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Adopt-A-Block Update: More, Please

I’m writing to thank all those adopt-a-blockers who kept up the good fight and did their best to keep Eliot’s streets clean this past spring.  Not easy dealing with the cold and wet, plus all the maneuvering between construction equipment that many of you are still enduring via our on-going sewer work.  But you did your neighborhood proud!  

Alas, there are still streets awaiting their loving adoption families… (so many still needed!) and we’d love to have you on board.  If you’re willing to spend a few minutes a day, or a bit longer once or twice a week to improve the area you call home, please contact Jody at jodyguth at gmail dot com. I’ll get you set up with trash bags, gloves, pickers, and lots of encouragement.  The added bonus is the drawing we hold every 3 months to determine who wins a $100.00 New Seasons gift certificate.  Who doesn’t like to shop at New Seasons?!

I had the pleasure of recently drawing our current winner with my trusty pal, Adrian. The latest number was lucky 16, and the recipient none other than Sue Stringer, a gal who does so much for our community… congratulations, Sue!! Besides being the editor of our Eliot News newspaper, Sue finds time to be a member of the Friends of NE 7th Avenue Greenway committee, is on the Eliot neighborhood board and is one of the fabulous organizers the 7th Avenue block party fame (between Russell and Brazee).  Sue is eager to join whatever she can to help make Eliot thrive.  While also working a full-time job, I’m never sure how she finds the time to get it all done. We’re just so glad she lives here! 

By Jody Guth

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Within and Beyond the Borders of Eliot – Summer Activities Galore

This column features businesses in Eliot and just beyond our neighborhood’s borders to help our residents learn what exciting businesses and opportunities are located in and around our amazing neighborhood.  

This issue we focus on some summer activity ideas in and around Eliot. 

 It’s summertime and you’re probably looking for some activities for you and possibly for your kids. Opportunities are plentiful and we’ve gathered a few resources and specific events for you to check out. 

Block Parties

Make sure you put the block parties listed below for VOA’s Men’s Residential center and Matt Dishman Community Center on your calendar. You can also organize your own block party. It’s easy to get a free permit from the city and then rent barricades for a small fee to block off your street for an afternoon of food, fun, activities and get to know your neighbors better as a bonus. See the links below for permits and block party ideas.

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/civic/33907

https://www.neighbor.com/storage-blog/neighborhood-block-party-games-and-ideas/

Matt Dishman Community Center Block Party

The community center is holding its annual block party on Saturday, August 24 from  12:00-4:00 pm at 77 NE  Knott Street. Knott Street between Rodney and Williams will be closed off to traffic. The event will include a free barbeque, snow cones,  cotton candy, kids and family activities, face painting, arts and crafts, and live music. The theme this year is “Celebrating our Neighborhood Heroes” focusing on the history of our community and people that have made a difference. Stop by and have some fun! Call Autumn at 503-823-3673 for more details.

Volunteer of America Men’s Residential Center Block Party

The center is holding its annual block party on Tuesday, August 20th, from 4:30-7:00 pm. As always, they will plan to have BBQ food (for free) some family-friendly live music, face painting, balloon twisting, and a children’s bounce house.  Stop by Sacramento St. (between MLK and NE 7th Avenue) – they will have the street closed to through traffic from 2-7:30 pm that day. This is always a well-attended event. 

Growing Upwards

Growing Upwards is your one-stop for all things summer camps and classes and daycare too. Visiting their website is an easy way to search for classes or camps to keep your kids busy this summer. Visit GrowingUpwards.com or call (503) 927-3136

Matt Dishman Community Center 

The center offers preschool camps and summer camps for ages 3 and up. They also offer classes for adults and of course, there’s the indoor pool to enjoy too!

77 NE Knott St, 503-823-3673 

Open Signal 

According to its website, Open Signal is “your local media arts space. Unlike any other media center in the Pacific Northwest, we offer production studios and equipment, filmmaking workshops, artist residencies, and a cable broadcast platform, all under one roof.” They are also offering summer camps for kids grades 6 through 12 and also classes for adults. For more information about Open Signal visit opensignalpdx.org/calendar, stop by 2755 NE MLK or call 503-288-1515.

PICA (Portland Institute for Contemporary Arts) TBA Festival

PICA has an annual arts festival in September at various locations around the city. TBA which stands for Time Based Art is an amazing collection of artists, performers screenings and talks and visual art installments. According to their website, “TBA is interdisciplinary, and champions those artists who are challenging forms and working across mediums.” This year the festival runs from September 5-15. Their primary location and offices are located in our neighborhood at 15 NE Hancock Street.  Check their website, Pica.org, for more information or call 503-242-1419. You don’t want to miss this!

Portland’s Culinary Workshop

Have an inkling to learn something new or heighten your culinary skills? Portland’s Culinary Workshop located at 807 N Russell Street is the place with classes for kids and adults. The 2-3 hour classes are listed on their website and are fun, informative and inspiring. Call 503-512-0447 or visit Portlandsculinaryworkshop.com 

Portland Parks & Recreation

Our neighborhood Matt Dishman center is part of Portland Parks & Recreation but there are lots of other locations to choose from for summer classes and camps. Check out this article on their website at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/38277  There is also a lot more on their general website at portlandoregon.gov/parks. Check it out and have some fun this summer!

Free for All—concerts and more

Portland Parks & Recreation offer free concerts, movies and a program called lunch and play and more. Check out the events and other options at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/732643 

Pedal Palooza

Looking for a family-friendly way to get exercise, make some new friends and see your city? Check out Pedal Palooza. https://www.shift2bikes.org/pages/pedalpalooza/ 

Coalition of Black Men- Annual Community Bike Ride 

Saturday, August 3  from 9am-2pm starting at 5257 NE MLK at Vanport building. All are welcome to join this annual, fun event. For more information visit cobmpdx.org  or call(503) 919-6804. 

Soo Bahk Do/Tai Chi/Qigong/Therapeutic Martial Arts

Ever consider taking up martial arts? According to their website, “Portland Soo Bahk Do is the first Moo Duk Kwan® School in Portland Oregon- opening on January 20th, 2015- during the 70th anniversary of the birth of Founder Hwang Kee’s Moo Duk Kwan® school in Korea (1945).”  Portland Soo Bahk Do offers classes in Soo Bahk Do which is a Korean classical martial art as well as Tai Chi, Qigong and Therapeutic Martial Arts. There are classes for all ages Tuesday and Thursday afternoon  and evenings. For more information visit www.PortlandSooBahkDo.com or call 503-502-2965 or 503-303-4783.

Woodlawn MIC Center

1425 NE Dekum St

Soo Bahk Do:Tues & Thurs 7-8 PM

Therapeutic Martial Arts/Tai Chi/Qigong: Tues &Thurs 6-7PM and
Tues & Fri 7-8AM

Yoga: Thurs 8-9AM

Blazers Boys & Girls Club After School Youth Program 

5250 NE MLK Jr Blvd

Soo Bahk Do: Tues & Thurs 4-5 PM

Understanding the URMs in Eliot

By Thursday Bram

Unreinforced masonry buildings (URMs) have been the subject of multiple laws and lawsuits in Portland since 1995. As of June 1st, it’s unclear how the city of Portland will work to reduce the current number of URMs, even as renovating URMs becomes more urgent.

URMs are subject to such discussion in Portland because they’re considered particularly risky during an earthquake. These buildings are all older, dating to between 1870 and 1960, and were built using bricks and mortar. In URMs, brick-and-mortar walls are not directly attached to roofs and foundations. During earthquakes, the walls are significantly more likely to crack or crumble than those built to modern seismic safety standards. These buildings can be updated by reinforcing parapets, bolting walls to floors, and bracing the building with steel beams. 

Currently, remodeling a substantial portion of a building must also include bringing the property into compliance with current building codes. Increasing a building’s occupancy or changing a building’s use also requires upgrading seismic safety to modern standards. That requirement, combined with demolition for redevelopment, has been somewhat effective in reducing the number of URMs still standing in Portland. About 8 percent of URM buildings standing in 1995 (when that requirement was enacted) have been demolished, another 5 percent have been fully upgraded, and 9 percent have been partially upgraded.

An inventory was taken in 1996 and updated again in 2016 lists 1,600 such buildings, around 40 of which are in the Eliot neighborhood. That list does not include houses, but it does include apartment buildings. The Portland Bureau of Emergency Response estimates 7,000 households in Portland live in multi-family URM buildings. It’s difficult to give an exact count of buildings inside our neighborhood because there’s no easy way for owners to get their buildings removed from the list after they’ve made upgrades. The inventory is also known to be inaccurate at this time and there’s currently no set process for updating listings with new information.

Last year, Portland’s city commissioners passed an ordinance requiring owners of URMs post placards discussing earthquake dangers. That ordinance was scheduled to take effect on June 1st, but Judge John Acosta blocked the ordinance indefinitely on May 30th as part of a lawsuit brought by building owners in Portland. The injunction is based on a question of freedom of speech, but it’s also a questionable strategy when it comes to guaranteeing public safety. The placards, which read “This is an unreinforced masonry building. Unreinforced masonry buildings may be unsafe in the event of a major earthquake,” don’t provide any actions that people inside URMs can take in the event of an earthquake. That’s because there’s nothing different about what an individual should do in the event of that type of natural disaster: no matter what type of building you’re in during an earthquake, the only safe response is to shelter in place. If you can, take shelter under heavy furniture, like desks or tables, and wait it out.

Placarding has proven particularly problematic in Portland: multiple churches with predominantly Black congregations are on the list. It disproportionately affects organizations and individuals least likely to be able to retrofit, therefore reinforcing the impact of red-lining and gentrification in our neighborhoods. There’s an additional concern that placarding or requiring retrofitting could worsen gentrification: if small business owners or single property owners can’t afford to retrofit, their properties are more likely to wind up in the hands of developers, which leads to demolition rather than remodelers. The Eliot neighborhood is particularly susceptible to these buyouts due to our location.

The city of Portland has also failed to effectively work with these communities: Rev. E.D. Mondainé, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Portland chapter, reported that he and other pastors never received proper notification from the city that their churches were included in the URM inventory. In a letter to the city, Mondainé wrote, “Let it be established that the African American community has no desire to be noncompliant. It is, however, of critical concern of the NAACP Portland Branch, that Oregon’s documented history of excluding the African American community from the decision making processes, appears to be rearing its unsightly head once again.”

Other cities have used strategies other than placarding to improve safety in URMs, with much better results. A 2004 study established that placarding was one of the least successful approaches for Californian municipalities, while programs offering financial tools to building owners to mitigate the cost of seismic upgrades were the most effective. In Berkley, there are only 6 URMs left out of 587 identified in the mid-90s. The rest have been updated or demolished, substantially improving the city’s earthquake resiliency. Berkley’s secret sauce? The city provided financial grants to help building owners make upgrades. The city of Portland’s own URM working group recommended creating property tax exemptions to help property owners afford seismic improvements in 2015, along with other financial aid. However, that aid has yet to materialize.

Some of these funding options might be particularly useful in Eliot. While grants are ideal, a revolving loan fund could provide financial assistance faster than lobbying the state of Oregon to create a seismic retrofit tax credit. Proposals to use urban renewal area funds or to create economic development zones, in comparison, have the potential to add to the on-going gentrification in Eliot, rather than helping neighborhood residents who are already here.

Several of our neighborhood landmarks were built with unreinforced masonry walls. Given the age of most URMs, many are eligible for historic status, which can further complicate the upgrade process. Around a third of Portland’s URMs are already on the National Register of Historic Places or are contributing structures in a designated National Historic District or Conservation District. There are some benefits to such status, including an existing federal tax credit for these types of upgrades. Eliot has also been a historical conservation district since 1992, which allows for more changes than listing on the National Register of Historic Places does, but still places some limits on changes to the neighborhood’s appearance.

Also concerning are the number of schools, community centers, and other important public spaces on the list. Boise-Eliot/Humboldt Elementary School and Harriet Tubman Middle School are not on that list, but Jefferson High School is, as is Matt Dishman Community Center. We can expect to see bond issues on our ballots for years to come as Portland Public Schools works to upgrade each school to meet minimum seismic safety requirements. 

The URM debate in Portland is not over yet. The city of Portland has the option of fighting the lawsuit brought by building owners, it could choose to amend the placarding ordinance in order to address legal concerns, or it can choose to focus on other (potentially more effective) strategies to mitigate the risks presented by URMs. The city of Portland is currently looking for volunteers to join its URM working group. (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/civic/article/712316) Anyone who lives, works, worships, or does business in Portland is eligible to join the URM working group. 

Letter from the LUTC Chair – Traffic Safety is a Must

Safety is a priority for the Land Use and Transportation Committee, and we want to make sure that folks in our neighborhood safely get to the places they want to go to. 

In the last year, we’ve had two students at Tubman hit by cars as they were walking to school. About a month ago, a woman was hit and killed on NE Broadway and Grand. Generally in Portland, “pedestrian fatalities have trended up over the last five years” according to PBOT’s Vision Zero website. Finally, over 50% of car crashes happen within 5 miles of home.

There are many potential reasons why things are getting less safe out there for people on foot. One possible reason is that cars are getting bigger and taller which means a more powerful impact. Also, the economy is doing well which means people are driving more. More driving, in general, leads to more crashes. 

There are many long term solutions that will ultimately make it safer for people. If the city and the neighborhood continue to work for the city to be more friendly for walking, biking, and transit, there are two benefits. Better biking, walking, and transit infrastructure typically means having some separated, safe place to travel by those modes which means you’d be less likely to be hit. Also, with more people taking those modes there will be fewer folks driving and fewer opportunities for folks to be hit. These are the types of things the Land Use and Transportation Committee usually advocates for.

So in the short term what can we do? Try to drive less. It’s summertime and the weather is great, so hop on a bike, walk or take the bus to the grocery store, or try out an e-scooter. Every trip that’s made outside of a car leads to a safer city for everyone. If you’re car shopping, consider getting a smaller car or a car with a lower bumper. Think about where your bumper would impact a kid if the car you’re driving came into contact with them. Finally, if you’re going to be driving around in the neighborhood, be safe: drive slow and stay alert.

Have a wonderful and safe summer!

Letter from the Chair – A Call to Action

Hello Neighbors,

Eliot is in the bullseye of diesel particulate pollution. This is due partly to our proximity to I-5 and I-84, but also to MLK, which is a truck route, and the N Williams/N Vancouver corridor. All these roads carry dirty diesel trucks every day. Oregon allows unfiltered diesel trucks on our roads. This is dangerous for us because the National Institute of Health says “the health effects of diesel exhaust emissions… acute effects of diesel exhaust exposure include irritation of the nose and eyes, lung function changes, respiratory changes, headache, fatigue, and nausea. Chronic exposures are associated with cough, sputum production, and lung function decrements.” And… “Continuous exposure to diesel exhaust fumes can cause long term, or chronic, respiratory ill health with symptoms including coughing and feeling breathless. At worst, if people are exposed to diesel engine exhaust fumes regularly and over a long period, there is an increased risk of getting lung cancer.” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/11401072/

Since Eliot has LONG been affected by diesel AND has tried several times to get legislation or regulation on pollution, long term neighbors wonder what’s different this time.

Well, a few factors have changed. The Oregon Legislature is finally taking up this issue this term. Our neighbors to the east have all converged to focus the legislature’s attention because of new data from the lichen study, PSU scientists, the ODOT I-5 expansion proposal, the Willamette Superfund recent movement toward resolution, the Volkswagen settlement and, yes, opening of Harriett Tubman Middle School. See HB 2007 “The Diesel Bill”.  

(https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1dBPerjxQcmUHVpZXk1UXFUemsycEFnV3dIZmMwcEpob0dR)

The Eliot Neighborhood Association is joining local neighborhood and advocacy group efforts to take action. For this effort, we need committed people of any skill level. We are looking for residents or anyone working in Eliot.  Our Board needs you to help us form a strong, inclusive, passionate team to advocate for stronger, sooner regulations, and also to help local businesses gain access to the $50,000,000 ODOT funds, which are available for small under-represented trucking owners. ENA has created a new committee, eACT, Eliot Advocacy for Clean-air Team. This Team will meet the 2nd or 3rd week of July. If you want to join us contact me at chair at eliotneighborhood dot org

See Environmental Advocacy for Clean-Air Team: Eliot eACT. 

Legacy Emanuel Medical Center to Begin Large Tree Planting Project around the 50-Acre Campus

By Vicki Guinn

On Tuesday, March 5 at 10 am near the main entrance of Legacy Emanuel Medical Center there was a tree planting ceremony. The medical center will receive and plant 30 trees in the first phase of a larger tree planting on the 50-acre campus, which includes Randall Children’s Hospital and the Legacy Oregon Burn Center. This year and next, up to 150 trees will be planted.

Continue reading Legacy Emanuel Medical Center to Begin Large Tree Planting Project around the 50-Acre Campus

Compatibility in a Conservation District

By Jonathan Konkol, AICP; Eliot LUTC Vice Chair

Picture of a cream and wood building with a white truck parked in front
Duplex under construction in the Boise Neighborhood. Photo credit Jonathan Konkol.

There’s a perennial debate in the design and planning world about what kinds of standards are appropriate for new development in a historical context. Should new buildings blend in, or stand in contrast? Is it “phony” or “context- sensitive” to replicate historic vernacular forms?

Continue reading Compatibility in a Conservation District

Albina Vision Trust

By Ruth Eddie

Imagine public parks, affordable housing and local business tucked between the large concrete buildings in the Rose Quarter. Imagine a public waterfront park on the east side of the Willamette and a cap over I-5. This is the vision of Albina Vision Trust. The vision looks 50 years into the future, but the work has already begun.

Continue reading Albina Vision Trust

LUTC Meeting Minutes 2019-04-08

DRAFT- not yet approved

Minutes submitted by Allan Rudwick (recorder)

Started at 7pm. In attendance: Committee: Brad, Allan, Jonathan, Public: Monique, Zach. Developer: Marc, architect- didn’t get name. Kat from PSU.

– 3019 NE MLK development. (60)

  • 2 buildings – one on MLK and one behind with a pathway on the north side. Each building would have 2 1-floor units per building, 1 double-height unit on top.
  • Members were excited that something might be built on the site.
  • Design seemed to be relatively well done given the amazing amount of site constraints
  • Bike parking seemed like it was being forced onto the front of the building in a strange way that has no examples elsewhere
  • Street side ground floor unit- could it be a live/work space?
  • Full disclosure: developer currently lives next door to Allan.

– Other updates? (parking permit, N/S Neighborhood Greenway on 7th or 9th Ave, improving intersections around Tubman, revamping Rodney greenway, state housing bills) (15)

  • short discussions, nothing major to report

Motion: Add 2 members to the committee. Passed 3-0 (this has been ratified by the ENA Board)

  • Monique Gaskins, Zach

8:25 Approve Minutes (5)

  • minutes approved 3-0

LUTC Agenda for June 10th

Eliot Neighborhood Association

Land Use and Transportation Committee

Agenda June 10th, 2019

7:00-8:00 pm

Location: 120 NE Knott St

  1. 7:00 Open meeting, Welcome guests, Introductions (5)
  2. 7:05 Discuss agenda and accept any additions (5)
  3. 7:10 Discussion points (30)
    1. Should we write a letter of support for enforcement of m-overlay zones? (15)
    2. Letter about dangerous crossings in the neighborhood (15)
  4. 7:40 Other updates? (parking permit, N/S Neighborhood Greenway on 7th or 9th Ave, improving intersections around Tubman, state housing bills) (10)
  5. 7:50 Approve Minutes + confirm emails of new members (10)

OnPoint Community Credit Union Expands Presence in Portland’s Eastside with New Fremont and Williams Branch

By Erin Moore

OnPoint Community Credit Union opened a new, full-service Portland branch on NE Fremont Street at N. Williams Avenue on August 30, 2018. Located in the walkable and bike-friendly North Williams Corridor, the branch features a bike-thru teller window. This is OnPoint’s second new branch in Portland’s vibrant eastside, having opened its Hawthorne branch in May of 2018.

Continue reading OnPoint Community Credit Union Expands Presence in Portland’s Eastside with New Fremont and Williams Branch

New Trees for Eliot Thanks to Friends of Trees

By Matt Morrissey

Our neighborhood is in the midst of significant tree planting due to the initiative of local residents, some businesses and Friends of Trees. On March 9 Friends of Trees held its annual residential planting event with volunteers from the community. It’s never too early to sign up for street or yard trees for next winter’s planting at friendsoftrees.org, or you can contact me, one of the volunteer neighborhood coordinators for Friends of Trees in Eliot, at morrissey.matt@ymail.com if you have questions about trees for your home.

Continue reading New Trees for Eliot Thanks to Friends of Trees

With Laughter and Tears, Ribbon Cutting Celebrates Community Champions and Opening of Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare’s Garlington Campus

By Jennifer Moffatt

$4.3 million raised to provide whole health care services in NE Portland

At a moving ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by 250 supporters, including federal and county officials and community partners, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare celebrated the opening of its new Garlington Campus, home to the Garlington Health Center and Garlington Place Apartments, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Northeast Portland.

Continue reading With Laughter and Tears, Ribbon Cutting Celebrates Community Champions and Opening of Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare’s Garlington Campus

Within and Beyond the Borders of Eliot—Women-Owned Businesses

This column features businesses in Eliot and just beyond our neighborhood’s borders to help our residents learn what exciting businesses and opportunities are located in and around our amazing neighborhood.

This issue we focus on women-owned businesses in and around Eliot. See the list below for other women-owned businesses to check out.

Continue reading Within and Beyond the Borders of Eliot—Women-Owned Businesses