Lents Neighborhood Fair seeks to connect neighbors with city bureaus

Nearly every bureau from the city and county set up an exhibit. Was this event a waste of time and money? See for yourself …

Dustin, Misty and Meg Steppers look at an aerial map of Lents to find their home, while visiting the Lents Resource Fair.

At his exhibit, Tim Liszt with PDC shows Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams crime mapping software, available online.

Sampling the food is Mary Davis (“Mmmmmm”), cooked by chef Kjeld Peterson

Story and photographs by David F. Ashton
That there wasn’t a parking spot available for blocks around Lent Elementary School in SE 97th Ave. on April 29 said something. A few people groused about having to walk some distance to the event, on this cool, sunny day.

But, tight parking was just one sign that the second-annual Lents Resource Fair was a success.

This Fair brings together representatives from PDC, city bureaus, elected officials and area non-profit organizations to celebrate the community and provide information on resources available to people who live, work and do business in Lents.

Long-time Lents neighborhood advocate, Judy Welch, checks neighbors into the Fair.

Ray Hites, helping out at an exhibit for the Lents Neighborhood Association.

“We heard about this event and it looked interesting,” says Lents neighbor, Misty Steppers. “We’ve only lived in the area for about a year. It was a good opportunity to make connections with community resources. It is also a good way to meet neighbors.”

“This Fair is good because it gets folks [from various city bureaus] downtown out into the community,” explains Byron Estes, Sr. Development Manager in charge of the Lents area at the Portland Development Commission. “It is about connecting all the resources of the City of Portland to people here in the Lents area.”

Andrew Abei of PDOT local improvement district administrator listened to neighbors complaints about area roads; Barry Manning, Portland Planning Bureau’s district liaison was on hand to share the bureau’s future vision of the city.People cruising the gymnasium full of tables got information regarding home ownership opportunities, park improvements, street repair, and the I-205 MAX light rail line that is planned to connect Lents to Gateway, Clackamas Town Center, and Downtown Portland.

The PDC-sponsored event each year brings out elected officials and representatives from Tri-Met and city bureaus including Environmental Services, Parks, Transportation and the Fire Bureau.

Additionally, area non-profit groups participate, including Zenger Farms, Rose Community Development Corporation, Mt. Scott Community Center, Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Lents Neighborhood Association, and many more.

Maryanne Petioj is being fitted for a bike helmet, helped out by here dad, Ivan, and Charlie Van Domelen, Knights of Pythias. The Knights donated the helmets.And, kids seemed happy to learn about the Portland Fire Bureau through a variety of activities, to learn about watershed health through the Bureau of Environmental Services educator program, and to locate their homes using an interactive computer program.

Will there be a Lents Resource Fair next year? “You bet,” says Estes.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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