Lents Resource Fair features fun, food, and facts

Check out what went on at a community happening they’re now calling an outer East Portland tradition. And, we say goodbye to a great East Portland cop, Officer Hoover …

Several hundred Lents-area neighbors looked to be having a good time, while they learned about neighborhood resources, at the fourth annual Lents Resource Fair.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It wasn’t a school day, but the cafeteria at the Marshall High Campus on SE 91st Avenue was hopping on May 10, as the Portland Development Commission (PDC) hosted its fourth annual Lents Resource Fair.

Joleen Jensen-Classen, with Juan Carlos Ocaña, stands by, ready to serve a lunch of hot burritos and chips at the Resource Fair.

Informing neighbors
“The primary purpose of the fair is to provide information to the community about a variety of services and goods available to them in Lents, and in the greater Lents area,” is how Juan-Carlos Ocaña, a public participation coordinator at PDC, set the stage.

The Lents Urban Renewal team brought 40 government and nonprofit agencies together to set up exhibits and to talk with neighbors.

Jon Gail of the PDC neighborhood housing program discussed homeowners assistance.

Folks talked with representatives from the City of Portland, TriMet, Multnomah County, Holgate Library, the Lents International Farmer’s Market, and ROSE Community Development, to name just a few.

“The fair has grown into being an annual tradition,” Ocaña said. “It started as an opportunity to showcase the diversity of services available. Many people in the Lents area are struggling in the current economic conditions. It’s a good opportunity to show them different places where they can go for support.”

Nancy Hand talks with Portland Police Bureau Neighborhood Resource Officer William Hoover.

Goodbye, Officer Hoover
After his appearances at the event year after year, neighbors expected to see Portland Police Bureau Neighborhood Resource Officer William Hoover at the event.

For those who know Office Hoover – including us – seeing him this time was a bittersweet event. “It’s true; I am leaving the Bureau, and moving south.”

We asked Hoover if he wished to comment on this, his final public meeting.

“I spent my nine years in police work in this neighborhood and this police work for a reason: I think these are good hard-working people that deserve assistance.  I’ve done my best to help the good people of this neighborhood,” Hoover told us. “I will miss the people in this area a great deal, when I leave.”

Portland Fire & Rescue’s Station 11 C-Shift attend the event, along with Lt. Michael O’Keeffe, public education Officer and fire inspector. “We’re here helping out folks in the Lents neighborhood with fire safety education, and some fun games for the kids.”

Community-building affair
Another aspect of the occasion, Ocaña told us, is community building. “It’s a great opportunity for people in the neighborhood to get together to talk to other neighbors, talk to different service organizations, and also to enjoy a tasty meal and beverage.”

From what we saw, neighbors did have a good time – and learned – as they drifted by the exhibits, and munched on burritos.

Daniel Casey said he was enjoying his burrito. Actually, his exact comment was, “Mmmmm, this is yummy!”

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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