Blog

Letter from LUTC Chair

This is a hard time to write a Land Use and Transportation update. Between the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, the police murder of George Floyd, and the Portland police’s escalating tactics against protesters, it is hard to see anything but police reform and supporting our most vulnerable neighbors as the top priorities.

If you have the means, some ways to support the local Black community are to eat at Black owned restaurants (https://iloveblackfood.com/pdx-directory/) or support Black owned businesses (https://mercatuspdx.com/directory/black-owned-businesses). The Black Resilience Fund is accepting donations and giving funds directly to Black Portlanders in need (https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-black-resilience-fund).

Local non-profits that help our most vulnerable neighbors, like the Blanchet House (https://blanchethouse.org), are still accepting volunteers amid the COVID-19 crisis to help with meal service and preparation if you have available time and are not part of a high risk group in regard to COVID-19.

Please take care of each other and stay safe.

Within and Beyond the Borders of Eliot: Essential Workers – Part 2 of 2

This column features businesses or people in Eliot and just beyond our neighborhood’s borders. This issue we focus on essential workers who have been on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to thank them for their commitment, service, selflessness, and putting their health and lives on the line to bring us the essential services the rest of us need to survive day to day. Sue Stringer and Monique Gaskins contributed to this column. NOTE: All interviews were conduced prior to the protests and the opening up of Multnomah County to Phase 1. Therefore, some situations, restrictions and details are now different than stated in the articles. Read with this in mind.

Kate Johnson, Grocery Worker

We all need groceries. Then a pandemic and lockdown strike. What does grocery shopping look like and how we are going to stay safe? Grocery workers are on the front lines and have greater risk since they are in contact with countless people who may or may not be contagious. However, throughout this pandemic grocery stores have all pivoted to offer us the food we need while trying to keep us and their workers healthy and safe.

Kate Johnson is a cashier at New Seasons. She works at the Grant Park location but her experience is similar to other grocery workers. In March when we closed down, Kate took almost two months off since she had a young child at home. Thankfully, New Seasons let her keep her benefits so her family was protected. If an employee had a health issue like asthma or was immunocompromised they could take off and still get paid and keep benefits for almost two months because the company understood the danger to those employees. At the end of April, employees had to choose to either go back to work or quit.

At that point, all the details of safety were worked out. Some of the changes were the logistics with one-way aisles, customers and employees wearing masks, providing hand sanitizer, wiping carts down after each use, installing sneeze guards at checkout stations, and using a disinfecting spray and wipes to sanitize check out station after every customer. Customers are waiting in line far from the cashiers and aisles. Extra employees were hired just to manage the lines of customers and also to sanitize the belts at each checkout stand after each customer. “It is very exhausting, cleaning continuously. The (New Seasons) friendliness factor doesn’t really work anymore because it is hard to hear with masks and the seriousness of the time,” Kate admits.

“To be fair, being a local company is in our favor.  The only other place there are stores is in California. Both those states are really on board with social distancing. Kroger has stores nationwide so it is harder to manage the message with all the different states and levels of strictness to enforce social distancing,” says Kate. Some additional benefits to retain employees and keep them safe are hazard pay plus lunch and dinner served free from the deli.

“Something that I really liked about New Seasons was that it acted as the idea of the ‘third place’.  Most people have work, home and then they have this third place where they have community. New Seasons was really that way especially for people without homes. They would come in and respectfully spend all day in the dining room – turn in cans, buy some lunch and sit there all day. And I think that goes like that for a lot of people, especially seniors. They would come in and get their cup of coffee, meet with their friends. We had game nights on Thursday, story time on Monday morning, we had classes, a mom’s group. That’s all gone.  It is really weird not to see these individuals every time I worked and I’m really worried about them.  I don’t know where they are, I don’t know if they’re ok.”

If there’s a silver lining in all of this Kate says it is that this is a reset. Customers like the new distancing and cleanliness and would like them to stay in place. We can rethink how we shop for our groceries and how we keep each other healthy and safe and maybe think about our grocery workers and how much they do to make that happen.

Leah Bandstra, High School Teacher

The first year as a high school teacher is not easy. Lesson plans, gaining respect from your students, offering a safe environment to learn, and preparing your students for the next school year and life are only some of the challenges a new teacher faces. Now add a pandemic and stay at home order to the list of those challenges and you have an overwhelming task.

Leah Bandstra, an Eliot resident, is a new teacher and she is just one of the thousands of teachers trying to adapt to a new way of teaching. Most have never taught online before and or used the software needed to accomplish this. Try putting this together in just a couple of weeks as well as trying to get students lunches and interim paper homework packets and you can see how difficult the logistics are for school districts.

Leah works as a high school chemistry teacher at Century High School in Hillsboro. Teaching 10th graders science is hard in a normal environment. “I was just hitting my stride with the students in February and then the rug was pulled out from underneath me,” says Leah, “and it’s a shame we couldn’t fill out the year and see how they changed by the end of the year.”

Leah got her bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mastered in chemical oceanography so the subject matter comes easy to her. Having taught preschool, had kids of her own, and now teaching high school students, she can see the whole developmental process as to where kids start and where they need to end up to be successful not just in chemistry, but in life.

The new normal of teaching from a computer without a whiteboard or seeing your students and being able to physically do lab experiments are the hardest parts. With new family dynamics with multiple kids needing computer time, students getting jobs to help pay the rent because of parents being laid off, and just motivating students, attending time-specific online sessions were impossible. The result is each teacher recording lectures and creating online lessons for students to complete in their own time. Special Ed and English language learners are having a tough time and have extra challenges logistically.

“Most figured out that if they were passing then they weren’t going to be held accountable for the rest of the lessons for the year. Those that weren’t passing, the teachers have to do more work to get those kids across the finish line for their school year. There’s no reason for (the students) to do it and once they figured out that grades didn’t matter they were kind about it but, ‘we’re not going to do this for no reason that we can see’. I don’t have any recourse,” Leah laments.

The important take away is schools are such a central part of the community. Take schools away and that’s the central part of kids’ lives – to see their friends, have another human adult look them in the face, and see if they are okay. “School is necessary for the structure and regularity of routine. We are grownups and have coping mechanisms, time management, how to shower and take care of myself. A 15-year-old does not know how to do that.  Pandemic and now the protests require perspective and coping mechanisms. Most kids don’t have access to that kind of coping mechanism. School is a place that provides structures, holds boundaries for them, lets them know what’s acceptable, when we eat, go to the bathroom,” says Leah, “we need to help them with that.”

So, even if education was not what we expected this spring, Leah wants to emphasize, “It’s going to be ok if they need a couple of days to veg out. I promise you as a teacher of older children that the trauma that they will have from this (pandemic) will be lessened if you pay attention to their mental health rather than force-feed school.”

Within and Beyond the Borders of Eliot: Essential Workers – Part 1 of 2

This column features businesses or people in Eliot and just beyond our neighborhood’s borders. This issue we focus on essential workers who have been on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to thank them for their commitment, service, selflessness, and putting their health and lives on the line to bring us the essential services the rest of us need to survive day to day. Sue Stringer and Monique Gaskins contributed to this column. NOTE: All interviews were conduced prior to the protests and the opening up of Multnomah County to Phase 1. Therefore, some situations, restrictions and details are now different than stated in the articles. Read with this in mind.

Dr. Qian Liya Leng, Physician

By Monique Gaskins

During the month of April, National Public Radio estimated that 1.4 Million health care workers lost their jobs. Although we’ve heard about joblessness concerns, the impact on healthcare workers isn’t as widely discussed. Ironically, these frontline workers, many of whom are seen as key to combating the pandemic as they continue to go to work, are also feeling anxiety about the possibility of passing on a dangerous illness to their families and job security. These layoffs have impacted people across healthcare, from hospital cleaners to physicians.

Qian Liya Leng has practiced medicine in Portland for 10 years. She is currently at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in the Eliot neighborhood. As a Hospital Medicine Doctor, Dr. Leng’s patients include anyone who is admitted to the hospital; she does everything but performing surgeries and delivering babies. Lately, this also includes treating patients with COVID-19.

Dr. Leng thinks about ensuring she doesn’t expose her elderly mother to COVID-19. In response to safety concerns, the medical center closed employee entrances, requires temperature checks and a health survey, and has updated their PPE protocol. There are silver linings to fewer hospital admittees; before the pandemic, Dr. Leng juggled a high patient volume. Now, with fewer patients, Dr. Leng is able to connect more with the people in her care. She continues to look for further ways to serve her community. 

Qian has taught Yoga for 13 years. After her own pregnancy, she started to specialize in movement for pregnant and recently pregnant women. Amidst all of the concerns about physical proximity, she is starting an online movement and yoga studio focused on prenatal and postnatal women. Dr. Leng wants to provide resources and expert advice for women in this phase of their lives without requiring physical proximity. Her studio will be available at Bump.health in mid-June.

During the pandemic, Qian encourages Eliot residents to do two things: 1) Wear a mask when outside of the house to cut down on the spread of the disease. 2) Devote some time to their mental health by getting some fresh air. After all, very few instances of COVID-19 have been traced to outdoor transmission.

Terra Dudley, RN

By Sue Stringer

At Legacy Emanuel Medical Center all departments have been touched by COVID-19. The newly created COVID unit is staffed with nurses volunteering to work in that unit as well as those that are “floated” from departments that have an excess of nurses. Terra Dudley is one nurse who has spent a number of shifts in the COVID unit. After graduating from Duke University’s registered nursing program, she started with Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in February 2019 and she is really glad that she had some “normal” nursing experience before the pandemic hit.

Terra normally works in the Medical/Surgical department. Terra has only had to work on the COVID wing for a few shifts so far. Work there is challenging because of the intensity of patient’s symptoms and the level of detail that needs to be exercised with personal protective equipment (PPE).

Nurses are only assigned one to two patients so you can really focus on those patients. It takes so much time to work with patients because of the PPE. “It is not getting the PPE on, it is getting off that takes so much time. An additional nurse must watch as you take off your protective equipment to make sure you are removing it properly so you are not exposed to the virus. You have stand next to the door and take off your gown pulling it forward and into a trash can so it doesn’t touch anything. Take your gloves off inside out a very specific way. Hand sanitize. Put on fresh gloves before leaving. There’s a very specific order and that’s what’s breaking down in those medical staff that are getting sick. If you don’t take the time and do it properly then you get exposed,” says Terra.

At first, before the rapid testing kits were available it took 3 days to get test results back. Not every patient was being tested unless they were showing symptoms. Patients on the Med/Surg unit after a couple of days post-surgery would start showing fever and cough which made for paranoia amongst the staff. However, it is very common for those surgical patients to develop those symptoms post-surgery because of lying in bed and easily developing pneumonia from not moving around enough. Since many of the patients were treated before all the PPE was in place it is lucky that no one in the surgical unit developed COVID.

Now the patient population in Med/Surg has changed. They are post-COVID patients. Most patients started in ICU COVID unit then transferred to Med/Surg after they were taken off the ventilator which was sometimes 30 days after they were first admitted. By that point their bodies are so decompensated from being on life support and ventilators for that long that they are very weak and have a lot of recovery and rehab to do to get back to somewhat normal. One bright spot is the discharge parade the medical staff give when the patients finally get to leave the hospital.

Terra said that at first when the virus hit it was really scary. She felt weird being with people and there was this uncontrollable element and couldn’t call in sick or skip a shift. She is also one of the people who the N95 mask does not fit so she had to wear this electronic filtration machine which looks like a hazmat suit. It was definitely scary because a few nurses got COVID and she felt so vulnerable even with all the PPE.

The silver lining in all of this, that seems to be a resounding theme, is that it is nice to reset to evaluate what activities in your life are important and which ones you are willing to keep or forego.

Terra says, “There is a universal “time out” in surgery to recheck what you’re doing to make sure everything is going correctly and now this is happening with our lives. This is really nice but would be nice if there were not so many consequences.”

Some unexpected highlights were the nightly 7:00 pm pots and pans banging to honor the essential healthcare workers, Nurses Appreciation week where different neighbors with signs would stand outside Emanuel and also the fly over by fighter jets.

Terra says it is hard to do your job every day with all the new complications but the city’s residents appreciating the medical staff’s hard work really makes a big difference and easier to put your life on the line.

Douglas Matthews, Police Officer

By Sue Stringer

We think of most essential workers as being part of a business that supplies us a specific item like food or perhaps keeping us healthy like medical workers or pharmacists. However, keeping our streets safe and enforcing traffic laws falls to the police officers.  They are on the front lines having to work with the public in sometimes not so physically distanced situations.

Doug Matthews is a police officer at the North Precinct who works patrol in North and Northeast Portland. He has been a Portland police officer for over 26 years. As Officer Matthews describes, “I answer emergency calls for service. I’m the guy who wears the blue uniform and drives a marked police car.”

The challenges have changed throughout his career. “In my mind, the biggest challenge to our community is the homeless, mentally ill, and drug affected. Our society hasn’t quite figured out how to effectively deal with these demographics.”

Despite what you read on the internet, the citizens of Portland value their police officers. Matthews says, “The overwhelming majority of people I come into contact with thank me for what I do. I get a lot of satisfaction out of assisting citizens in all things whenever I can. And…I still like putting criminals in jail if they commit a serious crime.”

The job of a police officer has changed in a lot of ways, according to Matthews, from the traditional law enforcement oriented police officer to a social justice warrior. In the end, our primary role will always be to protect people when they can and assist in holding people who break the law accountable for their actions.

Now because of COVID-19, the police bureau is handling most of the calls by phone and the officers decide if an in-person response is needed. People may not like that, but it’s necessary to reduce everyone’s exposure. When it comes to serious emergency calls, the police will respond immediately.

One thing that is different during COVID times, is that traffic has been much better since the pandemic started, however, the police have seen a substantial uptick in drivers driving at excessive speeds.

One bright spot is as of today, there haven’t been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the Portland Police Bureau. Matthews admits, “I have always been a good hand-washer, but I’m a bit OCD about it now due to the pandemic.” Also, most citizens are adhering to the Governor’s restrictions related to the pandemic. The Police Bureau isn’t enforcing the Governor’s restrictions, instead, the Police Bureau has chosen to educate the public over enforcing.

Office Matthews would like to thank Portland residents for your continued support. “Citizen involvement is crucial to solving crimes in the community. You would be surprised how often a person breaks a cold case for the police or points us in the right direction to solve a serious crime.”

LUTC Meeting Minutes 2020-05-11

Attendees

Jessica & Dan –
Eliot & Vlasta –
Harrison & Lauren Osbourn- near williams & stanton
Full LUTC attendance: Allan, Brad, Jonathan, Phil

Discussion

Stanton street speeding-
more & more traffic, aggressive driving. noticing it more now that home all day.
complaints about drug activity around the park potentially fueling the speeding issues.
every day all day – 10-15 minutes between loud cars.
-will write a letter.
– board: greater safety issues in Dawson Park.
– drug dealing out of cars, other illegal behavior is becoming a major problem

2nd letter – Jonathan to write
we need to beef up our greenways – the existing things aren’t going to cut it.
lots of examples & ideas are out there.

Minutes approved from April
Motion to write both letters- approved 4-0.

Updates:
I-5 effort – monitoring
Rezone – Emanuel Lots east of Vancouver and St Philip the Deacon to CM3 proposed

Board Meeting Minutes 2019-04-15

ENA Board Meeting minutes April 15, 2019
St. Philip Deacon Episcopal Church
NE 120 Knott St.

 

Meeting called to order at 6:40pm. Introductions to follow.

Motion to accept the minutes for March (Jim, Sue 2nds) Board votes to approve.

COMMITTE REPORTS

 

  • Treasurer report:

 

      • Two payments to Newspaper and to Community Garden. Expenses reviewed. Motion to approve (Pat, Maggie 2nds) Board votes to approve.
      • Albina cooperative garden – Kat following up on budget request from last year. Jim agrees to pay her the lump sum of $1750, Kat will follow up with us: bookkeeper’s name is Doug, will show us how money was spent. She will follow up with Sue so that we can write an article about the garden.

 

  • Community Relations – Jimmy and Shireen

 

      • At a Lew Frederick event, Jimmy asked him to address Clean Air issues that affect our neighborhood.
      • Updates from PSAC (Public Safety Action Committee) meeting
        • About 45 people, 8-10 neighborhood associations
        • Police force seeing large budget cuts
        • Police force losing staff to retirement, low salary, and low morale (don’t feel they have support from community). Hard to recruit new officers. Approx 200 positions open.
        • We are losing backup enforcement support from Washington County
        • Discussed homelessness, crime, bicyclist licensing
        • Discussed Neighborhood watch training
      • Forum with Chief Outlaw
        • Continuing to try to schedule, will keep us posted

 

  • Newsletter – Sue

 

      • New issue out!
      • Next issue prints in July, need content by June 1

 

  • LUTC – Jonathan

 

      • We shared proposed boundary to Boise. David came to discuss. His board ratified the map – agrees with our suggestion with one amendment: splits Vancouver/Ivy/Fremont block so that easternmost 100 feet is Eliot, the rest is Boise. LUTC will work with Boise to submit official paperwork to the city.

 

  • SEAT –

 

    • Parking initiative did not pass. Still working on neighborhood watch

 

NEW BUSINESS

  • Community Gardens – beds have gone in! 2 planted, 2 more being built. Plans to make them wheelchair accessible. Sue mentions: Harper’s Playground helps make playgrounds wheelchair accessible – might be a good resource. Partnered with the Church, involve families and kids, add artwork installations. Plans to add native plants. Church hopes to improve lighting.
  • Jimmy and Sue ran into the Lew Frederick’s legislative aid, confirms that Sen. Frederick will come to one of our meetings. Johnny is interested in supporting this.
  • Website – Thursday
    • wants to update billing. Will work with Jim to get it on a board-owned credit card
    • Wants to survey residents. Will send out shared doc for board members to help brainstorm questions AND brainstorm ways to get the surveys to people (eg: Pat’s recommendation to have drop-box near Chuck’s market)

Extra

  • Adam volunteers to help Shireen with garden

Announcements

  • David DeLaRoche announces Eliot-Boise Navite Grove work party.
    • April 20, 10a-1p. Install bench around Oak Tree
  • Ricky invites us to join him at this church (St. Philip) on Saturdays at 11am for lunch/pantry services
  • Litter Pickup on April 20, 10a-12p at Breadwinner Cycles
  • Portland Clean Air Spoke Training on April 23rd, 6-8pm 2420 NE Sandy Blvd
  • Open Signal gardening event on Sat April 27, 10-5p. BYO tools

 

meeting adjourned at 8:25p

Board Attendance: Jimmy Wilson, Sue Stringer, Jonathan Konkol, Maggie Gardner, Jim Hlava, Shireen Hasan, Darren Holcomb. Johnny Engleheart, Patricia Montgomery

Guests: Thursday Graham, Kwanita Wilson, Adam, Ricky, Michael Espinoza, Kat (Albina coop garden), David DeLaRoche (Boise NA)

 

Origin of Gentrification in Eliot

Board Co-Chair Wilson’s heartfelt article in the last issue encouraged me to provide more perspective on his, and our neighborhood’s, experience with gentrification.  Docks, railyards, and industries in Lower Eliot (now Lower Albina) provided jobs and Upper Albina (now Eliot’s residential area) provided housing for successions of groups seeking either, or both, refuge and a better life.  The last wave was former, mostly black, shipyard workers fleeing the Vanport flood, many of whom were welcomed into the homes of former co-workers living in N/NE Portland.  The lack of jobs and redlining stranded many of these in crowded, dilapidated homes.  These conditions were a good fit for City leaders to looking for ways to stimulate economic development through “urban renewal.”  The resulting renewal efforts and their impacts are well known; the Rose Quarter, PPS’s Blanchard Building, and Emanuel Hospital expansion.  What is less recognized is the role Portland’s comprehensive planning and zoning practices played in facilitating gentrification. 

State land use practice is controlled by Senate Bill 100 adopted in 1973 that was designed to slow urban sprawl.  SB 100 required each county to develop, implement, and maintain plans and associated zoning that accommodates expected economic and population growth within an urban growth boundary (UGB).  Industrial and residential development outside the UGB is severely limited.  The expectation then, and now, is that future growth within the UGB will require increased density; smaller lots, multi-family buildings, and in-fill development. 

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Portland’s housing was predominately single-family, owner-occupied (roughly 65%) with the balance rental homes and apartments.  The situation in Eliot was exactly the opposite; 65% rental and 35% resident-owned but in mostly single-family homes.  Our population was equally distinct being one of the City’s most diverse and poorest.  Although counties adopted land use plans based on long-range projections of population and economic growth, there was little of either during Oregon’s recession of the 1980s.  The metro region’s population projection at the end of the recession was for an additional 1 million residents by 2040, of which Portland agreed to house at least half.  To do so, it needed to change land use plans and zoning to squeeze those people into existing neighborhoods.  Neighborhoods with a majority of homeowners naturally opposed any density increases in their neighborhoods.  Consequently, City staff looked for poor, less well connected and organized neighborhoods to dump that density.  Eliot loomed large as a target. 

Controversy over the plan to dump density in inner N/NE neighborhoods forced the City to couch this change in the Albina Community Plan, adopted in 1993.  The Plan paid lip service to the preservation of existing historic and affordable housing stock: however, the Housing Goal was to add 3,000 housing units by “increasing density … and increasing infill,” which it did by rezoning single-family lots for multifamily development.  The Plan suggested new units would be constructed on vacant and under-developed lots; however, many of those lots were (and still are) vacant because of pollution and ownership questions making it impractical to repurpose them.  Rezoning a home for potential multifamily use makes it more difficult to get a mortgage to purchase or rehabilitate a single-family home.  As a result, the Albina Plan laid the foundation for gentrification through the conversion of older, but affordable, single-family homes to multifamily developments including townhomes and apartments, and a few McMansions. 

The Plan also included an infill overlay to facilitate “granny flats,” which enabled two dwelling units on one, single-family home site.  This encouraged the further loss of single-family homes and an increase in rental apartments.  The Albina Plan was superseded by the new NE Quadrant Plan within the new Comprehensive Plan in 2016.  Active engagement by the Eliot Neighborhood Land Use Committee resulted in zoning changes that concentrate increased density along Broadway, MLK, and Williams/Vancouver along with changes to residential zoning.  This was intended to reduce pressure to demolish Eliot’s remaining, older homes.  Unfortunately, after the plan was adopted the City changed the definitions of the new residential zones increasing pressure to convert lots with single-family lots into multifamily developments.  In these days of heightened awareness of racial bias in institutional decisions, it is easy to conclude the zoning changes in Eliot were at least tainted by racism.  That is difficult to conclude because the changes hide behind “policies” rather than individual decisions.  Nevertheless, it is obvious white and wealthy neighborhoods avoided density dumping.  Regardless, the City continues to assign blame for gentrification to the developers it enabled rather than acknowledging its role in that process.  At a minimum, this reflects the City’s racial tone-deafness.  One recent example of this is its “right to return” program that encouraged black residents to return to city-supported housing in Eliot.  As several black leaders pointed out, this reinforces the public perception that Portland’s black population “belongs” in inner N/NE rather than in other, whiter neighborhoods.  Another example is the proposal to put “lids” over the expanded I-5 freeway to “reconnect” the neighborhood.  This ignores both the history of that area and its geography.  I-5 in Eliot wasn’t carved out of a former residential area, it is below a bluff that is part of the Willamette River flood plain.  In fact, as designed, the lid in Eliot will be primarily an overpass that is designed to connect truck traffic between Lower Albina and our residential areas via Hancock.  In other words, it is a benefit for the trucking industry (as is the widening project itself) not the Eliot neighborhood or its residents, past or present.  Hopefully, a new Council and the new racial awareness will finally result in policies that do not continue policies harming our community, starting with stopping the I-5 freeway expansion and, ideally, attacking vehicle pollution from the freeway and the rail and trucking industries in Lower Albina.

Eliot Neighborhood Association Minutes February 17, 2020

In the Saint Philip the Deacon Church, 120 NE Knott St, Portland, OR 97212

Board Members Present

  • Jimmy Wilson – Co-Chair
  • Allan Rudwick, Co-Chair  
  • Jennifer Wilcox – Recorder
  • Susan Stringer – Newsletter Editor
  • Jim Hlava – Treasurer –
  • Shireen Hasan – Community Outreach –
  • Jere Fitterman   
  • Jonathan Konkol   
  • Sherry Staggs  

Board Members Absent

  • Darren Holcomb   
  • Patricia Montgomery   

Others Present

  • Richard Hunter
  • Johnny Engleheart
  • Ernest Warren
  • Dory Nafshun
  • Merik Smith
  • Micah McCrany Dennis
  • Anthony Saunders
  • Thursday Bram Cook
  • Audrey Terrell

Meeting called to order:  6:37 p.m.  Food was available during the meeting including pizza provided by Mississippi Pizza.

Robert Boyer—Eliot Neighborhood Past, Present, Future

Mr. Boyer gave a presentation about the history of the Eliot Neighborhood Association which he helped to create. 

Byrd Cruz—Emanuel Displaced Persons Association 2

Byrd is a Librarian, Researcher  and Founding Member of the Emanuel Displaced Persons Association 2, EDPA2. EDPA2 is an ad hoc community based organization comprised of survivors and descendants of the Emanuel Hospital expansion forced removal. Byrd is a local expert on this issue and has devoted extensive study in this area toward advocacy for the descendants of this unresolved and painful era of Portland’s history.  Byrd will be giving a presentation entitled Reclaiming Stolen Black Lands in the “Whitest City” at the Eliot Center of the First Unitarian Church on March 31 at 7pm.

It was noted that the ENA has sent a letter to Emanuel Hospital requesting that land be donated to the community.

Garlington Garden

The Garlington Center includes a 2400 SQ foot vacant outdoor area which Cascadia intends to develop a 1200 SQ foot community garden and a 1200 SQ foot children’s play area.  Growing Gardens will partner with Cascadia to develop and maintain and teach gardening skills to Garlington residents, clients and the community.  Cascadia is applying to Metro, to City of PDX, Prosper Portland as well as a few small foundations.  Cascadia requests that ENA will support the effort in general and by getting the word out via their membership – in case there are some very interested in gardening who’d like to participate.

An offer was made for Constructing Hope to assist with building the garden beds.

Jere moved and Jonathan seconded that ENA edit the letter of previously written to support the garden and play area.  This motion passed unanimously.

People Stepping Down

Two people are stepping down from the Land Use committee. One is moving and the other has other commitments.  This leaves only 4 people on the committee.  Carla who is currently chair of the livability committee is planning on moving as well. 

Jere is stepping down as the NECN representative.  They meet on the 3rd Tuesday of the month.  Someone will need to take over this role.

Thursday is stepping down as the webmaster.  Sue has agreed to do this on an interim basis.

Jim would like to step down as treasurer.

Jimmy suggested that there should be a mentoring/teaching process from those who are stepping down to help teach new people the role.  Should we have a nominating committee?  It is helpful to have a smooth transition and opportunities for job shadowing.

No motions were made on this item and no vote took place.

Blazers Money:

We have the contact info for someone with the Blazers.  Jimmy agreed to reach out to the Blazers to discuss continuing the payment they have given us in the past.  The Board agreed to support him in this effort.   No motions were made on this item and no vote took place.

Candidate Forum:

We discussed the idea of a candidate forum.  It was agreed to ask NECN to put one on. No motions were made on this item and no vote took place.

General Meeting:

We have a general meeting coming up.  Do we want to have a speaker?  Alan agreed to reach out to Mary Peveto to ask her to speak. No motions were made on this item and no vote took place.

Business Connections:

Susan recently talked with Corey Kaster who is interested in connecting the Eliot District businesses with each other.  The goal would be to help the owners know each other and work together.  Jimmy has been introducing himself to all the businesses in the neighborhood.  No motions were made on this item and no vote took place.

Minutes of the Previous Board Meeting: January 27,2020

Two corrections were made to the minutes.  Susan moved to accept as corrected. Jere seconded.

Alan reported that 4 candidates have requested to come to a meeting and he asked for clarification on what to tell them.  It was agreed that he could tell them the ENA meetings are open to the community and they can attend.  We may ask them a question and they would be given 5 minutes to answer.  We may also ask them to listen to our concerns.

Newsletter Report:

The deadline for articles is March 1. 

LUTC (Land Use Transportation Committee Report

This committee currently consists of Allan Rudwick, Brad Baker, Jonathan Konkol, and Phil Conti.

 There was a discussion of whose responsibility it is to report to NECN. 

Livability Report:

We have a relationship with Central City Concern’s Clean Start PDX program to help with community clean up.  If there are large items left out we can call them and they will come and take care of it.  They are doing a great job.  The adopt a block captains have their contact information.

Treasurer Report:

Jim will email the report.  He noted that at this point we have no income so our bank account total is slowly decreasing.

NECN

Jere is stepping down and we will need a new representative.  There was a discussion of the ENA’s responsibility to NECN.  Do we need to inform them of changes to the Land Use committee membership?  No motion was made and no vote was taken.

Next Board meeting: March 16th at 6:30pm

Meeting adjourned at 8:45pm.

Eliot Neighborhood Association Minutes December 16, 2019

Board Members Present                                            

  • Jim Hlava – Treasurer
  • Jimmy Wilson – Co-Chair
  • Allan Rudwick, Co-Chair  
  • Jennifer Wilcox – Recorder
  • Susan Stringer – Newsletter Editor
  • Shireen Hasan – Community Outreach
  • Jere Fitterman   
  • Darren Holcomb   
  • Jonathan Konkol   
  • Patricia Montgomery   
  • Sherry Staggs  

Others Present

  • Christian Rossnagel
  • Sara Ober
  • Johnny Engleheart
  • Richard Hunterson
  • Amir Hassan
  • Al’ec’ia Hassan

Meeting called to order:  7:01 p.m. after a potluck and time for socializing.

Goals: All present introduced themselves and stated their goals for the group for the coming year.  Goals listed were:

  • The work of the diesel committee/cleaning up the air
  • Addressing the homeless situation/ creating affordable housing
  • Design guidelines adopted
  • Addressing Black people killing Black people in the neighborhood
  • Livability/Adopt a Block
  • Transition to a new treasurer
  • Holding a social event/game night/ family night
  • Holding a neighborhood clean up (possibly with other neighborhoods)
  • Addressing the garbage truck after hours issue
  • The community garden (possibly including indigenous plants)
  • National Night Out/ Walk the Neighborhood
  • Getting the community involved
  • Debt forgiveness

New Business:

January Meeting: It was suggested that we should move our January meeting to a different date so that it does not conflict with Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations.  The group agreed to change the meeting to January 27th.

Mayo House: The Mayo House will be turned into a museum “ARTchives.” There was discussion of showing “Root Shocked” and having architectural models or posters at our April general meeting.  A question arose about the impact of showing this documentary and the need to be prepared for people’s concerns.  Another idea was to have a series of films including “Lift Every Voice”, “Vanport: Lost City”, and “Priced Out.” It was suggested that we should show a series with the focus on where we have been, where we are now and where we want to be. Susan agreed to get in touch with Cleo about the architectural students’ work.

Helping the Homeless: There was a brief discussion about what we might do to help those who are unhoused.  Suggestions included creating a new Right2Dream or a tiny home pod.

Goals: At our meeting next month we will break into groups based on goals we would like to focus on and create action plans to address those goals.

Accountability: There was a brief discussion on the need to be accountable.

Emanuel Land: The group reviewed the letter from the Land Use committee requesting the Emanuel blocks be donated to the community.  Alan moved and Susan seconded that the letter be sent.  This passed unanimously. 

Next Board meeting: January 27th at 6:30pm

Meeting was adjourned at 8:36pm

Respectfully Submitted,
Jennifer Wilcox, Recorder

Eliot Neighborhood Association Minutes January 27, 2020

In the Saint Philip the Deacon Church, 120 NE Knott St, Portland, OR 97212

Board Members Present

  • Jimmy Wilson – Co-Chair
  • Allan Rudwick, Co-Chair  
  • Jennifer Wilcox – Recorder
  • Susan Stringer – Newsletter Editor
  • Jim Hlava – Treasurer –
  • Shireen Hasan – Community Outreach –
  • Jonathan Konkol   
  • Patricia Montgomery   
  • Board Members Absent
  • Jere Fitterman   
  • Darren Holcomb   
  • Sherry Staggs  

Others Present

  • Johnny Engleheart
  • Maria McDowell

Meeting called to order:  6:39 p.m.

Welcome and Introductions:

Pastor Maria McDowell from Saint Philip the Deacon Episcopal Church was introduced.  She spoke about the Leven Community Housing Coalition, a group of faith communities who are trying to leverage land they already own to provide housing for individuals experiencing homelessness.  They are looking to assess the needs of the community and advocate with the city for changes to conditional use codes so that they build housing on their land.  Saint Phillip the Deacon church is looking at what they can do with their current land.  They want to invite the Eliot Neighborhood Association into those conversations. 

The following ideas were discussed: offering activities in the parish hall in connection with the housing, build something over the current parking lot with housing, intergenerational housing.  A comment was made that churches are not focused on making money and can help address greater city concerns such as homelessness. Emanuel church in the Humboldt neighborhood is working on a similar project.  Prosper Portland has money available for these types of projects.  The Meyer Memorial Trust is wanting to connect with the community and look for creative ways to offer/create affordable housing.

New Business:

Clarifying our reimbursement policy: We do not currently have a reimbursement policy. The following proposal was made:

if there is an approved budget item outstanding, any receipts that seem reasonably related to the item should be approved and paid ASAP

 if there is not an approved budget item, the board should be contacted before reimbursement

It was noted that in the past if someone had a project they had to present a budget as part of the project.  A clarification was made that there are currently no outstanding projects that need to be paid or reimbursed.

Jonathan moved and Allan seconded that we have a small discretionary budget of up to $100 for smaller items.  The chairs would be able to approve payment for these items.  This passed, 6 in favor and 1 opposed.

Current funding: Jim noted that we have no current money coming in to the budget. We need to follow up on the Blazers money.  Shireen will talk to Angela to find out the name of the person at the Blazers and we will send a letter as a board to follow up.  Also Susan will talk to Jere to find out if they have a contact at the Blazers.  Jim noted in the past we have had a balance of $8,000-$12,000 which is a good amount.  We should try to be revenue neutral for now until we have a source of income. No motions were made on this item and no vote took place.

Procedures on having speakers at our board meetings: It was agreed that we should direct people who want to speak at our meetings to the Community Outreach Coordinator (Shireen Hasan)  or the chairpersons to get the person on the agenda for the next meeting.  The person putting together the agenda will reply to the Outreach Coordinator so they know that the message has been received.  It was also agreed that the agenda will be sent out a week before the board meeting so people have time to review it.  No motions were made on these items and no vote took place.

Procedures on having political candidates speak at our board meetings: There was some discussion about if we have had politicians speak at board meetings in the past.  Allen said there are two reasons not to invite candidates: 1) we as a board cannot look like we endorse candidates and 2) we would need to invite all the candidates so as not to appear to be favoring some and this would take up all the time for the meeting. It was suggested that we could have a candidate forum.  Alan sent out an email from the Office of Neighborhood Involvement with guidelines for having politicians address neighborhood board meetings.  He suggested we should review it.  Susan moved and Patricia seconded that candidates may attend meetings.  We may ask the candidate a question and they would be given 5 minutes to answer.  We may also tell them our concerns.  This passed 5 in favor and 3 opposed

Committee Updates

  Newsletter: Articles for the spring edition are due by March 1.  Ad copy is due by March 8.  The newsletter will be sent out April 1

  Livability: no report

  LUTC (Land Use Transportation Committee): The house on Vancouver and Page has been moved once and is up for demolition.  They are looking for someone to move it.  Three houses were just demolished, these were some of the last African American built houses in the neighborhood.  A letter was sent to the city in favor of infill.

  Clean Air: There was a brief discussion about data gathering.  The committee is putting together a letter to the trucking company the main contributor to the diesel pollution. There was also discussion about the need to make progress on this issue and that people want to be involved in the process.

  Community Outreach: Pastor Maria McDowell spoke earlier in the evening.

Minutes of the November 2019 Board Meeting:

Moved to accept: Susan         Seconded: Jim Vote Count: 7 in favor, no opposed

Minutes of the December 2019 Board Meeting:

Moved to accept: Susan         Seconded: Jim  Vote Count: 5 in favor, 2 abstained

Next Board meeting:  February 17, 2020 at 6:30pm

Adjourned at 8:37pm

Eliot Neighborhood Association Minutes November 18, 2019

Board members present: Jere Fitterman, Jimmy Wilson, Pat Montgomery, Darren Holcomb, Sue Stringer, Jonathan Konkol, Shireen Hasan, Sherry Staggs, Jennifer Wilcox, Allan Rudwick

Board members absent: Jim Hlava

Guests present: Teressa Raiford ( and her two daughters), Fyndi Jermany, Perez, Tai, Cleo Davis, approximately 6-10 more that didn’t sign in.

Meeting begins 6:40 pm

Minutes from October approved unanimously as corrected stating “… funding was provided for the Diversity Community Gardening Co-Op at St Philips Church led by Shireen Hasan.” Sue Stringer motions to approve, Allan Rudwick 2nds

Visiting mayoral candidate Teresa Raiford led a discussion about the needs of our neighborhood that she can focus on during her potential term as mayor. Topics included displacement of longtime residents and why she wants to run as mayor.

LUTC Report: LUTC voted to keep its board and officers. Current board includes:

  • Brad Baker, Chair
  • Jonathan Konkol, Vice Chair
  • Allan Rudwick, Recorder
  • Phil Conti
  • Monique Gaskins
  • Zach Garrard

Allan Rudwick motions to approve LUTC committee for 2020 term, Sue Stringer 2nds. Unanimously approved

Treasurer Report: Jim Hlava was not present. Per Jere Fitterman, Karla Gostnell still needs to find out about the blazer money for this year and ongoing continuation of funds as well as who should be our point of contact with the Blazer organization. Jere will follow up with Karla regarding this matter.

NECN: Mischa Webly with NECN is responsible for the NECN newsletter and has just launched heyneighborpdx.org which will be an online venue for articles, events and information in a timelier manner and for all the NECN neighbors to contribute to. Sue will connect Mischa Webly and Thursday Bram, our webmaster, to enable posts on their site that would be relevant to all neighborhoods.

Old Business: Darren Holcomb gave an update regarding Lauren Hall Barrons request for assistance on the loud garbage trucks that drive down her street, Monroe, in the middle of the night enroute to businesses on MLK. Darren will get the letter from the neighbor to Jere Fitterman. Jere Fitterman motions that she, Jere Fitterman, will write a letter to Metro and deliver it to Metro regarding this issue.

Election of Officers for 2020 term:

Allan Rudwick motions to remove the position of Community Outreach as an executive board position. Jonathan Konkol 2nds. Motion does not pass. Community Outreach continues as an executive board position.

Executive Board voted in unanimously:

Allan Rudwick and Jimmy Wilson, Co-Chairs

Jim Hlava, Treasurer

Jennifer Wilcox, Recorder

Newsletter Editor, Sue Stringer

Community Outreach, Shireen Hasan

Meeting adjourned 8:45pm

Testing for COVID in the Neighborhood

By Sam Wilson

Drive up Covid-19 testing by Dr. Kat onsit at Oasis of Change. Photo credit Sam Wilson

Matt Thrasher woke up one morning in early June feeling ill. He suspected food poisoning and called his boss at a bathroom surface refinishing company, where he works as a technician. The company relayed the message to Thrasher’s customer for the day, for whom he was tasked with detailing a tub and shower he had begun the day prior. Out of an abundance of caution, the clients asked that he get tested for COVID-19 before doing the work. His boss agreed, which is how he wound up parallel parked in his company truck on the 2000 block of North Williams Avenue, swirling a non-cotton swab around each of his nostrils.

Thrasher had been referred to Dr. Kat Lopez Sankey, 37, who runs a private member practice office in the basement of Oasis of Change, a community center on North Williams Avenue. Lopez began offering drive-up COVID-19 tests in early April, soon after the FDA began allowing the less invasive nasal swabs for sample collection, and still when the flatness of our curves was yet to be known. She anticipated a large demand for people looking for answers and planned on hiring employees to assist with the rush. She ordered a sign to be printed offering the service for $150, a price she settled on after weighing the many unknown factors. But the rush never came. 

Sankey began her private practice a year ago, distraught by the “insurance-industrial complex” after five years in an integrative medicine clinic. Her clients now pay $100 a month for “unlimited access” via office visits, emails, phone calls, or texts. The membership fee is out of pocket, although some insurance companies refund the cost. Her clients visit from around the Portland area, ranging from families to the elderly, but all have come by way of word of mouth. “My type of medicine doesn’t actually work very well in an insurance model,” she notes. “It’s not lucrative to spend a long thoughtful time with people with multiple follow-up calls and being accessible to them all the time. None of that is reimbursed by insurance.” 

When the coronavirus began keeping people indoors, Lopez saw less of her patients but also heard from them less as well. “I initially thought that because of the pandemic, there would be more sick people and I would be useful,” she said. “But instead, society just kind of shut down.”

It was surprising, too, that more people were not trying to get tested. Since she started offering them, Lopez has administered 13 drive-in tests to the public, all of which have been negative, and believes mixed messages have discouraged more people from getting tests. “I think there was a misunderstanding of how many swabs and tubes existed, and there was a mindset of conservation for those who were important and it was hard to know how inundated we would be,” she said. “An asymptomatic person with no exposures who’s not a healthcare worker still can’t get tested. Anywhere. Except for me or if their doctor wants to do it.” Lopez also acknowledged a Walgreens in Hillsboro began testing asymptomatic people with no exposures in late May.

As labs have become more streamlined with COVID-19 testing, Lopez has smoothed her process as well. She has settled on using LabCorp to process the tests she administers. They charge $52 per test, usually picking up the swabs within a half-hour of the sample being collected, and their results come in a few days at most. As such, Lopez has been steadily lowering her price, although the sign she had ordered at the beginning of April had only recently arrived.

As she sat in the sunny garden adjacent to Oasis of Change in early June, Lopez reflected that she should be doing the test for free, with insurance. Without insurance, the LabCorp fee would still need to be covered by the person getting tested. She had, after all, an abundance of swabs and sterile tubes, just waiting for samples. “It’s very rewarding. People are really emotional about it,” Lopez said of the peace of mind she sees when someone does a test. 

For Matt Thrasher, it was a simple process he was more than glad to do. “Look, we’re going through a pandemic. I feel like more people should get this done,” he said. Three days after Thrasher handed his swab to Lopez from his truck window, he got an email with his results. Negative.

To schedule a test with Dr. Kat Lopez Sankey, visit covidtestpdx.com.

Dr. Kat Lopez Sankey who offers Covid-19 testing at Oasis of Change. Photo credit Sam Wilson

Albina Library Moves Back to Eliot Neighborhood

Multnomah County Library has declined to renew the lease for the current Albina Library location at 3605 NE 15th Ave. On July 1, the library will relocate back to its former location at 216 NE Knott St into a larger, historic Carnegie library building that currently serves as Title Wave Used Bookstore.

Title Wave Bookstore where the Albina library will relocate back to. This was the original location for this library branch.

This is unexpected and due to be a loss to many who have relied on the library in its current location. However, Eliot residents will probably be happy to have the library return to our neighborhood.  Relocating any neighborhood’s library was not a decision that the Multnomah County Library staff took lightly. As Vailey Oehlke, Director of Libraries, stated in her letter to library patrons recently, “A variety of factors contributed to our decision, including this pandemic, which has caused us to make difficult choices and think in new ways about how the library can serve the community.”

Albina Library is the smallest branch in the Multnomah County Library system. Its current location is just 3,500 square feet. It doesn’t even have a public meeting room. The small space would not accommodate  physical distancing which may be a necessary precaution for the foreseeable future. Therefore it would be likely that the space would allow only sidewalk service. However, the new location on Knott Street is about 2,000 square feet larger.

“The library’s lease of Albina Library expires on June 1, 2020. A three-year renewal would cost more than $260,000. As a steward of public resources, the library can’t justify that expenditure, when a suitable and larger option exists nearby that is already owned by the library,” stated Oehlke.

The new library will be 1.1 miles closer and easily accessible to both Eliot residents as well as not to far from the residents that were used to the Fremont and NE 15th Avenue location. The staff is working hard on getting the inventory relocated. If you have an item currently on hold at Albina Library the library will notify you about holds and pickups.

For information about the phased reopening plan, an FAQ and instructions for using the holds pickup service at other locations, please visit multcolib.org/covid19.

Cartside: New food cart pod in Eliot on N Williams

By Monique Gaskins

Lots of options at Cartside the new food cart pod on N Williams at NE Hancock. Photo credit Sue Stringer

We have a new local food option available in Eliot. The varied purveyors at Cartside, a new food cart pod started serving customers in Mid-May.

The site includes space for at least seven food trucks and a tap house with indoor seating and WiFi. Located at 1825 North Williams Avenue at NE Hancock Street, this is a convenient option for Eliot residents, especially if you find yourself working from home more than usual.

Not all of the carts are open yet, but in the current environment, it’s encouraging to hear about small businesses opening in the neighborhood. With warmer weather coming to Portland, consider walking over to Cartside and trying out a new entree. 

Check out http://www.cartsidepdx for more information on carts, their websites and other information.

Care to share?

We have been experiencing some challenging times with both the coronavirus pandemic, the subsequent economic impact and also the Black Lives Matter protests. We are currently collecting content for our fall issue of the Eliot News. Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus?Or perhaps a story from the Black Lives Matter protests you’d like to share? How you or your family handling the pandemic? Any silver linings or new routines or skills you’ve discovered? Please share with us by emailing to news@eliotneighborhood.org. We’ll follow up with any questions or clarifications. Thank you~ Sue Stringer, Editor, Eliot News