Letter from the Neighborhood Association Co-Chairs

By Allan Rudwick and Jimmy Wilson

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

Letter from LUTC Chair

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

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

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

Please take care of each other and stay safe.

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

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

Kate Johnson, Grocery Worker

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leah Bandstra, High School Teacher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Qian Liya Leng, Physician

By Monique Gaskins

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

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

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

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

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

Terra Dudley, RN

By Sue Stringer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Douglas Matthews, Police Officer

By Sue Stringer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Origin of Gentrification in Eliot

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

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

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

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

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

Testing for COVID in the Neighborhood

By Sam Wilson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Albina Library Moves Back to Eliot Neighborhood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cartside: New food cart pod in Eliot on N Williams

By Monique Gaskins

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

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

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

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

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

Care to share?

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

Change Now

By Jimmy Wilson

I commend Chief Jami Resch who knew deep down in her heart and soul that in these times, she wasn’t the right fit for the job. That took courage and will power coming from a white person in a high office to choose a black man who deserved it. This needs to happen all over the country from the top legislation, congress, and the senate. This is what the black community needs to see now. For example, legislation needs to work for the interest of the people and not the special interest of the lobbyist.  

We as the people of color need change to supersede the Portland Police Bureau union contract and local policies by using tools like Civil Rights and Civil Liberties instead of using the word willful by replacing it with words like standards and reckless.  

We also need the Police to wear body cameras at all times.  Black people need infrastructures such as education, administration, reparation, jobs, justice, and inclusions to eliminate racial disparities. The two hundred forty-six million dollars that is allocated for the Portland Police Bureau for the year 2020 – 2021 proposed budget should be decided by including black people seated around the table.  

Do you burn wood in Multnomah County? Survey responses needed by 7/13/20

Multnomah County Office of Sustainability has asked the Eliot Neighborhood Association to share this message:

Multnomah County’s Office of Sustainability has received a DEQ grant to implement a community campaign about health and wood smoke. The goal of the campaign is to promote clean air and reduce wood smoke in the county. 

They are in the early stages of brainstorming and would appreciate feedback about wood burning. 

If you burn wood, this 10 minute survey will help inform our 2020-2021 Wood Smoke Campaign. Please fill out by midnight Monday, July 13th for a chance to win one of four $25 Fred Meyer gift cards. 

Please reach out to sustainability@multco.us with any questions or concerns. Thank you!

Randall Children’s Hospital nationally recognized for excellence in surgery

By Kristin Whitney

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) has verified Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel as a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center, making it one of two children’s surgical centers in Oregon to earn this prestigious validation.  

The Level 1 surgical verification was awarded because of Randall Children’s high-quality pediatric-specific surgical services, multidisciplinary team of world-class pediatric specialists and holistic approach to children’s surgery. Previously, Randall Children’s was the first hospital in Oregon and the first children’s hospital in the Pacific Northwest to receive the Level 1 pediatric trauma center verification by American College of Surgeons in 2017. 

“From the beginning, Randall Children’s Hospital was built with the needs of children and families in mind,” said Bronwyn Houston, president of Randall Children’s Hospital. “Randall Children’s treats over 100,000 children a year, and this achievement in pediatric surgery highlights the hospital’s expertise in providing the highest level of comprehensive care possible for every child.”

Randall Children’s is one of 21 surgical centers in the nation to achieve this elite verification from the American College of Surgeons. The process is rigorous, requiring surgical centers to meet essential criteria for staffing, training, and facility infrastructure and protocols for children’s care.

“Kids have unique physical and emotional needs,” said Cindy Gingalewski, M.D., medical director of children’s surgical services. “If your child requires surgery, you want to know that at every step of the way they are being treated by leading pediatric specialists who are committed to providing the highest quality care tailored for children.”

Some requirements and attributes of an ACS-CSV-verified pediatric surgical program include:

  • Pediatric-trained specialists including surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, radiologists and intensivists who are available to care for children 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Children’s specialty surgeons in pediatric orthopedic surgery, pediatric neurosurgery, congenital heart surgery, pediatric plastic surgery, pediatric ophthalmology, pediatric otolaryngology and pediatric urology are required in Level 1 children’s surgical centers.  
  • Dedicated resources to take care of the most complex pediatric conditions.
  • Providing leadership in education to families, community pediatricians, and emergency personnel.
  • Participation in a national data registry that yields semiannual reports of quality for processes and outcomes and identifies opportunities for continuous quality improvements.
  • A robust research program that brings evidence-based science into clinical practice at the bedside.

Randall Children’s participates in ongoing performance improvement efforts to ensure each patient experiences the best possible surgical outcome from the emergency department to the inpatient rehabilitation program. Throughout the Pacific Northwest, Randall Children’s is known for its excellent communication with referring pediatricians and families.

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient by setting high standards for surgical education and practice. Longstanding achievements have placed the ACS in the forefront of American surgery and have made it an important advocate for all surgical patients.

About Legacy Health

Legacy Health is a locally owned, nonprofit health system driven by our mission to improve the health of those around us. We offer a unique blend of health services – from wellness and urgent care to dedicated children’s care and advanced medical centers – to care for patients of all ages when and where they need us across the Portland/Vancouver metro area and mid-Willamette Valley. With an eye toward a healthier community, our partnerships tackle vital issues such as housing and mental health. Legacy strives to help everyone live healthier and better lives, with the vision of being essential to the health of the region. For more information, visit www.legacyhealth.org.

Are you ready for the Big One? Earthquake Tech to the rescue!

Steve Gemmell, the owner of Earthquake Tech, unexpectedly learned about seismic retrofitting 20 years ago. After getting out of college and living life as a ski bum in Colorado for a year, he was painting and refurbishing houses and ended up getting his contractor’s license. He bought his first fixer home in Portland in 1995 which was happened to be a real fixer-upper. Steve’s dad was familiar with the Cascadia Subduction Zone and suggested he get earthquake insurance. State Farm Insurance issued the policy with no questions asked. 

Fast forward to 1999 when Steve went to buy his second home and again approached State Farm to write the earthquake policy. They asked if the house was bolted down to the foundation.  Not familiar with the process, he talked to an engineer who explained to him how to make the right connections for the house. He bolted that house down to its foundation and was able qualify for the insurance policy.  An idea for a business was born… So why specialize in the retrofitting business? Steve says, “Seismic retrofitting requires way less trips to the hardware store compared to other construction/remodeling projects. I know exactly what I need and have all supplies at the ready which makes for a very efficient job.”

Seeing the importance of spreading the word for seismic reinforcement, Steve marketed his business to State Farm and the agents, in turn, would refer their insurance customers to Steve. Twenty years later, Earthquake Tech still markets to all insurance companies, home inspectors, real estate agents, and business associations, as well as offering continuing education to all those business segments and their agents.

“Earthquake Tech specializes in residential and commercial seismic retrofitting. We also run a group out of our headquarters called the Portland Resiliency Plan, a community effort bringing the message of preparedness to all walks of life and age groups in the city of Portland,” says Steve. Besides seismic retrofitting, Earthquake Tech offers many other services including full commercial and residential seismic upgrades, installation of basement staircases, egress windows and doors, staircase doors, and emergency gas shut off valves.

Earthquake Tech has recently purchased the building at 2310 N Kerby Ave just off N Russell Street and will host events here soon. Future events planned are Earthquake Tech sponsored talks by Steven Eberlein from Tipping Point Resilience on the Cascadia Subduction and earthquake preparedness. The Portland Resiliency Plan will also offer a program for business owners about creating resiliency plans/emergency plans after an earthquake, ice storm, etc.

 Many homeowners are seeing the value of retrofitting their homes and more businesses are also seeing the benefit because of the liability if an earthquake would cause damage and injury in an unreinforced building. So if you are concerned about the safety and resiliency of your home or building, want to talk about preparing your home or business for safety, or have questions about what steps to take, Earthquake Tech is the company to contact with their 20 years of experience. Check out their website for helpful information and tips, email for more information, or give them a call – the safety of your future may depend on it.

Earthquake Tech

2310 N Kerby Ave

503-282-4424 

Earthquaketech.com

contact@earthquaketech.com

Eliot Neighborhood Welcomes New Veterinary Practice

By Alex Simpson

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.

Help Your Community: Work for the U.S. Census Bureau!

By Scott P Moshier, Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau is currently hiring for the 2020 Census. The positions are temporary and flexible with varying pay ranges. For Census Takers in Multnomah and Clackamas counties, the pay starts at $18.00/hour.

By working for the Census Bureau, our community has a special opportunity to help make the 2020 Census an accurate and complete count. There are so many reasons our nation needs to be counted completely and accurately. The count happens every 10 years with the decennial census, which influences how more than $675 billion from more than 100 federal programs are distributed to states and localities each year. Here’s some of what the census numbers effect:

  • Medicaid.
  • School lunch programs.
  • Community development grants.
  • Road and school construction.
  • Medical services.
  • Business locations.

If you’re interested in a job, please visit the Census Bureau job site to apply. You’ll also be able to see descriptions and frequently asked questions at 2020census.gov/jobs.

We’re also encouraging everyone to self-respond to the 2020 Census Questionnaire at 2020census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020, or by mailing in the paper questionnaire they received in the mail.

Condensed version in Spanish:

¡Usted puede ayudar a su comunidad! Solicite un empleo temporal con el Censo del 2020. Los resultados del Censo ayudan a determinar el número de representantes de cada estado en el Congreso, así como la manera en la que se usan fondos para escuelas, hospitales y carret-eras. Complete una solicitud de empleo por Internet en 2020census.gov/jobs.