From Portland Parks and Recreation website edited for clarity
Portland Parks & Recreation and the Bureau of Environmental Services are collaborating at Irving Park to create nature patches and rain gardens that will capture rainwater, foster habitat for wildlife, and add natural features for you to enjoy.
This project will bring nature to the neighborhood that works to protect public health and the environment by helping prevent flooding, sewer backups into basements, and overflows into the Willamette River during heavy rain.
Areas targeted for nature patch landscaping include the degraded slopes around the basketball courts and between the dog-off-leash-area and the picnic areas. View the design concept here.
While the rain gardens are currently in the early design phase, landscaping to create the nature patches will begin this fall and planting will take place over next winter.
To sign up to volunteer to help create this space click here.
For more information about this project and other nature patches around the city visit the city website’s Nature Patch page.
The Irving Park Nature Patch is funded through the BES Percent for Green Program.
We reported in the summer issue that a new food cart pod had opened on N Williams and Hancock. At that time only a couple of carts were open and we were anxiously awaiting more carts and also the tap house to start serving. Well, that time has come. Each have different hours so check them out or give them a call. They are all listed in the Dining in Eliot list to the right. Check out their website for more information and menus at https://www.cartsidepdx.com/
The following carts have joined the pod:
L’Unico Italian Street Food
Poblano Pepper Mexican Food
Yaba Yabaa Mediterranean
Ko Sisters Korean Soul Food
Let’s Roll Sushi PDX
Smaaken Waffle Sandwiches
PP Thai Food Cart
The Cartside Tap House is also now open 7 days a week from 11:30 am —7:00 pm and serving up beer, cider and wine with 25 different beers and ciders on tap.
Check them all out- there’s lots of great food and drink to enjoy!
Here in our third summer, the Grove is looking incredibly lush. As the shrubs grow to fill (and overfill!) their allotted areas, the vegetative contours of the Grove are starting to really look the way we imagined them when we first began. The Willow Dome is rebounding well from the bizarre massive water-main flood of last summer, and we seem to be attracting not just bees but dragonflies and birds of many species. Thank you so much for all your incredible help in making our dream a reality.
Now we’re thinking about a few equipment upgrades, and hope y’all might be able to kick in a little financial support.
When we first began watering the Grove, we dragged our expensive hose across the street and discovered that auto traffic ruptured and destroyed the unprotected hose. For the last couple of years, we’ve protected the hose with four 2” x 12” boards which are huge and heavy (as our Watering Heroes can attest to). They’ve done a great job, but are splintering, cracking, and breaking under the stress.
We’d need some actual hose ramps to protect them, which should both a) do a better job, b) last longer, and c) be much easier to drag out into the street and back. The ones we looked at are black rubber with a bright yellow lid, rated for 20-30 tons per axle, which should stand up even to the garbage and delivery trucks that occasionally traverse the hose.
Six 3’4” pieces, at $46 each, – 8% bulk discount, free shipping, = $254.
The tripod for our sprinkler has done good service, but one of the legs is broken: the clip that holds it in extended position no longer works. Replacement tripod = $40
We also need a couple of bags of concrete to set the ceramic bird/bee bath in place, AND one of our really good hoses just broke at the hose bib last week and needed a repair kit = $19 which brings us up to a total of about: $325.
There are about 150 people on our email list at this time, so if each of you threw say $3-5 at us, we could cover these costs. If you want to give more or cover the entire cost, we’ll name the hose ramps after you, and sing your praises every time we water the Grove. On the other hand, if you are willing to set up a monthly payment with a shout-out and adopt-a-plant perks, click on the Patreon link here: https://www.patreon.com/BoiseEliotNativeGrove
Our Patreon and PayPal launch has so far attracted ELEVEN brave contributors who will have trees, shrubberies, and bee-hotel rooms named after them!
We’ve met several of our goals with these pioneer patrons and as such will be able to 1) purchase new bee-straws for the bee hotel, 2) purchase supplies to fix the hexagonal bench and install the birdbath, and 3) help pay for the water to keep the trees and plants alive! As those first funds arrive, we’ll get those things on the schedule. Until then, keep spreading the word and saving the world.
Also! Please share these links and tell people about the Grove and come visit and take pictures and post them and tag us and just help people find out about us and enjoy this miraculous place we’ve created together.
Thanks as ever for your ongoing support, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, and psychically. We hope to see you soon in the Grove (all masked up) and in the World (safe and distanced), and in the Streets (don’t forget to Vote!)
Andrine & Howard
P.S. Full disclosure: we were able to borrow the funds to purchase the hose ramps, and we’d like to pay that back to the generous person who fronted us the funds.
As I went for a walk last night, I was breathing in wildfire smoke. These are not normal times. I keep hearing calls to vote, as if our problems are political in nature. Society is not what it once was. As someone who likes to host friends, I am finding myself struggling to maintain my social connections during the time of covid-19.
I worry about our organization, the Eliot Neighborhood Association (ENA). Our roles in my time with the ENA have been:
To organize and put out the Eliot News (a huge task).
To be a space to discuss neighborhood issues, development proposals, city projects and plans, and advocate for a better future
To put on annual events like a neighborhood cleanup
To be a resource for neighbors needing help navigating the city’s bureaucracy
Recently, our organization is feeling depleted. We have been continuing to meet over zoom, but we are not really able to have an easily accessible open door for a community space. As a result, we are not gaining members and seeing as much of the public as we normally would. Many of our members have stepped down from positions and committees, more than I have seen in my 10 years with the ENA. We need your help!
These times are trying. The national political partisanship combined with a sense that things just are not being taken care of at a local or national level is wearing on many of us. Technology companies are getting better at keeping our attention on scrolling or watching movies and we aren’t going out and making as many connections in the world as we might otherwise.
The most important connections we can make are with those around us. I have also found that during the pandemic, I am making stronger connections with my neighbors who live right next to me than I have ever had. These are the people who I’ll turn to first for help out if something goes wrong. I would encourage you to connect with those around you. The ENA has your back and is here for larger issues, but the easiest solutions come neighbor to neighbor. Spending more time at home has made me realize that I am blessed to live on a great block. You might find that you are too.
Knott Street Boxing Club is part of the Matt Dishman community center in N.E. Portland. It’s been around for a long time. Inside you can see trophies and newspaper clippings that go back to the 50’s. It was once a top boxing club in the nation, and produced championship level fighters. Back in the day there could be 70-90 kids at the gym everyday. It has remained a solid community club in a neighborhood that has gone through a lot of changes. Boxing gyms are often recognized for helping to keep kids out of trouble by giving them a place to go and teaching them the value of discipline and hard work.
Knott Street plays another important role in the community: it brings people from different backgrounds together. Portland has become more expensive, and as a result, less diverse and more divided. At Knott Street, people from all different backgrounds- race, income, age- come together. It’s one of Portland’s few melting pots. You go to Knott Street and spend time with people you might not otherwise know. These kinds of institutions are fundamental in teaching kids to understand prejudice. And inside a boxing gym, the only way you can feel superior to someone else is by working harder than them. None of this would be possible without Stanley Dunn, who acts as the coach and mentor to the boys and girls who train at Knott Street. When I boxed there, I was struck by Stanley’s commitment to the club. He puts his whole heart into it, almost every day. He’s been doing it for over 16 years.
At Knott Street, Stanley teaches the sweet science to anyone who wants to learn. He teaches the kids how to be humble when they win, and how to deal with loss. He inspires them to be fit and take responsibility for their health. He helps them rise to their full competence. He even picks them up if they have no way to get to the gym.
Stanley does all this for no pay. He doesn’t ask for pay. He is truly dedicated to serving the community by always being there for the kids. When Covid hit and training indoors became a risk, he trained the kids at Dawson park. Often a scene of drug addiction and crime, he turned it into a positive environment. The whole neighborhood, the police and ambulances, clapped their hands and honked their horns in support as they passed by.
Knott Street Boxing Club subsists on donations. It needs new equipment and more resources to keep its members involved. It needs funds to be able to put on exhibitions and travel to tournaments; the cheapest way to do this is to purchase a van to transport the boxing ring for set-up at exhibitions and for the team to travel to tournaments. And it needs the financial ability to help the kids who can’t afford the $20 monthly youth memberships. The dream is to restore competitive greatness to the Knott Street Boxing Club by enabling it to compete. This gives the kids something to work towards. The minimum necessity is to keep the gym going, and provide the necessary equipment for it’s members to train.
There is a lot of awareness being raised right now about race and inequality in America. Donating to a charity or cause to help bring change to these issues is a good thing. I encourage you to research how your donations are being used, and better understand how you are helping. One of the best ways to help is by investing directly in your community. Small places like Knott Street make a big impact on the community. Knott Street is a throwback- there aren’t too many places like it around anymore. Let’s help keep it going and make it accessible to anyone who needs it, regardless of their income.
Recent development in Eliot has had two notable impacts on the area. The first is construction of large apartment blocks. The second is the flourishing of new cafes, bars, and restaurants in small storefronts. The big question in my mind is what will happen to these in the immediate, as well as long term future? Effort to allow bar and restaurant service in adjacent parking lots and sidewalks this summer is a necessary first step, but unlikely to be sufficient to preserve all of them. Will the storefronts left behind by those that close just be boarded up, returning Williams/Vancouver and MLK to the way it looked prior to these developments? Will residents in those multistory apartment blocks relocate to lower density rental properties where they have fewer contacts with strangers and high-touch surfaces? Will folks who are allowed to continue working from home relocate, either to larger accommodations (2-bedroom units from 1 or studios) or leave the city altogether? Any of these trends would change the character of Eliot as we have known it.
Some other trends that are likely to persist include the reduced travel to work, for those who can, and for shopping as well as general avoidance of malls and theaters where strangers are thrown together (undermining the need to widen I-5). Will this be the end of the Lloyd Center? Its plan to become an “event center” seems especially poorly timed now, especially with the future of some of its tenants, (Lloyd Cinemas, Macy’s) unclear. And what of the Blazers? The Rose Quarter is already one of the smallest NBA venues. Can the Blazers tolerate having only half the seats available for sale? And, what about the large conventions needed to support the Convention Center and new hotel? Perhaps the transition may be more “business as usual,” than a new normal governed by social distancing and mask-wearing with few risks for a rebirth of the pandemic. Somehow, I doubt it.
While the corona virus has kept the majority of us homebound – other than for essential services – I’ve found that the streets have reflected this slowdown of activity. Less activity does equate to less trash but several adopt-a-blockers I’ve spoken to have been equally less motivated, myself included. Less people on the streets to collect garbage equates to certain areas not receiving “the love” a thorough trash pick-up will provide.
Almost as an answer to that reality, I noticed a lone soul picking up trash along MLK Jr. Blvd the other day on my way to the store. Pulling over to the curb and rolling down my window I asked the good Samaritan if he lived in Eliot, did he wish to join the Eliot Adopt-a-block program, and what was his name! Fortunately he answered “yes” to the first two questions, and I happily added Michael Schwern as the newest member of our team.
Michael lives on the corner of Rodney and Tillamook. He’s been living there for three years and lived for another number of years not far from his current home. He told me he was motivated to help pick up based on his affiliation with Burning Man and their ethos of “leave no trace”. He felt compelled to do so along MLK as a way to give back as he supports the peaceful protests and vigils that make their way through Eliot. I thought it a wonderful way of supporting our neighborhood and the surrounding streets. Michael would like to adopt Sacramento Ave between Rodney and MLK plus other areas of need during his daily walks. Thanks, Michael, and welcome.
In addition to Michael, I met another Eliot neighbor, Julie Cushing, who was picking up garbage along Rodney Ave. Julie also felt compelled to give back and make a difference. She said she hated seeing trash in the streets and wanted to do her part. When I asked Julie if she wanted to join the adopt-a-blockers as well, she was happy to join and becomes the latest member of our little group. Julie lives on the corner of Rodney and Thompson, and has been in the neighborhood for 20 years. She would like to help out on Tillamook from Rodney to MLK, parts of Russell, and Williams. Wow…thanks, Julie!
Both she and Michael will be entered into the drawing coming up in a few days for those in the Adopt-a-Block family. They and/or you could be the lucky recipient of the $100.00 gift certificate to your local New Season grocery store, who we randomly pick each quarter. My trusty pal, Adrian, will draw the name from a current list of 28 trash-eliminators, and I’ll notify the winner. The odds are pretty sweet.
I encourage anyone with a desire to lend a hand to email me at email@example.com to join. (If you prefer phone its 503-331-1511 which is a LAND line, so no texts). I’ll get you stocked up with gloves, garbage-picker-uppers, and bags for trash. The trash can be left for pickup by the city on the corner or address of your choice. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll get you set up with numbers, and everything you need to help keep Eliot lookin’ good.
Being co-Chairs of the Eliot Neighborhood Association (ENA) has not been what we expected this year. We started out the year wanting to work on vacant land, diesel pollution and wanting to see the city pushed on houselessness. This year has seen the City put up people in the Convention Center for months. It has seen a dramatic reduction in pollution due to the pandemic. And it has seen neighborhood meetings move to the internet. One last thing we wanted to do was to keep space for neighbors to local residents to get help with their issues.
Along the way, the Eliot Neighborhood has been dragged into multiple other issues that we didn’t foresee. Interstate 5 widening near the Broadway Interchange seems to be moving ahead despite a high volume of comments in opposition to the project. The ENA has been vocally opposed to the project from the beginning and we may be getting our toes wet again. We have been contacted regarding rezoning land in the name of providing more affordable housing. We also have been approached by neighbors about crime around Dawson Park and the surrounding blocks. This issue is attracting neighbors to reach out to each other and rally around a common cause.
We are still here, we are still supporting people in Eliot even though we are not always doing it in person. Thank you for continuing to be neighborly through these challenging times. It is not easy but we will get through this. Together
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll follow up with any questions or clarifications. Thank you~ Sue Stringer, Editor, Eliot News
The Eliot Neighborhood Association (ENA) stands in solidarity with the Black community and supports the recent protests denouncing police violence. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others – These tragedies now add to the staggering number of Black lives taken unjustly by a country which continues to devalue those lives. Their names and their stories matter. Their lives matter. Black lives matter.
In these times, as an institution that has worked with the City of Portland in maintaining systems of white supremacy, it is critical that we turn the lens onto ourselves and ask how we have been and how we are complicit, and what we will do to fix that. Knowing that a neighborhood association has an outsized voice in the zoning process in the City of Portland and that those decisions can help build or destroy wealth in our community, it is incredibly important that we take this task seriously. Because neighborhood associations and the public outreach processes that our representatives engage in are spaces that can exclude Black voices, these processes have prevented Black residents from receiving the same opportunities as their white counterparts.
As a result, we are committed to using our roles as leaders in the community not only to facilitate the necessary conversations but also to work towards community dialogues that are inherently anti-racist. The Eliot Neighborhood Association believes neighborhood associations can be for the greater good and can raise issues in ways that will be good for all residents.
Moving forward, the Eliot Neighborhood Association will continue to try to have Black representation on our board and our Land Use committee in addition to other committees in our neighborhood. We are committed to empowering those that are often left out of critical conversations. Additionally, we are always looking for new members and have open seats for those who would want to get engaged. We are continuously looking for articles for the Eliot News that amplify marginalized voices and we encourage more submissions that do so.
Neighborhood Associations are far from the most important conversation right now in a time when communities are grieving. However, as leaders of this institution, we have the responsibility to use our position to advocate for the Black community. We will donate $1000 to the Black Resilience Fund.
The Eliot Neighborhood Association Board of Directors
In January 2020, Grateful Heart Veterinary Hospital started providing North and Northeast Portland with the highest quality, compassionate, and cutting-edge veterinary care. Dr Katy Felton and her team opened a small animal practice at 3334 North Vancouver Ave. There is a rear entrance and ample parking at 107 N. Cook St, Suite B, right across from New Seasons and Mud Bay stores.
Dr. Felton’s focus is on comprehensive whole-life care of cats and dogs. With over 13 years in practice, including her role as Medical Director of a thriving Portland clinic, Dr. Felton practices caring, high-touch, and customized medical care.She loves surgery and dentistry, and is a certified canine rehabilitation practitioner, bringing her care of seniors, athletes and pets recovering from procedures to a new level. She is bringing Portland’s best certified team of vet care professionals with her to North Portland. The entire staff is Fear Free Certified, dedicated to making veterinary visits as low stress as possible for pets and their families.
Stop by the clinic in January, visit our website at www.gratefulheartvethospital.com, or call us at 503-813-2050 to meet our team, see our vision, and share in the best veterinary experience possible. We think anyone who loves their pets as much as we do will enjoy the gorgeous space, culture, and phenomenal care we’re bringing to North Portland and the Eliot neighborhood.