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

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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 

Oregon Property Taxation 101

The earlier column “Taxed to Death? – Part 1 of 2” provided some history for how Eliot finds itself at the center of a policy debate about inequitable property tax payments by residents in newly “gentrified” areas and potential risks to us/them presented by some Legislative discussions. There was fear at the time the Legislature would make changes that would radically increase taxes in Eliot. That is not likely in this legislative session, but there is a proposal to revise how property taxes are levied that may have that result. The proposal hasn’t passed and just calls for a study to set the stage for that change. Because it hasn’t passed, Part 2 of “Taxed to Death” is postponed for now. Instead, this column provides a summary of the current assessment process. It also responds to a number of questions that have been asked about the prior column.

The State Department of Revenue is responsible for ensuring uniform taxation of properties in the state, although actual taxes are levied and collected at the county level. The guidelines for all counties are similar. Properties are assessed at “real market value” (RMV) using a common set of guidelines for property assessment; however, these are subject to adjustments by each county to reflect actual market conditions. That includes applying different criteria in different neighborhoods and in rural versus urban areas to capture market price trends. Property assessments are to be complete by September 25th each year and bills sent a month later. The tax year runs from July to July. The tax bill you receive in October is based on the Assessor’s estimate of RMV as of January 1st. So, if the Assessor calculated RMV for your neighborhood and your house in April, they adjust that value to what they believe it would have been on January 1. That establishes the RMV and for the tax bill in October. For structures without any modifications, “improvements” in tax language, this method is used for all comparable properties. A different method is used if improvements have been made after the previous tax year. As noted in the prior column, the property taxes that are due are subject to a tax cap established by Measure 50 in 1997, which was a Constitutional amendment and can’t be changed without a public vote. Measure 50 essentially froze the “tax assessed value” at the RMV in 1997, plus an allowed inflation adjustment. Properties that pre-date 1997 have their value (but not their taxes) capped as of 1997. The county is still required to reassess the RMV every year, it just can’t use the current RMV to calculate the tax bill, with one exception; if there are newly constructed “improvements.” New construction IS assessed at RMV; however, Measure 50 limits the “tax assessed value” to a fraction of that, roughly 60%.

There are two situations where a tax reassessment may occur. The first is when improvements are made to an existing structure, such as a new deck. The other is when a wholly new structure is added to an existing property. In the case of the new deck, the assessor estimates how much the new deck adds to the RMV and increases the value of the existing building by that amount. For example, assume your house has an RMV at $200,000 and the deck is estimated to add $50,000 to that.  You will be taxed for an improvement of $50,000. Where this gets tricky is when the “assessed value” for tax purposed is wildly different than the RMV; namely, homes built prior to Measure 50. In that case, the “tax assessed value” of the existing home may be $50,000, in which case the new deck would increase it. Assuming a Measure 50 cap of 60%, to $80,000 and nearly double the amount of taxes owed. The same is true for a wholly new structure, such as an ADU.

For new construction, the assessor will probably use a “cost” method to calculate the RMV. In other words, how much it cost to build the structure rather than its market value. The state provides cost guidance so this estimate is uniform across all new structures (with local cost adjustments). Returning to the example above, if a new ADU valued at $200,000 is added to the property instead of the $50,000 deck, the new assessed value will be $170,000 ($50,000 for the Measure 50 assessed value of the existing building plus 60% of the new $200,000 ADU; another $120,000).  The new tax bill will be over 3 times the previous bill.  

New construction presents a taxation challenge to both the assessor and the taxpayer; you. Recall that assessed values are based on the situation on January 1st. If construction began in June, there would be no improvements as of January 1, since construction hadn’t begun. So your October tax bill wouldn’t reflect the new addition. If the ADU is completed within the calendar year, its value would be added in the next year, and show up in the tax bill in the next October, over a year after construction began. If construction takes 12-months or is spread across two years, this process also extends two years. In that case, the assessed value during first July-to-July tax year is based on the value of the structure as it was on January 1 of the next calendar year. For a project started in June, that would be what was completed over the 6 previous months; an amount less than the value of the finished project. Assuming it is only 50% complete, the new assessed value would be half the value of the completed project. In our example, that would be $100,000 (of the $200,000 total cost) and would be reflected in the October tax bill the year after construction started.  Once the project is finished, the value the would be assessed at the full $200,000, but that wouldn’t show up until the next calendar year’s tax bill, because it won’t be until that tax year that the project will be complete as of January 1st. This lag in tax billing surprises many taxpayers as the see jumps in their taxes over multiple years; nothing in the year construction begins, a jump in the next year when construction is complete, and then yet another jump a year after the project finished. This last adjustment usually catches people by surprise.  

Assessors monitor improvements to existing structures and land through building permits, site visits, record checks, and notices from the population, say a neighbor. Untaxed improvements, called “omitted records,” result when discrepancies are found between the assessor’s records and field inspections. This can happen when construction was done without permits; however, all construction doesn’t require permits. It can also happen through errors in communication of construction activity between permit authorities and the county and mistakes in the assessment. In those cases, the assessor has the right to reassess RMV for the 5 prior tax years. When that occurs, the taxpayer is sent a notice that provides 20-days to correct an erroneous record.  A corrected assessment, including a bill for the 5-years owed, will follow. The taxpayer has a limited time to appeal the assessment, as it can for any tax bill. One problem with property taxation is that it is unlike income or sales taxes. We are used to the income tax process where we self-report our income and taxes and the IRS is responsible for any audits and tax adjustments after the fact. In the case of property taxes, the Assessor sets the tax amount and the property owner is responsible for verifying it is correct, and appealing if they feel it is not. In other words, property owners play the role of “tax auditor” to the assessor, which is just the reverse of what we know from income taxes.  

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.

Beer, Tamales, and Coffee: A Perfect Recipe of Collaboration

“This town is about collaboration,” says Thad Fisco, owner of Portland Kettle Works and Portland’s craft beer lab, Labrewatory. In 2015, Labrewatory opened in Lower Albina with Thad purchasing the building at 670 N Russell Street, a few blocks north of Interstate, and it has been the definition of collaboration in every sense of the word. Brewers from around the city come together to create beers which are creative and delicious. For the first couple of years, beer was the headliner at this storage facility turned brewery. That is changing now.

In 2011, Portland Kettle Works designed a new brew system and brewers immediately started placing orders. Craft beer, it turns out, was the one part of the economy that was doing well during the recession. Sales have continued and their brewing systems are now in over 250 breweries worldwide and going strong. 

Now Portland Kettle Works was off and running and they had a building to house equipment. Thad says that “we decided to open a brewery of our own because we were very active in putting breweries into business but hadn’t started our own yet and so we kind of looked at it as a challenge and a learning experience so we could be more informed about what we were selling to people. What an experience it has been!”

“Now we get to start doing some new things down here!” says Rachel Wilson, owner of Dawn Patrol Coffee and brewery manager. “At the beginning of the year, we added the coffee shop and extended our hours.” Dawn Patrol operates at Labrewatory in the morning hours from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm. Tamale Boy started providing burritos in the morning starting at 8:30 am and beer can be sold any time of day.  “We also have different beer and coffee cocktails and growlers to go,” Rachel adds. Rachel has also taken on distribution selling kegs of La Brewatory’s beer to different restaurants and bars like Loyal Legion.

 Rachel continues, “We really started focusing on community events. We’re trying to bring in a different crowd of people and having the neighborhood have a place to meet. There are many different events and groups that meet at Labrewatory such as a moms club and the NoPo running club. There is even a $1 neighborhood discount for those customers who live or work in the neighborhood.” 

“On Tuesdays, there is a new beer release. At 5:00 people come in and we’ll put a new beer on tap and Nick, our brewer, will take those (who have purchased a tour ticket) around and then they get their t-shirt. And there’s live music between 6 pm and 8 pm,” Rachel explains. 

Labrewatory hosted a Smash festival celebrating the 100th brewed beer and tied in a nonprofit to work with, which was Special Olympics. In July they hosted a “Go Fund Me” for a friend of Rachel’s who had a climbing accident. Soon, on August 17th, there will be an S’mores event, called Mighty Clementine, designed by a customer’s daughter, Clementine, who recently has recovered from an aneurysm. She chose the nonprofit, Randall Children’s Hospital Pediatric Development and Rehabilitation Fund, and also will choose the flavors of the s’mores. 

 In addition, there are the classes that both La Brewatory and Tamale Boy offer. Classes are offered to all of the Portland Kettle Works clients. They get all of La Brewatory’s operating procedures for the front of the house, operating procedures for the brewery and get to see financial analysis. It gives the new brewery owners an idea on how to operate their business. 

Jaime Soltero, Jr., owner of Tamale Boy, says, “Our philosophy is to always be training and always be evolving and getting people situated, getting their brains right and their work ethic right and let them go and explore themselves. We work with a couple of organizations that come and prep and train here so that they can get them back into the workforce. We have a person that actually went blind that used to work in the kitchen and we have gotten him back in the kitchen. That helps us also really think about what we’re doing and how we go about things. It’s a humbling experience for sure. That’s just one of the programs. We also support our community with gift certificates, fundraisers, and whatever we can do.”

The collaboration has been good for all three businesses. Thad says, “When Jaime came in with Tamale Boy our beer sales increased 30% when they opened their doors. That’s one thing we teach people. If you don’t have food you’re basically cutting yourself off at the knees. So you have to have some way to serve food and the better the food the better. So it’s been a great partnership.”

Jaime agrees, “It actually it worked out perfectly because at that time I was looking to expand to a commissary kitchen because where I started off at Dekum (first location of Tamale Boy) it was super small and we were already saturated. Summers we were packed to the gills and we needed more space. Thad got wind of me and we got started and it’s the perfect marriage. We don’t have to worry about anything in the dining room.” 

“It’s really interesting,” Thad says, “that’s the part of overhead that a restaurant hates, is the dining room, but that’s the part that we want – for people to hang out and drink beer. We tell a lot of clients if you can lease the kitchen out and keep the people in the dining area drinking beer as long as you can…” 

“And coffee!” Rachel chimes in. “It IS the perfect marriage!”

Rachel says, “The fun thing is that with this space we can have all these people that want to have an event and Labrewatory can offer the beer, Tamale Boy supplies the food and then there is a different kind of profit without having to rent an event space so more of the proceeds can go to the business holding the event.”

With any business and especially with this unique collaboration there are going to challenges and surprises. Jaime says, “We’re always adjusting- we’re learning together. Everybody’s strengths we pull in together and learn from each other.” Thad says, thinking about the challenges, the important thing is, “Keeping Rachel! Plus, without this (La Brewatory) I wouldn’t have been able to grow my business and without Jaime, I wouldn’t have had food to offer. We push the edge to find new revenue streams and are backed by Portland Kettle Works so we can take risks.”

Lastly, Rachel says, “It’s fun!” She is learning about the financial side of a business, managing skills, and is challenged to find new businesses with items that are needing distribution to offer at the taproom, as well as trying to scale cold brew coffee which will be on one of the taps at the brewery. 

The classes that are offered by Thad and Jaime help pop-ups which in turn are helping our community become stronger and offer diverse food and beverages to all of the Portland metro area.

So if you have an inkling to start a brewery or restaurant, check in with this successful team on North Russell. Collaboration is the name of the game and to sum it up, referring to the old television sit-com, Jaime says, “We’re very tight here. We’re very three’s company.”

Upcoming Event: 

Mighty Clementine

Saturday, August 17, 12-5 pm

Benefit for Randall Children’s Hospital Pediatric Development and Rehabilitation Fund

For more information:

Labrewatory/Dawn Patrol Coffee

670 N Russell St

Hours: Monday to Friday Open 7 am, Saturday and Sunday Open 9 am, closing times vary

Contact: 971-271-8151, www.labrewatory.com

Tamale Boy

668 N Russell St

Hours Monday – Sunday Open 11 am, closing times vary

Contact: 503-477-6706, www.tamaleboy.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:

Amazing Mid-City Oasis Offers Food and Wellness Center

The sun is shining and I hear the cheerful sound of voices and the percussive chime of tools being used in the garden as I walk up to the 126-year-old Victorian home behind the Billy Webb Elks Lodge just south of Tillamook on Williams. I realize that today is going to be a good day of community building. The peaceful feeling I experience is overwhelming as I enter the house looking for the owners of the new business in our Eliot neighborhood. This space is definitely an oasis in the center of the city and in the middle of our neighborhood. Though it sits on busy North Williams Ave, once inside the house and even on the surrounding lot, you forget that there is a bustling world beyond its borders. As I introduce myself to the business owners, a group of women and children arrive happily chatting amongst themselves. We all exchange introductions and then my tour of the property begins. 

Oasis of Change is the dream turned the reality of Dov Judd and Kathryn Cannon. Dov, a certified Play Therapist, had been a pediatric therapy practice owner for 10 years. His wife, Kathryn was working as a peer to peer support specialist. They dreamed of creating a space where the focus could be on health, nutrition, community and giving back to their neighborhood.

Dov and Kathryn both grew up on the east coast but Kathryn had spent some time on the west coast. They needed to find a location with enough water, a space to grow food and people to share their vision of health care of the future. Oregon seemed to be the perfect fit. After spending last summer in Dallas, Oregon learning how to farm organically, they decided to look in Portland for the right location for their venture. 

Their real estate agent brought them to 2037 N Williams and Dov couldn’t believe how it perfectly embodied the space he had been imagining. The beautiful Victorian house will offer space for medical practitioners on the top floor with the main floor serving as a welcome area with large rooms for group therapy, classes, and an art gallery. The spacious kitchen will be the perfect place for a food lab and teaching kitchen as well as a pop-up restaurant for chefs to create healthy meals for guests. The basement will have a commercial kitchen specifically for baking. Dov and Kathryn also will be able to offer Farm to Table experience dinners for guests on weekend nights for an extremely reasonable fee. Live music is a frequent occurrence which is, of course, the perfect accompaniment to garden fresh food and delectable locally sourced ingredients. Guests can stroll the garden and grounds taking in the amazing space that Dov and Kathryn are creating. 

In the middle of the amazing garden tour, a couple arrives bearing tempeh for Dov and Kathryn to try. I was fortunate enough to be invited to stay for lunch and enjoy the sautéed tempeh which was incredibly delicious. Also in attendance is Modern Cavegirl who has a pop-up restaurant onsite occasionally for Saturday breakfast. Other chefs offer pop up dinners. (See the short article about Hearts & Bones Kitchen on page 8) The amount of networking that Dov and Kathryn have done just since April when they opened the doors to Oasis of Change is impressive! 

Oasis of Change will have a membership model where members will have access to classes, the garden, the restaurant, daycare, and be surrounded by a community of people, unlike anything I’ve witnessed in Portland. The fence bordering Williams will be covered with edible plants that anyone walking by can snack on. 

Also, onsite there will be practitioners such as medical doctors, nutritionists, and therapists who rent practice space at an hourly rate. The ability to have a workspace without having to commit to an office lease contract allows flexibility for practitioners and less financial stress. As Dov explained, the traditional model of medicine puts up a medical wall between the practitioner and the patient/person. By getting rid of the medical practice model, the practitioner takes ownership/responsibility of their patient and can better serve the person, becoming more connected and understanding them better.

Plus we can look forward to some small retail spaces on the street side of the business and a market to sell farm-fresh produce and other nutritional food products. 

The philosophy of Oasis of Change is to offer community supported health care in an environment where the joy of growing food from start to finish helps kids and adults alike appreciate the process and make eating healthy an adventure that will carry over for a lifetime. 

This is a work in progress and plans are coming to fruition yet morphing at the same time. Stop by and see for yourself this healthy oasis and maybe it will help you affect the change you see in your own life. It truly is a way to escape the city and commune with nature and some wonderful people.

For more information stop by or visit their website:

Oasis of Change – 2037 N Williams 

http://www.oasisofchange.com

kathryn at oasisofchange dot com

301-467-8441

Tours offered Wednesday – Sunday 10am-5pm

Bountiful Produce and Community at Albina Cooperative Garden

By Kat Severi

A close up image of a bee on a yellow sunflower next to a green leaf

It’s summertime now and the gardens are thriving here at Albina Cooperative Garden! We are a community based, urban farm located in the Eliot neighborhood on the corner of Russell Street and Vancouver Avenue. This large, organic gardening project produces impressive amounts of delicious produce every season here in the heart of NE Portland. 

The flowers in our pollinator garden are in full bloom and the bees are doing their work, lettuce, chard, and arugula are fresh as can be, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and basil plants are looking fantastic. We are so busy this time of year with crops growing bigger every day and even new seeds are being sown for the fall and winter harvest. Come by and say hello, we are often out in the sun (or rain), cultivating the soil that borders Legacy Emanuel Hospital who gifted this land to the Eliot neighborhood many years ago. Take a stroll through our thriving garden spaces, try a taste of some fresh sugar snap peas, bush beans, sweet peppers or luscious strawberries, maybe relax in the orchard and listen to the sounds of the many creatures that live here, bumblebees, butterfly wings, and bird songs.

Our members maintain this land for growing food and creating a living, green space in the center of the city. We educate citizens on sustainability and organic urban food production, we come together as a cooperative organization to share those values with our Eliot neighbors and our greater Portland community. 

Interested in membership? All are welcome to share in the year-round bounty in trade for satisfying work and a small annual membership fee. Eliot neighbors that need financial assistance are welcome to join us through a generous scholarship fund gifted to you, the community by the Eliot Neighborhood Association, please do email us for the application at albinacooperativegarden at gmail dot com

Visit our Instagram @albinacooperativegarden and Facebook page Albina Cooperative Garden for our garden events, membership signup or to find out how you can join the next Saturday work party.

Walk Williams Wednesdays… All Summer Long

By Dane Fredericks

Lace up your boots and bring a friend for Walk Williams, a summer party thrown by Williams and Vancouver businesses. Join us for free pedicab rides, live music, entertainers, pop-ups and prizes.

Pick up an event passport at participating businesses on each second Wednesday starting June through October from 4-8pm then eat, shop and play to earn three stickers and turn your passport in for automatic prizes like beer, chocolate or oysters. Each passport you submit is entered into our grand prize raffle, meaning you can play five Walk Williams, automatically win five monthly prizes and enter five times in the grand prize drawing.

August 14, September 11, October 9 from 4-8pm at participating Williams/Vancouver businesses. Prizes, participants and full event details at williamsdistrict.com/walkwilliams

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. 

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

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

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