Lents neighbors honor local heroes; request flooding help

Find out why local business owners were honored – and why this oft-flooded neighborhood sent a letter to Mayor Adams praising his actions and making requests of the Bureau of Environmental Services …

Tom, Ryan, Scott and Reiko Rogers stood with Brent Crooks – all of whom are with R-Boes Automotive – as they were recognized by Lents Neighborhood Association President Damien Chakwin for their “Dedication and service to the Community”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
On January 16, a man dashed out of the AM/PM Mini-Market at SE Holgate Boulevard and SE 92nd Avenue, and started shooting at a perceived assailant – only to blow out an innocent driver’s back window and scare Lents area neighbors. (Read the details by CLICKING HERE.)

The gunman ran toward R-BOE’s Automotive across the street, and headed east – but the mechanics at the auto repair shop, being fed up with crime in the area, took after the shooter, and reported where he had gone to the cops.

At the January 27 meeting of the Lents Neighborhood Association, these men were honored by their neighbors – receiving certificates and Portland Police Bureau medallions from East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs.

“Their actions show that Lents is moving away from the ‘Felony Flats’ image,” said the association’s Chair, Damien Chakwin. “We have people here who actually do heroic things. They risked life and limb, and injury to themselves, to help keep this neighborhood safe for all of us. This is the highest example of community spirit.”

We asked Commander Crebs why the men also received the Police Medallion. “Here’s a guy shooting off a gun in broad daylight. They risked their lives; their actions helped us catch a very dangerous person. I’m not sure we would have been able to capture the alleged gunman that night without their help.”

Crebs added he doesn’t recommend that citizens go after armed, shooting gunman. “Having people act as our ‘eyes and ears’ – from a distance – is invaluable. But these fellows followed their inner instinct and helped us capture a dangerous person. Anyone who puts their life on the line like that deserves our appreciation.”

During the Lents Neighborhood “buffet of information” session, Portland Police Bureau’s Lt. Baird and Crime Prevention Specialist Roseanne Lee shared at information the community safety table.

‘Buffet of information’ provided
We noted a refreshing change of meeting format. After introductions and official business was conducted, the group went into a breakout session.

We found that refreshing, because instead of subjecting attendees to sometimes long and boring committee chair reports, the neighbors in attendance were instead invited to circulate around tables around the back of the room. Committee chairs provided information, brochures, pamphlets, and other information regarding all of the main neighborhood functions.

Lents Neighbor Wendy Foster learned what the Portland Development Commission is doing as she spoke with Ray Hites at the Lents Urban Renewal table.

At one end of the room, the Bureau of Environmental Services was talking about the Johnson Creek project. Elsewhere, there was a table for the foods group, another for urban renewal, another for public safety, and so forth. “It’s like having a buffet of information,” said Wendy Foster. “You can find out more about the issues you’re actually interested in.”

Marie Johnson with the Bureau of Environmental Services talked about the Johnson Creek Floodplain Plan with neighbor Brett Kelver.

Letter thanks Adams for flood help
Finally, as the meeting reconvened, neighbors approved sending Portland city officials a letter lauding – not lambasting – the Bureau of Environmental Services:

January 26, 2009

Dear Mayor Sam Adams,

For twelve months the Lents Neighborhood Association has been requesting that BES representatives meet with our Special Subcommittee, which includes the residents residing within the boundaries of the proposed East Lents Floodplain Restoration Project (ELFRP).

Because of your insistence and superb facilitation, those meetings have begun. The residents whose homes still stand within the boundaries have expressed a deep appreciation for their questions being answered face to face and being given a written copy of the answers. This is the direct dialogue we have wanted.

We encourage you to continue working with BES and the families living within the proposed boundaries of the ELFRP. As you continue, please keep the following facts in mind:

  • According to BES, the “Willing Seller” program was created in 1997 “to purchase frequently-flooded properties.
  • The remaining homes within the ELFRP do not flood. These homes didn’t flood in 1996, nor recently in 2009. (And most didn’t flood in 1965.)
  • The current families were living in these homes prior to the inception of the “Willing Seller” program, and were fully informed of the program.
  • The current Federal matching funds for the ELFRP specifies that condemnation will not be used in order to complete this project.
  • The proposed project cannot hold the amount of water that caused the most recent flood in January 2009.

We look forward to your ongoing participation in the development of creative solutions to this complex proposed project.

Thank you very much for your successful efforts thus far, which have brought BES representatives to the table for candid, substantiated dialog about this very significant project.

Damien Chakwin
Lents Neighborhood Association President

The Lents Neighborhood Association meets the last Tuesday of the month – next on February 24 at 7:00 PM at Lents Adventist Church Auditorium, 8835 SE Woodstock St. For more information, go to their website by CLICKING HERE.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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