Bon voyage to East Portland civic leader Ron Glanville

Neighbors say goodbye to this distinguished outer East Portland denizen, as he bids adieu to the Russell neighborhood, and moves to sunnier climes …

At the 911 Commemoration event in 2015, hosted by the Gateway Area Business Association, then Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs spends a moment with Russell Neighborhood Association Chair Ron Glanville, at an event held in the Hazelwood neighborhood.

Story and archive photos by David F. Ashton

It seems that anyone involved with outer East Portland neighborhood associations and community organizations has met, or worked with, Ron Glanville.

Many know Glanville as having been a dedicated leader of East Portland Neighbors, Inc. (EPN) – the fiscal sponsor for the City-run East Portland Neighborhood Office (since renamed the East Portland Community Office), located under the Hazelwood water tower.

Although there weren’t official titles for the publication, Glanville’s role in the East Portland Neighborhood News (EPNN) newsletter – a publication of EPN — from 2014 up until its last issue would likely have been “editor”. Parkrose Neighborhood Association Chair Annette Stanhope also championed the newsletter, and could be thought of as its “managing editor”.

Among his many volunteer efforts, Ron Glanville was instrumental in publishing the East Portland Neighborhood News newsletter in its later yearsCLICK HERE to open a PDF document of the final EPNN newsletter.

Glanville, and a passionate group of other volunteers, fashioned a plain newsletter into a vibrant, full-color community organ – featuring the good works of the diverse organizations and people in the 13-neighborhood area. Glanville also encouraged City of Portland Bureaus to promote their programs in the EPNN newsletter.

Before his volunteer public service “career”, Glanville was a food service professional, living in the Russell neighborhood.

High school fry cook becomes teaching chef

Chef Ron Glanville always looks happy when he’s fixing delicious meals for neighbors and friends.

Asked about his working history, Glanville said, “I have been in the restaurant business all my life, starting as dishwasher; as a David Douglas High School student, I started working at Kelly’s Drive Inn, then located at SE 122nd Avenue and Division Street, as a fry cook and counter person.”

Glanville continued cooking at several restaurants until he entered the Horst Mager Culinary Institute in 1983. “I graduated top of my class, and was hired by Horst to run the bakery in the Rheinlander Kitchen, before being promoted to Executive Chef at Couch Street Fish House for six years.

“I also taught at Western Culinary Institute (formerly Horst Mager Culinary Institute; and became Cordon Bleu) for about six years,” Glanville told East Portland News. “I’ve also been a private chef, and became Director of In Good Taste Cooking School, where I taught for several years.”

Volunteers from the Parkrose Community United Church of Christ help serve one of the countless Tuesday evening “Community Dinners”.

Chef turns to cooking Community Dinners
As an experienced chef, Glanville came up with the idea of his church, the Parkrose Community United Church of Christ (PCUUC), hosting “community dinners” in 2012.

“At that time, PCUUC was hosting the first Human Solutions Women’s and Children’s Winter Shelter,” Glanville recalled. “They had a great need to feed those who had lost their homes, and were sheltered there.

Perhaps it was his time training with Horst Mager that led him to create the annual Oktoberfest celebrations at his church. Both of them looking fancy in lederhosen, Ron Glanville spent a moment with then-PCUCC Pastor Don Frueh.

“I led the church group of about a dozen volunteers every Tuesday night in preparing and serving a hot meal,” Glanville recollected. “After Human Solutions moved to a larger facility, we saw the need for continuing the service for the local community, feeding over 100 persons every Tuesday night – until the pandemic ended all gatherings!”

Drawn into public service by neighborhood activist Bonny McKnight

Russell Neighborhood Association Chair Bonny McKnight encouraged people to get involved in civic matters. To see how she was remembered at a Portland City Council meeting, after her passing, CLICK HERE.

Asked what led him to become involved in community programs, Glanville replied, “In 2011, I met Bonnie McKnight and started to attend our Russell Neighborhood Association meetings.

“Always active in community affairs, Bonnie was looking to lessen her load, as she was also leading the City-wide Land Use Committee,” Glanville remarked. “So, I started by serving on the East Portland Neighbors Committee; and when Bonnie left her role with the neighborhood association, I was voted Chair there.”

Over the years, Glanville’s involvement increased with East Portland Neighbors, Inc., and with the newsletter.

Advocates for livability and traffic safety

In 2014, working to revive the shuttered Parkrose Farmers Market is Judy Kennedy, of sponsor Pacific NW Federal Credit Union, with avid gardener Ron Glanville.

“Our neighborhood associations began working with many of the other diverse community organizations – and, together, we accomplished quite a bit: From hosting Bulky Refuse Neighborhood Clean-ups, to Movies in the Park, to advocating for transportation and safety improvements,” Glanville told East Portland News.

“My ‘most hoped for’ project – It’s still in the works, but not finished – Is the ‘Outer Halsey Safety Project’, which is to bring sidewalks to NE Halsey Street from the Halsey-Weidler Couplet out to 162nd Avenue. I do hope to visit in the near future, and see that this has been accomplished.”

At a 2017 Neighborhood Bulky Waste Clean-up in Parkrose, Ron Glanville is checking in another person eager to get rid of a truckload of trash.

What he’ll remember most about his volunteering in service to his community is, he said, “The challenge of not being heard by the political elite of Portland government; the way that Portland is governed does not equate to equity for East Portland, and we are always an afterthought – unless they’re up for election, and need votes.”

About all who volunteered with him, and stood side-by-side to improve the community, Glanville commented, “I’ll always keep in mind the ‘big hearts’ of people in outer East Portland – the lovely people who want a great place to live, who seem to be stoic but determined.  I wish you all well.

“Keep at it; you are the voice and catalyst of change. As I have always advocated, ‘think globally, act locally’,” Glanville said.

At a “Sending Forth” service held in October at the Parkrose Community United Church of Christ, Sue Rubsam and Erica Martin wish Ron Glanville well, as do his good friend and enthusiastic fellow gardener Clay Osburn, and Pastor Dianne Rodriguez. Image courtesy of PCUUC official photographer Camie Pugsley

Asked about his destination, Glanville said with a lilt in his voice, “I’m moving to San Miguel de Allende in the central Mexico state of Guanajuato; a place I’ve visited many times before. It’s a fabulous city with lots of culture, food and music, and the climate is ‘springtime’ most of the year.”

On a personal note, it has been my privilege to get to know, and work with you, Ron. You are truly a man of honor, great wisdom, and almost infinite patience. Bon Voyage, Ron – and send me a post card!

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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