What progress has really been made, toward improving livability here in outer East Portland, since the ‘Action Plan’ was hatched in December, 2007? Read on, to find out …
The Portland City Council meets at Midland Library to vote to approve the “East Portland Action Plan” in February, 2009. East Portland News archive photo
Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As outer East Portland has struggled to accommodate a population boom, crowded schools, and few improvements, many area residents have expressed the view that the area has long been ignored.
Back in December of 2007, Mayor Tom Potter, State Representative Jeff Merkley, and Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler allconvened a committee comprised of neighborhood, businesses, government services, and faith representatives, to look for short-term opportunities to improve livability – as well as long-term strategies to address some of the challenges facing East Portland.
The result was the “East Portland Action Plan” (EPAP).
East Portland News has followed this story from the very beginning.
- To read how the East Portland Action Plan got started, CLICK HERE.
- To see how the Action Plan’s development progressed, at a mid-term open house, held in April, 2008, CLICK HERE.
- To read about the committee’s July, 2008, wrap-up meeting: CLICK HERE.
- And, to learn about the Portland City Council’s vote to approve the plan, held at a special meeting at Midland Library in February, 2009: CLICK HERE.
Flanked by committee members Gloria Wiggins with Catholic Charities El Programa Hispano and Tom Lewis, president of the Centennial Community Association, East Portland Action Plans’ Advocate, Lore Wintergreen, convenes another meeting.
‘Advocate’ champions the Plan’s progress
We’re in the process of making sure that the action items in East Portland Action Plans that were identified when it was created, are implemented,” said EPAP Advocate, Lore Wintergreen.
“EPAP is dedicated to improved livability and workability, recognition of common values, and development of partnerships and relationships with respect for a broad variety of diverse communities,” Wintergreen explained about the group’s work.
“And, EPAP stresses fair-share geographic accountability for resources allocated and spent throughout the City. East Portland must have its fair share of dollars and resources in order to reach its potential as a great place for people to thrive.”
At an EPAP general meeting, held in the David Douglas School District boardroom, volunteer members convene.
Action Plan moved ahead by volunteers’ efforts
“We have a wonderful group of volunteers continuing to work on the issues that were outlined in the Plan,” Wintergreen continued, “The committee members have set up subcommittees to establish ways that they can actively advocate for their projects.”
These subcommittees, Wintergreen told us, meet monthly as Community Action Groups. “New committees are encouraged, throughout this process.”
Subcommittees are advocating for concerns as widely varied as sidewalks, bike trails, economic and workforce development, and communication and marketing. “These subcommittees develop working structures, decision- making processes, and operations for the group; civic development and engagement; and strong advocacy for youth inclusion, as voices of change,” Wintergreen said.
New ideas, and new subcommittees are welcome – so consider joining these civic-minded volunteers at their next monthly meeting.
It all takes money …
In January, EPAP sent the Mayor a list of $1,000,000 worth of priority projects to enhance livability in East Portland, according to Wintergreen. “In addition to this budget allocation request, $295,000 has been committed to project implementation thus far. We will continue to chip away at this important list, with the support of outer East Portland residents.”
On May 10th, outer East Portlanders met with Mayor Sam Adams to discuss economic opportunities. “The event was organized by the East Portland Enhancement Project, a ROSE-CDC-led collaboration of community, business, and government organization partners working together – to promote economic opportunities and healthy families. We learned that the Mayor submitted a budget (later approved by the City Council) which included $279,692 to support EPAP work,” Wintergreen noted.
Specifically, the funding provides for:
- The EPAP Advocate,
- Money for the EPAP grants program, and
- “Some funding” toward their $1,000,000 priority project request.
Joint them for dinner and discussion
Wintergreen invited anyone interested in the EPAP to attend their monthly meeting – and enjoy the dinner they provide there. Their meetings are held the 4th Wednesday of the month at 6:30 pm at David Douglas School District main building at 1500 SE 130th Avenue.
© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News