The Black Parent Initiative Appoints New Executive Director

By Ann Beckett

The board of directors of Black Parent Initiative is pleased to announce they have selected Bahia Overton to lead and champion its community-driven programs and to steer its strategic goals and objectives into the future. Bahia Overton holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Social Work. She is completing her Ph.D. in Social Work Research, focusing on the experiences of African American female adolescents in foster care.

Ms. Overton most recently served as the Director of Equity and Partnerships at the Chalkboard Project. She is also the Executive Consultant for Joy DeGruy Publications. She assists Dr. DeGruy in researching historical trauma and developing new models and methods for culturally responsive service delivery. Ms. Overton has also assisted with training and development for government agencies in creating and sustaining equitable policies and practices.

With over 14 years of practical experience as a professional in the field of social work, she has served as Child and Family Therapist, Curriculum Developer and Culturally-Specific Treatment Specialist in several states, with various community-based organizations and government entities.

Ms. Overton serves on the following Boards and Councils:
• College Possible
• Oregon Student Voice
• Organic Oneness
• Oregon Educator Equity Advisory Group

Ms. Overton is also an active member of the Bahài’ Faith which espouses the oneness of the human family.

As always, the staff and board of directors at BPI are grateful for our community’s support as we continue to deliver high-quality programs and services to families of Black and multi-racial children to break generational cycles, achieving financial, educational, health and spiritual success and well-being.

For more information or to donate contact ann.beckett@thebpi.org.

Microcosm Supports Kickstarter’s Union

Microcosm, a publisher and retailer located on North Williams, drew national attention last fall for their principled stance on working with companies with anti-union practices. Microcosm routinely uses Kickstarter’s crowdfunding platform to offer pre-orders on upcoming titles. Joe Biel, the founder of Microcosm, explained that the publisher “…uses Kickstarter to promote our books to new audiences who may never walk into a bookstore and discover them. Essentially, it widens the reach and hits a different readership that doesn’t compete with our regular retailers. We have used other platforms, but Kickstarter truly has the best politics, metrics, and success rate.” During a crowdfunding campaign last summer, Kickstarter’s leadership announced that they would not voluntarily recognize a union organized by their employees. In September, when Microcosm was running another crowdfunding campaign, Kickstarter’s leadership fired two employees who had been organizing the internal unionization effort.

For Biel, supporting unionization efforts is an obvious step, based on his own experiences: “My grandparents were immigrants who came to the U.S. in the 1890s and were able to establish what we saw as middle-class lifestyles as a result of unions. Obviously, economics are different today and even more in favor of the wealthy with a rapidly disappearing middle class.”

When Microcosm discovered that Kickstarter’s employees had asked for union recognition, their first step was to check with the union:
“We checked in with union organizers who told us to carry on and that they would let us know when different actions would be helpful.” Those actions included sharing an open letter to Kickstarter on Microcosm’s website and advocating for Kickstarter’s employees on other platforms.

Running a crowdfunding campaign on a platform undergoing such turmoil is not ideal. Perhaps more difficult, though, is deciding whether a refusal to recognize a union merits public response. Biel notes, “It’s hard to trust a company that doesn’t respect its own values and precedent. The vast majority of employees that we work with there are phenomenally smart and committed so it seems that there is a growing rift between management and the company itself.” Kickstarter’s CEO, Aziz Hasan, argued that unionization would inherently damage Kickstarter as a company, but that position is difficult to justify.

Objectively, unionized organizations tend to do better, both increasing earning capacity and improving employees’ lives: Unionized workers can be up to twice as
productive as their non-unionized workers, which should please most Microcosm Supports Kickstarter’s Union employers. Marginalized employees also see smaller wage gaps with unionized employers. Objectively, communities benefit when our local employers work with unions. Employees (who may both live and work in a given community) are better equipped to participate in the community, from both social and financial perspectives.

The process of organizing a new union, however, can be difficult. Many of the strikes we’ve seen recently, especially here in Portland, are the result of employers
refusing to recognize new unions.

Given that unions are good for the communities they serve, what are our responsibilities here in Eliot when we see efforts to unionize companies here in the neighborhood?

First, we have a responsibility to respect requests made by the union: just as Microcosm respected requests by Kickstarter United to continue using the crowdfunding
platform as discussions with management continued, we should follow the lead of the people actually doing the organizing. Sometimes, that may mean respecting a strike
and changing your spending habits to avoid an organization that won’t work with its own employees. Sometimes, that may mean continuing to work with the company in
question while reminding them you that you support their union. Support can look different depending on the organizations involved.

Second, we have an obligation to stay informed about organizing efforts both here and elsewhere. Portland saw numerous union actions in 2019, only a few of which were covered by most of Portland’s media. Fred Meyer’s union went on strike, as did Burgerville. Employees at companies like Little Big Burger and Grand Central Bakery organized and asked for official recognition. Nationwide strikes, like that of Instacart workers in November, also impacted Portlanders. Staying informed can be tough but a few local organizations offer good reporting on labor news: KBOO and NW Labor Press. Microcosm also has several publications that are relevant reading: How to Boycott shares the history of American unions, while Labor Law for the Rank and Filer highlights the rights each employee has.

This is an issue that will continue to impact the Eliot community throughout 2020. There’s at least one company serving the neighborhood whose employees have asked to form a union: New Seasons. While New Seasons’ website states the company is not antiunion, it has opposed internal efforts to unionize. In October, New Seasons Workers United shared that the National Labor Relations Board had ruled that New Seasons’ managers were required to post reminders that unionizing is legal and that employees would not face repercussions for joining a union.

Legacy Health Announces New President for Columbia Region

By Vicki Guinn

Legacy Health today announced Gretchen Nichols BSN, MBA, as president for the Columbia Region. Her responsibilities will include leadership of Legacy Emanuel and Legacy Mount Hood medical centers. Legacy’s new regional president role combines leadership of two hospitals to better focus on meeting the health needs of the community and providing patients with an integrated health care experience across its array of services in the region.

“Gretchen brings a strong track record of developing new services and programs and a deep experience in East County to the regional president role,” said Trent Green, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Legacy Health. “Her leadership will help Legacy Emanuel and Legacy Mount Hood continue to grow and innovate while providing outstanding patient care.”

“Legacy Emanuel and Legacy Mount Hood both play critical roles in meeting the health needs of the region,” said Nichols. “I look forward to collaborating with the physicians and staff at both hospitals on how we work together to best care for our patients and this growing community.”

A registered nurse, Nichols came to Legacy in 2007 as Legacy Mount Hood’s chief nursing officer. She served as president of Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center from 2009 to 2019. Most recently, Nichols served as interim president of Unity Center for Behavioral Health. During her tenure at Legacy Mount Hood, Nichols oversaw a significant expansion of services, including the addition of advanced cardiac care, a fast-growing robotic surgery practice, and the launch of a regional gastroenterology and endoscopy center, and led the hospital in achieving high marks in quality and service.

Portland’s First Motorcycle Shop and Cocktail Bar: Legion Motorcycle Co.

There’s a new place to hang out in Eliot. Whether or not you are into motorcycles, Legion Motorcycle Company has something for everyone. Need to repair your motorcycle? Legion can help with that. Want a place to hang out, drink a beer or grab a snack with your friends? Legion can help with that. Want to take a class or hold an event? Legion can help with that. Or maybe you need a haircut? Legion can help with that… well, actually the barber that is located in Legion Motorcycle Company’s shop can help with that.

Gabriel Court and Alex Glover opened Legion Motorcycle Company last August. The two, who met while working with homeless veterans, wanted to open a shop that supported the motorcycle community but with less of a cliquey and exclusive feel and making it comfortable and accessible to anyone interested in cycling. After settling on their current location at 2145 NE MLK Jr Blvd across from Billy Ray’s Tavern and next to Jayne dispensary, the two envisioned a DIY motorcycle repair shop, but it has morphed into a full service motorcycle repair shop/bar/barber shop complete with events, classes and a relaxed space to hang out. This is not a motorcycle club but is open to the public and is a place for anyone to come check out, hang out, and enjoy.

Gabriel and Alex were both combat veterans. Alex was a master of arms in the Navy and Gabriel was an airborne medic in the Army. After their military service, both ended up working with homeless veterans in Portland which is how their paths crossed. Alex worked for Transition Projects and was the director of housing. Gabriel worked for Multnomah County as an Emergency Operations Manager. They worked together and ended up opening several homeless shelters across the city. Spending time together and becoming friends they discovered that they both liked motorcycles and were getting burned out on social work. Thus, when they talked about their futures, combining what they loved about motorcycles and their skills with motorcycle repair seemed to lead to creating a business that is unique in Portland especially with all the additional services that Legion Motorcycle Company offers. The name is a nod to their military service which they credit with their meeting each other and fulfilling their future adventures.

The business started as a DIY motorcycle shop where one could work on their bike using Legion’s tools and getting advice or assistance they needed with repairs. However, the DIY only format was not sustainable so Legion has developed into a full service shop while still offering a small segment of their business devoted to do it yourself repairs as well as membership opportunities. Legion purchased Portland Moto Collective and also some machining equipment for metal fabrication from the onsite scooter rental that recently went out of business. Add a barber and a bar and you have a unique new business in Eliot. The barber, Fabian Redondo, already had his station in this location with a prior barbershop onsite. Fabian has 11 years of experience and is available to make you look sharp Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm.

The addition of the bar makes the business even more sustainable and of course, a more entertaining place to hang out. What started as a few cans of beer and a tip jar has jumped to a whole new level with fellow veteran Lucas Plant, the bartender and  , pouring beer from Labrewatory, serving up vegetarian/vegan snacks, and mixing up reasonably priced, creative, low ABV wine and beer cocktails such as the Misunderstood Genius (red wine and Coca Cola) and Paradise City (champagne with elder flower and bitters).

Besides motorcycle repair and libations, Alex and Gabriel want to focus on education and events. They teach classes on motorcycle maintenance and electrical work, sell parts and jackets and are starting to offer themed parties. On Valentine’s Day they projected a movie on the wall, served heart shaped pizza and had a tattoo artist giving Valentine themed tattoos. Another event was a makers market with crafts for sale by local crafters and artists.

The next event is a restaurant pop up on March 15. The event is called Atomic Pickles and they will be serving spicy food items.

Legion currently hosts a women’s motorcycle group and offer a women specific motorcycle maintenance class. They also hope to bring in veterans who are looking for a different career path such as working in a bar or working on bikes.

It is important to Alex and Gabriel to support local nonprofits. They particularly focus on homeless services for homeless veterans and will soon offer a motorcycle tour of all the affordable housing facilities in the city. Also, they will be offering classes like earthquake preparedness, first aid, and CPR.

The Legion bar space can be rented for events. For pricing and availability email to luckyyou@legionmoto.co or call 503-954-1546.

Starting any new business can be both frustratingly challenging and pleasantly surprising. Alex and Gabriel say that the permitting process for food service was particularly challenging because there is not one specific place that the requirements can be found. However, the biggest surprise was how welcoming the neighborhood has been and how active the neighborhood is.  Many residents have come by and said how glad they are that Legion is here and what great neighbors they have been so far. Keeping the noise down at night and respecting the neighbors is important to the motorcycle company owners.

So when looking for a place to spend an afternoon or evening, waiting for a table at a nearby restaurant, or want to explore the world of motorcycle maintenance, stop by Legion Motorcycle Company and join your neighbors in welcoming Alex and Gabriel to Eliot. I know I’m glad they chose our neighborhood to make their dream a reality.

Legion Motorcycle Co.
2145 NE MLK Jr Blvd
Wednesday – Sunday 10 am-8 pm
503-954-1546
http://www.legionmoto.co

 Fabian Redondo
503-206-9215
@Barber_Fabian
Tuesday – Saturday 10 am-6 pm

What You Need to Know About Diesel Particulates and Air Filters

Diesel particulates are a problem in the Eliot neighborhood. There are several organizations, both inside and outside of the neighborhood working to change legislation and business practices, including the Eliot Neighborhood Association’s eACT group and Portland Clean Air. While activists are working to limit pollution in the future, we need to reduce the impact of diesel particulates we currently face to the greatest extent possible. Because Portland Public Schools commissioned research into the air quality at Harriet Tubman, we have data on what sort of changes can make a difference in the air we breathe here in Eliot, especially indoors. Harriet Tubman Middle School relies on an $18 million air filtration system. Most Eliot neighbors aren’t in a position to spend millions of dollars on air filtration systems, but there are air filtering options available at a variety of price points.

Adding an additional filter or two to your home can make sense, but there are several factors to consider. Not all air filtration systems are capable of catching diesel particulates. Air filters are graded the MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) scale, which runs from 1 to 20. MERV ratings are based on the size of the particles that can pass through the filter, with a filter with a rating of 1 stopping relatively large particles like pollen or spray paint dust and a filter with a rating of 20 stopping viruses and smoke particles. Filters rated MERV 16 or higher are typically needed to stop diesel particulates. MERV-rated filters may also be HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters. HEPA filters must pass a test on their ability to stop particles the size of bacteria and paint pigments, corresponding roughly to a MERV rating of 16. That’s also about the size of the diesel particulates we’re trying to stop.

If you have an existing HVAC or furnace system with a built-in filter, make sure you replace filters regularly, as well as clean any prefilter system. They’ll help improve air quality, although they may not be entirely effective on diesel particulates. Many residential systems aren’t equipped to use filters with a MERV above 10, though some homeowners choose to use filters with higher MERV ratings with minimal issues.

Consider adding a portable air filter to your space. The most effective air filters, like the Coway AP1512HH Mighty and the Austin Air HealthMate HM400, range from $125 to $600. There are options at every price point, however: you can even build your own air filter with a box fan and two replacement filters. Popular Mechanics provides a tutorial at https://bit.ly/2Ldtmt1.

Limiting time spent outdoors can be helpful, especially for folks closer to the interstate. For those with health concerns, using a respirator mask (look for an N95 or a P2 rating) will limit exposure to diesel particulates while outside. Increasing the greenery within Eliot is one of the most effective options we have. In the PSU study on Harriet Tubman’s air quality, researchers recommended increasing vegetation around the school by 50 percent. (The full report is available as a PDF at https://bit.ly/2Y6gBG8.) A similar increase throughout the neighborhood could help reduce diesel particulates somewhat.

Plants can help mitigate pollution in the air, without the replacement costs that go along with filters. Trees are particularly helpful — and organizations like Friends of Trees make the process of planting trees simple. Certain plants are especially effective at filtering air indoors: during a NASA study on which plants filtered air most effectively, these plants removed the most particulates from the air.

English ivy (Hedera helix)
Green Spider plant (Chlorophytum elatum)
Peace lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’)
Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestum)
Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
Variegated snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
Heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron cordatum)
Selloum philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum)
Elephant ear philodendron (Philodendron domesticum)
Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
Cornstalk dracaena (Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’)
Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
Barberton daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
Florist’s chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
Aloe vera (Aloe vera)
Janet Craig (Dracaena deremensis “Janet Craig”)
Warneckei (Dracaena deremensis “Warneckei”)
Banana (Musa oriana)

Consider adding a few of these plants to your home — NASA suggests adding one plant per 100 square feet.

We may not be able to stop diesel particulates overnight, but we can lessen the impact they have on our community.

Congratulations! Vera Warren, Attorney at Law

By Shireen Hasan

In our last issue of the Eliot News, we featured an article about Vera Warren, a woman of color and aspiring, student attorney.

Vera has passed the bar exam and it is now official, she is an Attorney at Law and is well on her way to continue doing great things for justice in our society.

The community wishes Vera much success!

Portland Police Bureau Stopping Crime in its Tracks

By Shireen Hasan

In an effort to strengthen more positive community relations, Portland Police are stepping up their game for the security of package shipments via online shopping venues. Officer Schmerber of the Portland Police Bureau reports that during the holiday season there are higher rates of thefts. Portland Police are working with the United States Postal Services and Amazon to help mitigate the “Porch Pirate” thefts that occur more often during the holiday season, but also during the rest of the year as well. Shopping Centers are no exception to the higher risks of theft, and Portland Police are working with stores on the prevention of thefts there, as well.

The Portland Police Bureau is also working on camp abatement while offering services and resources to the homeless communities.

Letter from the Editor

Welcome to a new decade!

Have you gotten your New Year’s resolutions set for 2020? Hopefully, the first year of the decade will be filled with interesting activities and events.

There are a lot of good ideas in this issue if you still haven’t honed in on your goals for this year. From getting healthy in a new exercise class, making new friends, and trying some new restaurants or taking a class, we have it all in the Eliot neighborhood.

Still lacking ideas? Stop by a neighborhood association meeting and listen to what we have in store this year. We are in the midst of goal planning for the year so if you have any events you’d like to suggest or want to volunteer for one of our committees or to help out with an event we’d love to talk to you.

Also we are always looking for additional reporters to write articles for our newspaper as well as businesses who want to advertise in a super local platform.

And if it’s history you’re looking for, in honor of Martin Luther King, Junior’s birthday we have a couple of article and a photo montage of then and now of our bustling street, MLK Jr. Boulevard.

So buckle up and get ready for an exciting year. I know, I am looking forward starting a new decade and all it will bring.

Letter from the Editor

Wow, there’s so much to report on for this issue we barely had room! I have to be brief, but a couple things of note. First, air quality in Eliot is a serious issue and a common theme in a lot of our articles. Check out the causes, the ways to help prevent pollution and how you can help.

Also, don’t forget our board elections are coming up this month, October 21, at our general assembly meeting . Our neighborhood grew by almost 400 addresses in the last year to a total of 3382 business and residences so welcome to Eliot and join us because we’d love to have some new faces, ideas, and people passionate to keep Eliot a great place to live.

Lastly, we spotlight some special people, businesses and events so be sure to read this fall issue cover to cover.

Adopt-A-Block Update: More, Please

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

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

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

By Jody Guth

Taxed to Death? Part 1 of 2

By Mike Warwick

Introduction

It’s winter, a time for holiday cards and, less welcome, property tax bills. This time next year you may look back fondly at your tax bill as the Governor, Speaker of the House, and legislators from Beaverton and Hood River have all indicated they want to revisit our property tax system. Their public justification is that “gentrification” has resulted in “those homeowners” not “paying their fair share.” Of course, “gentrification” is a code word for homeowners in inner N/NE Portland; namely, us. To see how this might affect you and your neighbors, look at the difference between the “assessed value” and “market value” of your home. “Reform” will likely reset assessed value to market value so the difference (currently about 4 times for an older Eliot home), is how much taxes could increase; 400%!

Continue reading Taxed to Death? Part 1 of 2

PPS Clears the Air at Tubman

Paul Bubl standing in front of classroom window
Paul Bubl teaches science at Harriet Tubman Middle School in Portland. His room has a view of the Fremont Bridge and Forest Park – and Interstate 5, if you look down.

As Portland school officials toured Harriet Tubman Middle School, they marveled at the new science labs and dance studio. Upstairs, with a great view west of the Fremont Bridge and Forest Park, science teacher Paul Bubl was getting ready for students.

Continue reading PPS Clears the Air at Tubman

Eliot Sewer and Stormwater Project Update

Waterline Relocation Work Schedule Update

The Water Bureau, in coordination with Environmental Services, has completed connecting recently relocated water lines in the project area. Additional work by the Water Bureau may occur in the project area if needed.  The Water Bureau will notify residents and business of any temporary disruption to water service.

Continue reading Eliot Sewer and Stormwater Project Update