Parkrose neighbors fete Commissioner Saltzman, share concerns

Neighbors in Parkrose realize how their concerted efforts pay off. Read this story to see what they’ve accomplished lately ‚Ķ

Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman listens to, and speaks to, members of the Parkrose Neighborhood Association.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The city didn’t want to build it, but neighbors wouldn’t be denied a City park. “Our neighborhood is called ‘PARKrose’, you know,” said Marcy Emerson Peters, chair of the neighborhood association.

Their meeting last month was both a celebration of their past successes, and the opportunity to bend the ear of Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman.

Enjoying pizzas at the Parkrose Neighborhood Association meeting are Dwain Lamb and Jim Bradley.

Those who attended this special meeting were treated to a pizza feed and ice cream. To some, news that a community garden was approved was the best dessert.

Community Garden at Senn’s
Doug Brenner of the Portland Parks Bureau told the group that construction of a community garden was about to commence at Senn’s Dairy Park on NE Prescott St.

“We’d like to get the garden in by April or May,” Brenner said. “The Parks Department will do most of the construction, but neighbors are needed to help.”

The improvements will include putting in pathways and raised beds to help the mobility-challenged. This will be the City’s 31st Community Garden, commented Brenner.

Saltzman added, “You’ve been persistent; I’m pleased to see this garden coming in. We need more Community Gardens. As Parks Commissioner, these projects are on the top of my list.”

Neighborhood chair, Marcy Emerson Peters shares many of the projects the association is undertaking in Parkrose. In the background, Mary Walker takes notes.

Marcy Emerson Peters told the group that plans to install playground equipment are slowly moving forward. She also lauded the crime-reduction activities in the area ‚Äì including the new “foot patrol” along Sandy Blvd.

Challenges “adult oriented” proliferation
Resident, and public safety advocate, Mary Walker grilled Commissioner Saltzman: “Would you consider putting non-family-oriented businesses away from our schools and daycares, and do more that is being done now? We know Oregon is big on individual rights. But we also have a right to live in decent neighborhoods.”

Saltzman’s response: “You have dealt with this for a long time. You are sophisticated enough to know a particular use can’t be discriminated against.

“Through zoning, we can say a certain parcel of land on Sandy Blvd. should be used for either residential or business purposes. But, if it is a legally-operating business, we have no ability to regulate it on commercially-zoned property.”

Neighbor Jim Loennig shares his concern about the need to revitalize the area of Parkrose just south and east of Portland International Airport.

Proposes better use of South Parkrose land
A lifetime resident of the area, Jim Loennig, told the group how he grew up in Parkrose. Bringing up a large map, he added, “Instead of talking about history, I’d like to talk for a moment about the future.”

Land just south and east of Portland International Airport, Loennig contended, could be better used. Today, he said, it is occupied by junkyards and squatting transients.

“If you ‘up-zoned’ it,” Loennig argued, “you could get tax increment financing. I’d like to see connectivity, like down NE 109th Ave. If the city can enhance the area, put in more streets and lights, there will be fewer places for transient camps.”

Crime: neighbors’ chief concern
Detailed crime maps of Parkrose provided by the Portland Police Bureau show that the most-reported crime in the area is car prowls [break-ins], followed by home burglaries. Next down the list are crimes related to drugs and prostitution.

A pair of new Parkrose neighbors, visiting the association meeting for the first time, said they came to talk about crime.

Specifically, they gave details regarding a “chronic-nuisance house” on NE Prescott Street. They described fights, drug deals, and car prowls. “We wonder if moving to Parkrose was a mistake; we don’t think it will get any better.”

Armed with crime-prevention information and resources provided by the neighborhood association, the couple learned how, by sharing their concerns, they can work together to reduce the problem on their street.

Join with your neighbors
If you live in Parkrose, plan now to attend the next meeting of the Parkrose Neighborhood Association.  Their general meeting starts at 7:00 PM at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 11100 NE Skidmore St.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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