Many Outer East Portlanders honored for ‘Sprit’

Find out who received a 2013 ‘Spirit of Portland’ award at this year’s ceremony, held in the Mill Park Neighborhood …

The entire Portland City Council gathers on the dais, in preparation for the announcement of who will be awarded this year’s 2013 Spirit of Portland Awards.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Mayor Charlie Hales opened the 29th annual Spirit of Portland Awards program on November 12, held in the East Portland Community Center.

“Your City Council is here tonight in force – to celebrate, and to have the privilege of conferring these awards upon, some of our fellow citizens who are doing great things in our community,” Hales began.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales welcomes honorees and their supporters to the 2013 Spirit of Portland Awards.

“We, on behalf of our 600,000 Portland citizens, are here thanking people who have really made a difference. These are exemplary community members and organizations getting the awards tonight. They represent the true nature of volunteerism and a positive impact on Portland’s neighborhoods.

“We’re here to recognize them for their work in bettering our community, and that’s what the Spirit of Portland awards are all about!” Hales exclaimed.

Portland City Council members extolled the virtues of twenty awardees in sixteen categories – individuals and organizations – as they came to the podium set up in the outer East Portland Community Center’s large gymnasium, and received a sparkling engraved Lucite award.

Outstanding Organization
Dennis’ 7 Dees

Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick reaches out to shake the hand of David Snodgrass of Dennis’ 7 Dees, being presented an Outstanding Organization Spirit of Portland.

Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick told about the firm:

Dennis’ 7 Dees is a longstanding landscaping company recognized by the Professional Landcare Network for Environmental Improvement. The company has a strong value of protecting and enriching not only the environment, but also its local community.

Dennis’ 7 Dees began its Annual Charity Golf Tournament simply as a small vendor and employee golf outing. It has evolved into a significant fundraiser benefitting homeless families in outer East Portland and Multnomah County, in partnership with Human Solutions.

-4 Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick presents an Outstanding Organization Spirit of Portland award to David Snodgrass of Dennis’ 7 Dees.

In their first year of fundraising, the tournament brought in $7,000. In 2013, the group raised over $100,000 through countless hours of donated time and effort while maintaining a demanding and successful private business.

Human Solutions is able to serve over 175 homeless families every night of the year in part because of the Golf Tournament’s funding. D7D’s staff believes it is essential to provide resources and education to raise awareness and provide solutions to homelessness and poverty in the community at large.

-5 Dennis’ 7 Dees President David Snodgrass accepts the award presented to the company.

After thanking the award committee, David Snodgrass told the audience that, as a family company, they’ve enjoyed being of service to the communities in which they work. Snodgrass promised to raise even more funds at their 2014 tournament.

Outstanding Organization
Friends of Gateway Green

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish presents an “Outstanding Organization” Spirit of Portland award to Linda Robinson, representing Friends of Gateway Green.

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish spoke about the organization’s accomplishments.

Friends of Gateway Green began as an idea by two extraordinary Portlanders, Ted Gilbert and Linda Robinson. The pair sought to transform 38 acres of surplus land in diverse and park-deficient East Portland into a world-class off-road biking facility and outdoor recreation space.

In 2008, Friends of Gateway Green asked the Governor to designate Gateway Green as an “Oregon Solutions Project”. Jay Graves, owner of the Bike Gallery, and Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder convened the process. More than 40 public, private, and civic partners came to the table in support of the organization. Through that process, the City agreed to own and operate Gateway Green if the organization could raise the funding.

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish stands with Friends of Gateway Green Chair Linda Robinson, Jim Labbe, Ted Gilbert, Will Heinberg, and Jeff Schindler, after presenting their award.

To date, the “Build Gateway Green” campaign has received over $120,000 in contributions. This is the first project of its kind in Oregon, and one of few in the entire country, that has made use of crowdfunding opportunities to democratize input and funding for a public project.

Ted Gilbert and Linda Robinson have engaged literally thousands of Portlanders from all walks of life to help transform an unused piece of public property into something that all Portlanders can celebrate and take pride in.

> To read about their successful crowdfunding campaign, and the next steps Friends of Gateway Green will be taking, see our October, 2013, article: CLICK HERE.

Friends of Gateway Green Chair Linda Robinson acknowledges the award.

Linda Robinson responded, “We thank you very much for this award. “As Commissioner Fish said, we’ve been working on this for a while.

“Ted Gilbert first came up with the idea almost exactly eight years ago. We are finally getting to the point where we are seeing some progress.

“Lots has happened; many agreements have been established. We are now moving forward with the final planning stages, and we will do the final fundraising and hopefully build it within the next couple of years.

“We thank all of you who made a contribution during a recent crowdfunding campaign, and we look forward to seeing you participating in our public planning process over the next couple of months.”

Independent Spirit
David Hampsten

Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman presents an “Independent Spirit” award to David Hampsten.

Speaking about why David Hampsten was presented the Independent Spirit award was Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman.

David Hampsten has been a member of the Bureau of Transportation Budget Advisory Committee for the last three years. He is the Hazelwood Neighborhood Transportation Chair and an active participant East Portland Land Use and Transportation Committee, the East Portland Action Plan, EPAP Bike, and the Technical Advisory, Economic Development, and Housing Subcommittees.

Hampsten has mentored others on understanding the complexities of transportation planning, funding, and implementation. He has led educational bike rides and devotes himself full-time to improving East Portland and preventing displacement.

He carries forward the message that Portland is a community of diverse residents, immigrant and non-English speaking, seniors and physically challenged. He works tirelessly to bring improvement to under-served populations, and to steward environmental responsibility through his independent spirit and dedication to improving the community.

David Hampsten accepts his “Independent Spirit” Spirit of Portland Award from Commissioner Dan Saltzman.

“I have a confession to make, I am a former [governmental] planner myself,” awardee David Hampsten said as he accepted his award.

“I have been unemployed for about five years; and this is my opportunity in my life to do something that I could not do as an employee.  So, for the last five years, I’ve been doing the kind of planning that I wish I could have done – but I never could do – and desired to do.

“I’ve been working with the East Portland Action Plan, a City project East of SE 82nd Avenue, where about 150,000 people live. This is an area of the greatest diversity.

“Here, I have been advocating for transportation improvements.  As you know, it’s kind of hard to do bicycling, even with an earthquake, when you don’t have bicycling infrastructure, or sidewalks, or a lot of streets paved.  So, I’ve been trying to get funding here. We are still working with my partners in the East Portland Action Plan; and, we’ve gotten about $40 million worth of improvements funded in the last three years.”

David Hampsten tells why he’s honored to be presented an “Independent Spirit” Spirit of Portland Award.

Hampsten’s comments brought a sustained applause. He continued, “So, I’ve worked through the various processes, and Bureaus in town. One thing that I’ve found is that you have to work as a team, with your community partners and with your City agencies, to bring improvements.

“It’s been a pleasure to work here in Portland. I’ve worked in other communities – and I will say Portland is different – it’s a lot more constructive. But it’s also a very divided community as well.  I just want to say that it is a pleasure not only working with the diversity of Portland, but working with the other communities of Portland as well.

“Thank you very much for the award,” Hampsten concluded.

Sandy Diedrich Environmental Stewardship Award
Neighborhoods Community Garden

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz reads the commendation, telling why the Sandy Diedrich Environmental Stewardship Spirit of Portland Award is being presented to the “Neighborhoods Community Garden” project.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz told why this project was selected to be honored.

“Neighborhoods Community Garden” represents a community partnership between 26 families, Lynwood Friends Church, Stark Firs apartments, and the Outgrowing Hunger organization. Each group contributed its own resources to help build a project which truly embodies the spirit of cross-cultural community-building, neighborhood revitalization, and stewardship of the environment and the diverse community of East Portland’s neighborhoods.

“Neighborhoods Community Garden” is rooted in an Assets-Based Community Development model, and builds on the self-identified interests and innate strengths of participants. Bhutanese, Mien, Burmese, Latino, and Anglo families come together in the garden in both private family and cooperative plots. Anyone can work cooperative sessions each Wednesday and learn about garden techniques, and receive a share of whatever food is ripe that day.

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz presents the Sandy Diedrich Environmental Stewardship Spirit of Portland Award to Dale Brown and Adam Kohl, director of Outgrowing Hunger, the organizer of the “Neighborhoods Community Garden”.

The Garden uses composting, mulching, and other environmentally-friendly techniques to build soil health and the project is in the process of installing a rain catchment system, thanks to the support of the Bureau of Environmental Services, to educate community members on the principles of water conservation.

The partnership between all participants of this project demonstrate the Spirit of Portland in bringing community together and building a welcoming place in the Rosewood area.

Outgrowing Hunger Executive Director Adam Kohl accepted the award on behalf if the non-profit organization and its members.

“A few years ago, we had this idea that food security should be a participatory project.  People should be involved in developing their own food security. Working in the outer East Orland, we met people who would eventually become good friends and partners on this project.

As Dale [Brown, a member of the Lynwood Friends Church, where the “Neighborhoods Community Garden” is located and a project supporter] likes to say, and sometimes sing to us, “You’ve got to prime the pump”. [a reference to the Kingston Trio lyrics, “You’ve got to prime the pump, you must have faith and believe”].

Outgrowing Hunger’s Executive Director Adam Kohl tells about the “Neighborhoods Community Garden” project.

“We’,ve connected with a lot of different community members and that has multiplied the excitement for this project. But, this is just the beginning. Partnering with IRCO and Community Services to reach out to our new American friends and neighbors, and to reach out to some of the family members of the Rosewood community, we will continue to grow partnerships as well as crops.

“We are going to be, hopefully, developing the first large-scale Market Garden using the venue zoning-code modifications of the City of Portland,” announced Kohl. “This will be a place where people cannot only grow food for themselves, but also earn a little income at the same time by feeding others, and where other members of the community can help develop those social relationships that are so important to success in integrating into a productive society.”

Lifetime Achievement Award
Lee Perlman

Mayor Hales presents Lee Perlman’s posthumous Lifetime Achievement Spirit of Portland Award; accepting is his long time friend, Anne McLaughlin.

Finally, Mayor Charlie Hales told attendees why Lee Perlman was being presented posthumous Lifetime Achievement Spirit of Portland Award.

From the time of Lee’s arrival in Portland he was an advocate for social change. During the 1970’s, he spent years working with the Portland Tenants’ Union, a renters’ rights organization. For a time he worked for the Office of Neighborhood Associations. He worked as editor for the Portland Scribe and in 1975 he was asked by future mayor Bud Clark to join the newly-started Northwest Neighbor, a publication dedicated to neighborhood news.

Perlman continued to write for the community in various papers, including the Portland Observer, the Hollywood Star, Mid-County Memo, Southeast Examiner, and Southwest Post. In order to inform the public, he attended countless meetings and personally delivered newspapers, often in a T-shirt emblazoned with the words, “Love Thy Neighbor”.

His expertise and understanding of municipal process and neighborhood movements was invaluable to the communities he served. In spite of wide community recognition, he was modest about his own work, and held himself to high standards that he struggled to achieve.

Lee Perlman passed away in August of this year at the age of 64. He will be remembered for his tireless freelance reporting, community activism, and dedication to informing and improving the livability of our city’s 95 neighborhoods.

With no family or survivors available to do so, Anne McLaughlin accepted the award on Perlman’s behalf.


It wouldn’t be a City of Portland celebration without cake! City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement Administrative Coordinator Patrick Owen helps set dessert out for guests.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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