Consider Joining Local AARP Chapter 5624

By Richard Hunter

Northeast Portland residents may not know anything about the AARP local chapter 5624, and for those who know we exist, you might know much about us. 

We are the only Local Chapter of AARP in the State of Oregon made up of 158 African Americans, age ranging from 50 to 90 years old. Our membership is still growing.  We hope to double or triple our membership size by this time next year. 

Since the COVID19 shut down began in March this year, we have been unable to meet for our monthly luncheon sessions, so we created a newsletter as a way to stay in touch with our members and keep them informed.  We remain active through our executive board and small committee projects until we are able to all come together again.  Some of us are actively involved with our AARP State Office of Volunteers.  In the midst of a pandemic, nationwide protesting, fires, and bad air quality, we are a part of the most vulnerable in our community, but we remain healthy, encourage the wearing of masks, washing of hands, and social distancing.  We are resilient and our executive board is safely active.   

Keep us in your prayers and check out the newsletter here.

For more information contact Richard Hunter, Sr., Executive Board Member, 503-964-9137.

Incontinence Supplies for Low Income: Where and How To Get Products

By Harris Schacter

If you’re a part of a low income family that needs incontinence supplies, then there’s good news for you: You could get incontinence supplies at little to no cost.

There are many programs and organizations that provide incontinence supplies for low income individuals and families. The tricky part is finding them. We’ve put together a list of the best ones to make it a little bit easier for you to get the supplies you need. 

Medicaid Coverage of Incontinence Supplies for Low Income Individuals and Families

Here’s something awesome about Medicaid: most programs cover incontinence supplies for low income individuals and families. There are currently 45 states whose Medicaid programs offer some form of coverage.

Medicaid offers two major advantages for getting incontinence supplies for low income individuals and families:

  1. Reliability:
    Eligible Medicaid recipients can get a 30-day supply of incontinence products delivered to their door each month.
  2. Cost:
    In many cases, the cost of these deliveries is covered completely by the Medicaid plan.

Getting Supplies with Medicaid Benefits

To use Medicaid for incontinence supplies, you have to meet two basic requirements:

  1. You must be enrolled in a Medicaid program that provides coverage of incontinence supplies.
  2. You must visit a doctor and get a diagnosis for incontinence. Medicaid will only cover incontinence supplies if a doctor considers them medically necessary for your treatment.

You can learn more about getting supplies through Medicaid in our Medicaid Coverage of Incontinence Supplies Guide (https://www.hcd.com/incontinence/medicaid-incontinence-supplies/), including your state’s specific coverage options and requirements. You can also sign up for incontinence supply deliveries securely online at any time.  

Diaper Banks

Diaper banks are charitable organizations that provide diapers and incontinence supplies for low income individuals and families in their community. In most cases, these supplies are distributed by the organization for free.

Each organization has its own policies for what kind of products they provide and how they are given out. Some diaper banks only provide diapers for young children, while others may also provide products for adults. Many organizations only hand out supplies at designated times, and some require a request for supplies before pickup.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility requirements are also different for each diaper bank. In some cases, the diaper bank mayrequire evidence of low-income status in order to get supplies. This may include the following:

  • Enrollment in Medicaid
  • Food Stamps
  • Letter of Assistance from the State
  • Prescription showing a need of supplies

Before you visit a diaper bank, you should call to find out if they offer the type you need, and what their eligibility requirements are. Keep in mind that most diaper banks operate through donations, and may not always have a regular supply of incontinence products when you visit.

You can search for a diaper bank in your area at the National Diaper Bank Network’s online directory (https://nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org/home-covid19/). If you can’t find a bank in your area, try your local food banks, which sometimes also provide incontinence supplies.

Family Caregiver Grants

Another way for low income families and individuals to get incontinence supplies is through family caregiver grants. Family caregiver grants are designed exclusively for caregivers who need assistance in caring for aging family members. This includes getting incontinence supplies.

Family Caregiver Grant Eligibility

Eligibility for participation is outlined by each state’s Department of Health and Human Resources, and could include the following requirements:

  • Adult family members or other informal caregivers age 18 and older providing care to individuals 60 years of age and older.
  • Adult family members or other informal caregivers age 18 and older providing care to individuals of any age with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders
  • Older relatives (not parents) age 55 and older providing care to children under the age of 18; and
  • Older relatives, including parents, age 55 and older providing care to adults ages 18-59 with disabilities.

A good place to learn more about caregiver grant services is through the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (www.n4a.org). Here, you can search for participating aging agencies in your area and find resources for caregivers. You can also contact your local Department of Health and Human Resources to find out what grant options are available.

Other Resources

Incontinence supplies for low income individuals and families are not always easy to find, but they are out there. If none of the previous options are available, there still may be a solution for you. Here are some resources that may be able to help you find incontinence products in your area.  

Administration for Community Living (ACL)
The ACL is a government-funded organization dedicated to providing support for aging and disabled people. They provide a wide range of services that includes assistance grants, connecting people needed services, and support networking for aging and disabled populations.

2-1-1
2-1-1 is a service that helps connect people in need to services and organizations that can help them. Their website offers an online search, and you can also call to speak with their trained professionals who will help locate a service that potentially can help you get incontinence supplies.

The Simon Foundation for Continence
The Simon Foundation for Continence keeps a directory of diaper banks that supply adult incontinence products. They also provide educational resources and support about incontinence and how to manage it.

The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army partners with many diaper and food banks to help provide incontinence supplies to those in need.  In some areas, they also provide referral services that can help connect people who need incontinence supplies to the organizations that can provide them.

A-dec and Legacy Health Announce Joint-Effot to Fight COVID-19

By Jordan Bean Blossom and Kristin Whitney

Rachel Boggs, NTICU nurse at legacy Emanuel medical Center and Bryan Goodin, Manager of Employee health at Legacy. Photo courtesy Legacy Health

A-dec and Legacy Health today announced an agreement for A-dec to manufacture and provide much needed supply of personal protection equipment (PPE) for Legacy hospitals and health care facilities.

“For more than 55 years, A-dec has lived by the principle of prioritizing concern for people above all else.” said Scott Parrish, A-dec President and CEO. “As a family-owned, Newberg manufacturer, A-dec is proud to partner with Legacy Health to bring much-needed PPE to Oregon’s health care workers. This is what we should be doing during this unprecedented time: working together to solve problems and take care of communities.”

A-dec has been working to develop PPE that are in critical demand by health care workers who continue to prepare to meet demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Legacy has a significant need for headband face shields and plastic shield coverings for their Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) helmets worn during procedures that provide protection against airborne illnesses.

The safety and well-being of our patients, their families and our staff is Legacy’s top priority. We continue, along with other area hospitals, to pursue aggressive measures to secure PPE and are increasing our PPE stores, including partnering with local companies such as A-dec to replenish critically needed supplies,” said Lewis Low, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer for Legacy Health. “We are incredibly fortunate to have exceptional local manufacturers, like A-dec, aggressively pivoting business operations and innovating to help us support the health needs of our community during this pandemic.”

Face shields made by A-dec for Legacy health. Photo courtesy A-dec.

A-dec is a family-owned, privately held dental equipment manufacturing company with headquarters in Newberg, Oregon. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company launched programs and infection control resources to support healthcare professionals practicing dentistry during the crisis.  The collaboration started when a Legacy Health nurse and an A-dec employee began discussing hospitals’ needs for PPE and A-dec’s manufacturing expertise. Following that conversation, A-dec employees worked around the clock over a weekend to develop prototypes of needed supplies. Over the course of just over a week, the company has converted several of their manufacturing areas to produce PPE for other health and emergency responder systems in the local area.

In their ongoing response to the COVID-19 health crisis, Legacy Health has a critical need for other personal protective equipment, as well as monetary contributions for a COVID-19 Response Fund. For information on how you can help, visit www.legacyhealthgiving.org/covid-19

A-dec reports considerable challenges with obtaining the quantities of raw materials needed to manufacture these products. The company is actively looking for partners in both the public and private sector to support their efforts during this global emergency.

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.

About A-dec, Inc.
A-dec is one of the largest privately-owned dental equipment manufacturers in the United States. We are recognized as a global leader in the dental space and are committed to our mission of providing a quality environment where people work together for the betterment of dentistry worldwide. A-dec has over 1,300 employees globally, with manufacturing facilities in Newberg, Oregon, Fenton, Missouri, and HangZhou, China. A-dec markets its manufactured dental products, including dental chairs, delivery systems, dental lights, dental furniture, and mechanical room air compressors, vacuums, and water control valves. For more information, visit www.a-dec.com.

Consider Donating Money to Knott Street Boxing Club

By Ruben Bansie

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.

Stanley and the kids at Knott Street Boxing

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. 

Photos courtesy Knott Street Boxing Facebook page

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. 

The easiest way to donate is through the facebook page. Go to: www.facebook.com/knottstboxingclub and click on the “Donate” tab. 

Any questions, email Knott Street directly at knottstboxing@yahoo.com

 

Amazing Start to the Black Resilience Fund

By Cameron Whitten

The Black Resilience Fund (BRF) has raised $500,000 and counting from over 6,500 donors in its first two weeks.

Cameron Whitten, former Q Center Executive Director and candidate for Metro Council District 5, started the fund on Cash App and Venmo on the morning of May 31, with the goal of providing an opportunity for allies to support the healing and resilience of Black people in the Portland community.

The next day, Whitten formally launched the Black Resilience Fund on GoFundMe and it raised more than $55,000 in a single day. The following day, community organizer and lifetime Portlander Salomé Chimuku joined the team as a Co-Founder of the emerging movement.

“Our country is grappling with a storm of emotions right now. Our systems are so broken. How do we even begin fixing them? To me, the answer is clear. We start by taking care of our neighbors,” says Whitten. “We’ve gotten responses from people we’ve helped who said things like, ‘holding that check in my hand is when I finally felt I could come up for air’.” To be living during the era of ‘I Can’t Breathe,’ and to hear that coming from someone we’ve directly helped–– I find that to be incredibly powerful.

This morning, Whitten posted to Facebook a list of successes the BRF has accomplished in two weeks’ time, including over 600 volunteers signed up and over 200 recipients interviewed and funded.

To date, over $108,000 has already been distributed to pay for immediate support, including warm meals, groceries, life emergencies, and unpaid bills. A breakdown of funds are posted on the GoFundMe and are updated on a daily basis.

“Receiving this money from this fund makes it so I don’t have to choose between paying my rent or attending my oldest son’s funeral service,” says BRF recipient Elontene. “I was the first person to hold him, and thanks to the BRF I can be the last person to hold him.”

The Black Resilience Fund has been active for two weeks, and Co-Founders Whitten and Chimuku have no intention of slowing down their efforts. Their current goal is to raise one million dollars in order to ensure that as many of the 3,400 Black Portlanders who have applied receive real and tangible support.

“We need healing. We need justice. And that requires action,” says Whitten.

NOTE: Updated funds raised to date are over $1.15 million and counting.

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.”

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.  

To Our Community from the Eliot Neighborhood Association Board

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.

Sincerely,

The Eliot Neighborhood Association Board of Directors