Midway-area business boosters clean up Powellhurst-Gilbert streets

Here’s a look at what volunteers from the “Division-Midway Alliance Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative” did, to improve the livability of their area …

Division-Midway Alliance Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative volunteers get ready to clean and preen the neighborhood getting final coordination from (far right) Lori Boisen with Advertise in the Bag and a proponent of the Alliance..

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Trying to improve the prosperity of a district can be a complicated undertaking.

But folks with the Division-Midway Alliance Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative decided that cleaning up the streets of outer Southeast Portland was a good, simple start.

A long-time volunteer in Powellhurst-Gilbert, “graffiti commando” Donna Dionne, with the Midway Business Association, tells how to remove markings – without damaging property.

“I’m proud to be coordinating today’s event, which we call ‘Take pride in your neighborhood’,” remarked Helen Ying, retired Parkrose High School Assistant Principal.

“I was walking down the street one day, and I saw that there was trash lying about,” Ying told East Portland News at the October 14 event.  “I wondered what happened to this neighborhood, that would make it look like this. And then, I decided to take action.”

Organizer Helen Ying puts her new training into action, picking up trash in the Midway District.

Perennial outer East Portland volunteer Tom Lewis, Chair of the Centennial Community Association, removes graffiti along SE 122nd Avenue.

Ying said she contacted Lore Wintergreen, Advocate with the East Portland Action Plan, who put her in touch with Mark White, President of the Powellhurst Gilbert Neighborhood Association.

“Mark said there are people interested in helping with a cleanup, but no one had stepped up to take leadership,” Ying explained.

So, meeting at a vacant storefront next door to Pizza Baron, about twenty volunteers grabbed trash pickers, graffiti removal kits – and lots of SOLV trash bags – and headed out along SE 122nd Avenue, and SE Division Street.

This group, friends and family of Oregon House District 47 Representative-elect Jessica Vega Pederson, pick up trash along SE Division Street.

“When people say there’s nothing you can do to help your area, don’t believe them,” Ying smiled as she, too, headed out to clean up the neighborhood.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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