Attorney

Lewis & Clark Law School graduate, Vera Warren. Photo Courtesy
Vera Warren

By Shireen Hasan

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!

Reminder: General Meeting and Board Elections Tonight

Monday, October 21 6:30 PM

St. Philip the Deacon Church

120 NE Knott St

Meet your neighbors, learn about local issues, have input into decisions that may affect you, and vote for board members. At the meeting, you can also learn more about joining the board or a neighborhood committee.

Agenda

  1. 6:30 Greet neighbors (15 min)
  2. 6:45 Approve minutes (5 min)
  3. 6:50 Clean Air Presentation, questions and invitation to our Clean Air Committee (40 min)
  4. 7:30 Annual report from the Chair (5 min)
  5. 7:35 Election intro by both Co-chairs (20 min)
  6. 7:55 Election-Anjala Ehelebe from NECN to conduct the election with paper ballots.
  7. Eat while ballots are counted

Support Portland Clean Air and Breathe Easier in the Future

By Greg Bourget

Diesel particulate is the worst airborne carcinogen according to State of California risk assessments. In Portland it comes primarily from industrial unfiltered trucks making in-city deliveries. Currently Portland is ranked in the worst 1.3% of counties in the nation for airborne diesel particulate according to the most recent EPA three-year assessment. Airborne diesel particulate affects the Eliot Neighborhood more than most Portland neighborhoods. California banned unfiltered diesel trucks statewide and by 2015 there were virtually none left. Diesel particulate filters remove 90% of diesel particulate emissions. In contrast, three-quarters of the trucks in the three-county Portland area have no filter according to ODOT and DMV records. The in-city stretch of I5, including the part that runs through Eliot neighborhood, has the 24-hour highest truck counts in Portland according to ODOT monitoring studies.

DEQ reported diesel-powered vehicles are only 6% of Oregon vehicles on the road yet emit 60 – 70% of all particulate emissions from all on-road vehicles combined. The State of California reported that currently diesel particulate is still “responsible for about 70% of California’s estimated known cancer risk attributable to toxic air contaminants.” DEQ reported in 2015 that diesel exhaust causes lung and bladder cancer, certain heart attacks and other blood clotting diseases, coronary artery disease, malignant childhood brain tumors, decreased cognitive functioning, increased incidence of Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), acute bronchitis, and asthma. A study by Bishop et al. found diesel particulate causes dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Immediate symptoms include eye and throat irritation, coughing and phlegm, swollen airway, bronchial irritation, nausea, headache, lightheadedness, and fatigue.

Portland Clean Air believes negotiation with unfiltered trucking companies is the solution. The Oregon diesel bill HB 2007 which passed June 30, 2019, was gutted by industry. It allows a ten-year phase-out. California did a seven-year phase-out starting nine years ago! Numerous loopholes allow trucking companies to avoid even that deadline. The Oregon legislature accepts unlimited corporate campaign donations. This is illegal in 45 states. Since we can’t count on the Oregon Legislature, neighbors have been directly negotiating with industrial polluters instead. Since the
Bullseye scandal, eight Portland area industries have installed a smokestack scrubber at a cost of $70 K to $20 M due solely to
negotiations with neighbors.

Judging by model year, XPO Logistics has 8,604 unfiltered trucks – by far the largest unfiltered truck fleet in the Portland area. XPO Logistics, Consolidated Freightways, and USF Reddaway combined have 12,036 unfiltered trucks – more than TriMet and the next largest 24 unfiltered Portland area fleets combined. As the state of Oregon barely regulates them, I think they require a response from us, their neighbors.

Portland Clean Air is working with 41 Portland Neighborhood Association boards, the North East Coalition of Neighborhoods, and 24 Portland-area churches and synagogues to address this airborne diesel particulate through negotiation with unfiltered industrial truck fleets. We are also looking at companies who contract with these unfiltered fleets.

Portland Clean Air appreciates the Eliot Neighborhood Association (ENA) who has taken a leadership role to address this with us. ENA has formed a committee to take action. If you have questions about how you can help with this committee, or about monitoring, home air filters, or any other questions, please contact me at greg@portlandcleanair.org or for more information go to portlandcleanair.org/ diesel.

Come hear a presentation by Portland Clean Air at the Eliot
Neighborhood Association general assembly meeting on Monday, October 21 at 6:30pm at St Philip the Deacon Church, 120 NE Knott St (the corner of Knott and Rodney).

Behind the Oval: FISK

By Abby Morgan 

Hidden in plain sight, only slightly off bustling Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, FISK, is a design studio and art gallery on the border of the Eliot Neighborhood. Your best chance of noticing FISK, their name emblazoned on the facade of their space, is if you plan on dropping by Kee’s #Loaded Kitchen or Mothership Music in the near future. 

Founded by Iranian-American graphic designer, Bijan Berahimi, FISK evolved from a zine into a gallery and professional design practice in 2014. Its evolution coincided with Berahimi relocating from Los Angeles to Portland. Design-wise, FISK’s heart is in cultivating strong relationships with clients, focusing on typography, identities, and experiences. They have worked with Toro y Moi, Cult Classic Magazine, Nike, Akadi, and the University of Oregon.

On the gallery side, FISK hosts artists from all over the nation and world. In the last six years and at the time of this article, FISK has put on nearly 28 shows featuring artists trained in commercial practices such as graphics and set design, animation, and illustration. 

Design and art are treated holistically. Seamlessly and architecturally interwoven, each discipline at FISK informs the other, and often, the intersection happens through products. Made in collaboration with other makers, Maak Lab and Cloudforest to name a couple, the shelves of the FISK store are lined with unique books, prints, and objects.

At FISK, there is never a dull moment and it is that energy that Berahimi says FISK thrives on. 

“Diversity is essential to what we do. We want to offer Portland a glimpse into what the world has to offer and we’re doing that by bringing innovative, exciting artists to the community. No two days are the same, no two projects or products identical. We are always trying to bend the rules or make up our own. We like to have fun and we’re good at it,” Berahimi explains.

It is this mentality of “let’s make cool stuff and have fun” that has allowed FISK to flourish in many ways, especially through free, community events. This summer will be no different. Berahimi along with co-curator Michael Spoljaric, will kick off summer 2019 with a show by British artist, Sophy Hollington. Opening on June 14th, Hollington’s relief prints explore themes and symbolism in folklore. 

Type designers and font fans alike, mark your calendars for August 2nd as local type foundry Future Fonts will celebrate their one year anniversary. Their site allows typography designers to upload work in progress type specimens for peer review and purchase.

FISK plans to offer a couple small pop-ups and get-togethers throughout the rest of summer, with dates announced via their newsletter and social media. If you’re curious about what is to come, drop by or email hey at fiskgallery dot com to join their newsletter –both the gallery and store are open to the public.

Hours: 

Wednesday-Friday 12-6, Saturday and Sunday 12-4

Follow FISK on Instagram @fiskprojects @fiskgallery 

FISK at 3613 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. Portland, OR 97212

Heart & Bones Kitchen Creating Healthy, Delicious Recipes Courtesy of Modern Cavegirl

By Brittany Cappetta

Heart & Bones Kitchen was started on the principal of food transparency and inclusivity. I know, personally, the distress of eating out with dietary requirements. For a lot of us, food has the potential to either harm or heal and often people with restrictive diets and allergies opt to eat at home instead of going out to eat because we’re treated like an inconvenience to our server at best, and at worst our restrictions are not taken seriously. I wanted to create a safe space for people to feel like their needs and concerns are valid, a place that’s already free of most common allergies, where they know exactly what’s in their food and can enjoy a unique flavorful meal without having to worry about getting sick.

I firmly believe that healthy food needs to be more accessible. It shouldn’t be a choice between eating well and paying your bills on time. Heart & Bones specializes in Paleo and Vegan organic, local meals all liberated from dairy, grains, soy, nuts, legumes, refined sugars, and made completely from scratch with love and care.

 It’s been an honor of to work with Oasis of Change, the new business on Williams at Tillamook (see the article on page 10), doing pop up breakfasts and farm to table dinners and being able to show others the value and importance of eating whole, nutritious foods. On June 15th Oasis of Change hosted a benefit dinner at their urban farm for Cupcake Girl’s, a nonprofit organization that provides resources for those involved in human trafficking. It’s a perfect example of how food can connect an entire community and the healing power it can have. 

Check out Hearts & Bones website for recipes, prepacked products to purchase, events, catering and information on cooking lessons and private chef services. 

 Website: Heartbonekitchen.com

Instagram: Modern_Cavegirl

Photos courtesy Modern Cavegirl 

How to Research Your Home and Understand Portland’s Built Environment

By Abby Morgan

As we see Portland change before our eyes, there is a number of proactive ways to invest in learning about and understanding the historic built environment through archives and community events this summer. Do you live or work in a historic property and want to know more about it? The opportunities to investigate are boundless, but below are just a couple of ways to get started. 

National Register of Historic Places

A free resource offered and operated by the National Park Service since 1966, The National Register of Historic Places is a national program that recognizes districts, sites, structures and buildings of historical significance. Homes listed on the NRHP can be designated for many reasons including architectural design. Their digital archives are available for viewing, for free, online. Is your home listed on the NRHP? If the previous owner took the steps to list your property on the register, then you are already off to a great start with your research. All you will need to do is search your property address in their index. Each historic designation is accompanied by a nomination form that dives into the property’s history. 

Not on the register but have a solid case to nominate your home? Start the process with NRHP or contact the City of Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Office about additional steps: 503-823-7700.

Oregon Historical Society- Address: 1200 SW Park Ave., Portland, OR 97205

Context will help your search. Cast a wide net by looking into census data, land and property records, et cetera before narrowing in on information about your property. Offered online or in-person, the Oregon Historical Society’s Davies Family Research Library is free and open to everyone. Make an appointment to visit their archives by emailing libreference at ohs dot org or calling 503-306-5240. 

Multnomah County Library

Like OHS, Multnomah County Library has a wealth of resources at your disposal. Check out their compiled list of house history research tools or join in on a guided tutorial. On Wednesday, July 10th from 2-4pm, learn how to research your home through The Historical Oregonian at their Central Library Computer Learning Center (801 SW 10th Avenue, Portland, OR 97205). Free; class registration required. (https://multcolib.org/events)

Architectural Heritage Center – Address: 701 SE Grand Ave., Portland, OR 97214

The Architectural Heritage Center’s mission is to “preserve the historic character and livability of our built environment, and to promote sustainability through the re-use of period homes and buildings.” While AHC occasionally offers research workshops and lectures, their summer programming is filled with walking tours of Portland’s historic districts. Though city-wide, if you’re interested in exploring neighborhoods near the Eliot, AHC will host walking tours of the Historic Albina and Boise-Mississippi neighborhoods at the start and end of the season. Cost per tour is $20 for the general public and $12 for AHC members; registration required. (visitahc.org/walking-tours/)

Historic Albina Tour 

Offered once or twice a year – check the website for future dates

The Boise & Mississippi Avenue Tour

August 17, 2019 from 10am-12pm

Livability Committee Makes an Impact – Clean and Green

By Karla Gostnell

The Eliot Livability Committee is proud of some updates we want to share with you.

 Neighborhood Litter Pick-up: Thank you, neighborhood volunteers, for a successful Earth Day clean-up on April 20. We removed over 800 pounds of trash from our streets and sidewalks this time, with 35 volunteers showing up to help. Special thanks to Breadwinner Cycles & Cafe for lending their parking lot and keeping us caffeinated!

Trees, trees, trees!! This spring saw over 40 new street trees planted in Eliot as part of a small business grant from the Neighborhood Association, partnering with Friends of Trees and the Eliot Livability Team, as well as support from Toyota to tree-up their own property line on N.E. San Rafael. Trees are truly an investment in the beautification and livability of our neighborhood and we are so glad for the businesses that received new trees on their properties. If you notice young trees suffering from lack of water in the summer heat, please reach out to the Livability Team by email at livability at eliotneighborhood dot org.

Eliot Sewer and Stormwater Project Update

By Matthew Gough

In July or early August of this year, Environmental Services will complete a project to replace or repair approximately 10,000 feet of public sewer pipes in the southern part of the Eliot Neighborhood. These pipes are deteriorating due to age or are undersized for the sewer and stormwater flows in this area. The oldest pipe being replaced is 115 years old. 

The project also includes constructing 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 rains. 

These improvements will help protect public health, property and our environment by reducing the possibility of sewage releases into streets, homes and businesses.

To learn more about the project, where crews are currently working, or to sign up for email updates, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/Eliot. You may also contact Matt Gough, Community Outreach for City of Portland Environmental Services at (503) 823-5352 or Matthew.Gough@portlandoregon.gov.

Thank you for your patience during this important work.

Not Everyone Gets a Trophy

By Ruth Eddy

Gold, silver, blue, purple plastic pillars, and crystal bowls glisten in large corner windows on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, and Brazee Street. The Bardy Trophy showroom is hard to miss, but the business’s production goes mostly unseen and it’s legacy goes back 95 years.

Walter Bardy, Sr. began the business in the niche market of hand engraving silver and metal awards. The current owner, Greg Gruszczynski, knew nothing about the trophy industry when he answered a help wanted sign at Bardy, then located at 15th and Broadway.  “I sandblasted glass, built trophies, put plaques together, and magnets of the back of name tags. I did it all,” said Gruszcynski. He liked working with his hands, living close to his job, and the sense of completion that came with each order. When the Bardy brothers were ready to retire, they sold the business to Greg and two other employees. For the past 15 years, he has been the sole owner.

When people ask what he does, Greg says he “makes people happy.” Clients want to show their appreciation with a variety of products, not just trophies. The business includes custom apparel, keychains, clocks, thermoses, and chairs. Offices’ walls have transformed into cubicles and company logo jackets have replaced walnut plaques, but the message is the same. Greg knows that “It’s this mutual respect and admiration that you don’t always use words for. It’s a way of substituting words – to give somebody something and hope that translates into ‘I mean something to you’.”

As a business owner, Greg opts to bring donuts to show his employees he appreciates them rather than plaques. As a business, Bardy Trophy has a few trophies of its own, celebrating its contributions to its community both locally and in the trophy industry. A framed Trail Blazers jersey with the name Bardy on its back hangs their showroom, a gift from a repeat customer within the Trail Blazers organization. 95% of all orders come from Portland.

Trophies are symbols of the values people have and a way to reinforce those values.  Bardy Trophy is about making literal trophies as much as it is about helping customers celebrating milestones, recognizing accomplishments and making people feel worthwhile. Sometimes a handwritten card can send the message, but Bardy Trophy is for when you need something shiny to do the trick.

Portland Open Studios Provides a Peak Inside Northeast Studios

By Joanie Krug

Portland Open Studios creates a unique educational opportunity for the public to witness art in the making, and learn about media, materials and the business of creative endeavor. Through this interaction, Portland Open Studios creates a platform for local artists to thrive, engage and foster a community that values the arts.

This year, out of the total 118 citywide individuals selected, the juried group of artists includes 22 Northeast Portland artists whose studios will be open to the public. The work includes painting, ceramics, sculpture, photography, mixed media and jewelry.  The  NE Open Studios  community has also invited artists who participate in the Portland Art and Learning Center to take part in this event.

Dates and times are the weekends of October 12-13, and October 19-20. Hours are 10am to 5pm for each of the four days.

Look soon for the free official Open Studio map guide available all over the Portland metro area!  There will also be a NE Community card with a group map available throughout the neighborhood.

Portland Open Studios will also be convening a meeting of our community artists on August 28 at the Portland Art and Learning Center, 4852 NE MLK Blvd at 6:30 if you’d like to attend to meet some of the artists and chat further about individual work and the overall event.

Diversity Community Gardening Co-Op at St Philip the Deacon Church

By Shireen Hasan

Gardening at St. Philip the Deacon Church is in swing. People walking by are stopping to take a peek at what is going on behind this historic church. Community volunteers have rolled up their sleeves to bring this amazing opportunity into fruition for the community; from planting seeds and starters, native plants, flowers, and watering, to laying bark chips, soil/compost, and building. Thank you to all the community participants, local residents of Eliot neighborhood, church members, and local organizations who have supported this initiative by donating hoses, plants, compost, starters, and other resources, supplies, and also monetary contributions to grow the community gardening initiative to feed the community!  Special thanks to Bellagio’s Pizza for donating massive amounts of delicious pizza to our garden party held on May 4, 2019! My stomach still hurts!

The team has so far built several garden beds for diverse community participation (African Americans, houseless, veterans, church members, youth, and low-income individuals). 

Work is being done around the church property to beautify the environment and ‘raise the vibration’. The Co-op is in conversation with Zenger Farms to bring in their farm’s extra harvest to allow folks complimentary access to healthy fruits, and vegetables at the church location. 

The initiative had suffered some setback and in moving forward to overcome a few barriers we are asking for the community’s continued support, contributions, and labor assistance to build an accessible garden bed for folks with disabilities who otherwise would not have access to gardening opportunities. 

We are also asking for a donation of a nice bench for the upcoming meditation area that will be designed for the church. In addition, we are looking for experienced or well-versed African American artists to work in collaboration with Reverend Maria, and current member artist, Su(e) Diyg, to preserve the memory of North/Northeast Portland’s African American diaspora by creating visual art for all to see and remember. 

Come join in with gardening fun, starting every Saturday in July from 11AM-1PM to continue the expansion of community gardening to feed the community and to add a nice, new makeover to the church grounds in the months to come!  

For more information email the coordinator, Shireen: at shihas_2005 at yahoo dot com.

Free for All Summer Concert and Movie in the Park

Image of a bad playing at the gazebo at Dawson Park

It’s that time again and Black Parent Initiative (BPI) has teamed up with Portland Parks & Recreation to bring you another amazing fun filled event.  On Friday, August 16, 2019, we will be hosting Movie in the Park in collaboration with Portland Parks & Recreation’s Summer Free for All.  Similar to last year’s concert series, but all tied into a one-day spectacular event.  BPI will also be celebrating another successful year in services to the community by adding elements of our Family Fun Day.

We have the pleasure of bringing you a host of activities including: 

♦ Portland Trail Blazers Basketball Clinics

♦ Nike “Made to Play” Activity Van

♦ Bouncin Bins Bounce House

♦ Mystique’s Fancy Faces Face Painting

♦ PACKY Academy Arts & Crafts

♦ SMART Book Give Away

♦ Eliot Neighborhood Association Domino Tournament

♦ Portland Children’s Museum

♦ And many more

The event will start at 4 pm with activities going until about 7 pm.  As a part of the Movie in the Park there will be a concert at 6:30 pm featuring Mz. Etta’s World, followed by a showing of Captain Marvel when it gets dark!  

Food trucks on site include Hana’s Authentic New Orleans Snowballs and Stoopid Burger.

There will be tons of giveaways, drawings, and resources!  Make sure you join us as we celebrate community, music, and movies!  This will be fun for the entire family.

Friday, August 16, 2019

4pm

Dawson Park 

(corner Stanton & N Williams)

For more information or to become a sponsor please contact leigh dot bohannon at thebpi dot org.

For the full schedule of Summer Free For All Concerts and Movies in the Park visit:

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/69554

By Leigh Bohannon

Sponsored by:

Overcoming Oregon’s Past and Embracing Diversity

By Monique Gaskins

Summer is here! Portlanders can take advantage of the warmer weather to explore new parts of town and meet new people. While moving around Portland, you might notice posters supporting neighbors of various ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. Although this might seem unnecessary in “liberal Portland,” this wasn’t always the case. Starting before Oregon even achieved statehood, its inhabitants enacted various laws to preclude the immigration of non-white neighbors.

You may have overheard jokes about the lack of diversity in Oregon. For example, “There are no Black people in Portland.” Or, “You live in the Great White North.” You might have shaken your head and continued on, but the lack of diversity in Oregon is very real and isn’t due to chance. According to The US Census Bureau’s 2018 data, the percentage of Black residents nationwide is 13%. The percentage for the state of Oregon is 2%. The city of Portland is slightly higher, with 6% black residents. 

The low number of black residents in Oregon is not an accident and is the outcome of over 150 years of exclusionary policies.

  • 1844: The first Black exclusion law was adopted. This law mandated that “blacks attempting to settle in Oregon would be publicly whipped—thirty-nine lashes, repeated every six months—until they departed.”
  • 1850: The Donation land act of 1850 granted land to white settlers, establishing home ownership specifically to whites. This offered an incentive for more whites to populate Oregon, and reap the benefits of land ownership.
  • 1857: The Oregon Constitution was adopted. It excluded blacks from legal residence, including voting, using the legal system, and owning property. 

After explicit race-based policies were unavailable, other methods were utilized to maintain the homogenous status quo. The Ku Klux Klan had an active presence in Oregon, targeting not only black but also Jews and Catholics. This preference towards white protestant neighbors led many neighborhoods and individual homeowners to add restrictive clauses to their deeds or neighborhood documentation. For example, a deed from neighboring Irvington (officially Dolph Park at the time) included the following, “For a period of twenty-five years from the date of this dedication, the premises shall be used exclusively for residence purposes and shall be occupied by the white race and no member of any race other than the white race shall own or occupy any portion of DOLPH PARK”. This practice, called Redlining, made it difficult to procure bank loans and housing insurance for homes in non-white neighborhoods. Redlining also meant that these homes weren’t providing as many wealth building opportunities to its owners as those in white neighborhoods.

These clauses and related attitudes consolidated non-protestant whites into specific areas of the city, such as Eliot. From 1910 to the 1960s, blacks began moving to Eliot because of its convenient location to transportation, railroad, and hotel jobs. After the end of World War II, Portland targeted Albina (including Eliot) as a suitable neighborhood for blacks who were displaced in the Vanport flood of 1948. According to an interactive redlining map of Portland from around 1930, the Eliot neighborhood ranked as “Hazardous”, the lowest of 4 possible categories. The clarifying remarks are, “Zoned multi-family residential and business. This area constitutes Portland’s “Melting Pot” and is the nearest approach to a “slum district” in the city. “Three-quarters of the Negro population of the city reside here and in addition there are some 300 Orientals, 1000 Southern Europeans and Russians.” These categories made it difficult to qualify for loans and home insurance in Eliot, but residents often didn’t have much choice, as they were unwelcome in other parts of the city.

Portland’s lukewarm approval of a multicultural neighborhood in the middle of the city wouldn’t last. In the 1960s, the I-5 construction destroyed parts of Eliot and displaced many black residents. In the early 1970s, the city condemned parts of Eliot – including the land purchased for Legacy Emanuel – further disrupting black families. 

Today, housing in Portland is unaffordable for many people of all races, religions, and ethnicities. Let’s move beyond our history, and support policies that help all people feel more housing secure in our state, city, and neighborhood. A key to helping our neighborhood thrive is to allow diverse types of housing that would be more affordable to more people. Currently, much of Eliot is zoned for single-family homes, pushing up housing costs, and supporting a policy with racist roots. The Residential Infill Project aims to make housing more affordable by allowing more types of housing to be built in areas zoned for only single-family homes. Another resource is Portland for Everyone. They’re advocating for housing that will serve many different types of neighbors. 

Let’s learn from past mistakes and embrace diversity. Let’s be good neighbors, especially for people that might not have historically been welcomed in Oregon.