Portland City officials honor East Portland ‘heroes’

Congratulations to ‘Spirit of Portland” award winners Linda Robinson, Richard Kiely, and Sgt. Anderson & Officer Baldwin! Find out why they were honored, right here …

The Portland City Council assembles, and Mayor Tom Potter (seated, center) prepares to give his opening remarks at the awards ceremony.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The Portland City Council chambers were packed to overflowing on December 11 as the “Spirit of Portland Awards” ceremony got underway.

Starting off the program, Mayor Tom Potter told the throng, “This is a time when we gather to honor our communities and heroes; we call it the Portland of Spirit Awards. I’m glad you’ll be able to meet some absolutely wonderful honorees today.”

After he outlined how the program would proceed, Potter said, “This is a wonderful day at the Portland City Council; in fact, this is a wonderful day for Portland.”

Independent Spirit Award: Linda Robinson

-2 Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman presents Linda Robinson her Spirit of Portland Independent Spirit award.

Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman presented the award, saying:

“Linda Robinson is a retiree with more civic projects than you can imagine. Her passion for civic engagement developed when she began volunteering during a mid-life career change 20 years ago. Early experiences as a founding member of the Columbia Slough Watershed Council and her work with the “Naturescaping for Clean Rivers” program, demonstrated the importance of citizen involvement – and the earlier, the better. She advocates tirelessly for good process.

“While Linda has had many volunteer interests (the airport, urban renewal, local elections, water quality, tree preservation, invasive species), her work has focused on parks. As a founding member of the East Portland Parks Coalition, she works knowledgeably and advocates effectively for East Portland Parks and open spaces. Also, she chairs the City Wide Parks Team, the Parks Committee for the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association, and the Parks Subcommittee for the Gateway Urban Renewal Area. She served on Metro’s Green spaces Policy Advisory Committee, and has committed countless hours to successful bond measure campaigns. She has served on numerous other park committees, including budget, master plan, ParkScan, and, skate park siting committees, and the Parks SDC Update Task Force. Linda is not just another meeting attendee; she takes initiative, accepts responsibility, and follows through.

“Community building is another focus for her – creating places and events that bring diverse groups together, such as Concerts at Ventura Park, and at the Hazelwood Hydro Park.  Linda is also spearheading work on Gateway Green, which will provide much-needed green space, a re-branding tool, and a community gathering place for East Portland.”

Linda Robinson thanks her supporters, and pitches participation in her project committees.

Robinson thanked Saltzman, the City Council, and the committee, for the award. She then thanked her husband, David, for supporting her activities. “Anyone who wants to talk to me later about the Gateway Green project, or about Portland Parks – we’re always looking for people who are interested and want to be involved!”

When we caught up with Robinson later, she remarked, “You know, a person involved with Portland’s bicycle transportation planning did come up and talk to me about Gateway Green after the reception!” (To learn more about Gateway Green, CLICK HERE to read our article.)

Robinson said she had been nominated for the award in the past “But it came as a surprise when I got the e-mail notifying me that I won the award this year. It’s exciting. It’s good that people notice that one is trying to go good things.”

She added that being bestowed this award may help her draw attention to East Portland issues upon which she is working. “What I’ve learned is that it takes patience, persistence, and collaboration to get things done. You’ve got to keep at it.”

Small Business Award:
Richard Kiely, Home Run Graphics

Mayor-elect Sam Adams presents the Small Business Award to Richard Kiley, owner of Home Run Graphics.

“Richard Kiley, owner of Home Run Graphics, has volunteered his time, resources and skills to help build a stronger community in Southeast Portland,” said Mayor-elect Sam Adams as he presented the award. “He exemplifies business partnering with the local community to provide more livable and safer neighborhoods through public service, fun and entertainment.

“He and his company have been involved with numerous events, including the East Portland Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament; the Fun on Foster event; the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade; Montavilla International Days; and the Portland Teen Idol project that includes 350 teenagers from all over the city, and from varied cultural backgrounds.  He shows his pride in all of them as if they were his own children.

“He stepped up and raised $1,000 for the inner East Portland Mount Hood Little League when their equipment was stolen and as a fundraiser for the Youth Missions at Faith Center Christian Church.

“Kiely is also well known for donating funds and time to produce the “Screen on the Green” movies in city parks that brought together 31,000 Portlanders to enjoy free entertainment in their own neighborhood.

“He regularly participates in park clean-ups in the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood, and was a key player – shovel in hand, with his wife Gail and other neighborhood leaders – in the building of Hazeltine Park for less than $26,000.

“Kiley believes in Portland and in his neighborhood. His unselfish contributions truly help make this city shine.”

Kiely accepts the award saying simply, “This is very nice.”

Kiely, who is, or has been, on numerous nonprofit organization boards, is also a past vice president of his neighborhood association.

After the ceremony, Kiely was beaming with an ear-to-ear smile and told us, “I’ve had an absolutely wonderful time participating in all of these activities. I didn’t realize how much time I put into community projects [until they were recounted here,] because I have so much fun doing it.  Seeing people draw together as a community, it makes it all worthwhile.”

While he said he’s very pleased to be recognized for his efforts, Kiely added, “Seeing families and neighbors draw together as a community makes it all worthwhile.”

Community Policing Award:
Sergeant Jon Anderson and Officer Greg Baldwin

Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman congratulates the East Precinct Sergeant Anderson and Officer Baldwin for their work to establish a Parkrose substation.

“In the true spirit of community policing, Sergeant Jon Anderson and Officer Greg Baldwin saw a need, and they filled it,” said Commissioner Dan Saltzman as he gave them their awards. “They converted an empty office space into a neighborhood police contact office, where residents could meet with officers, find community resources, and provide a safe place for officers patrolling the area to eat lunch, read reports, and meet with neighbors.

“With the generosity of the Rossi family, who leases the space to the Portland Police Bureau for one dollar a year, the officers spent many months of off-duty time to transform the vacant space into a welcoming community contact office.

“Situated at Northeast Sandy Boulevard and NE 111th Avenue – in an area that has seen drugs, prostitution, and other illegal activity over the years – the office serves residents and businesses in special ways. First, the presence of more police officers stopping at the office has fostered a safe feeling in the community. Second, neighbors are becoming a part of the all-volunteer office staffed by Elders in Action, and become more involved in their community. And last, businesses have gotten involved by donating goods and services for the office renovation project.

“It is one of the Elders in Action volunteers put it so well, the new neighborhood contact office ‘it’s an opportunity to put a face on the badge’. Once fertile farmland, the Parkrose community has grown into a culturally rich and diverse community. With an investment of time and resources, and the gift of their collaboration, Sergeant Jon Anderson and Officer Greg Baldwin and created a legacy that will live on in this community for many years.”

Officer Greg Baldwin (left) thanks the greater Parkrose community for helping out with donations of material and labor.

After the awards, Baldwin told us, “The most important thing is to acknowledge the group effort that went into this project. The friendships that have developed between myself and the community mean a lot to me – these are lifelong relationships that have come about because of this project.”

In the upper City Council chamber, we spotted part of the East Portland cheering section:  Arlene Kimura, Hazelwood Neighborhood Chair; Portland City Councilor-elect Amanda Fritz; community activist Mike Vander Veen; and the Chair of the Woodland Hills Neighborhood Association – as well as member of the Parkrose School District Board – Alesia Reese.

Congratulations to the Spirit of Award winners!

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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