Cop coverage gets stretched very thin in outer East Portland:
Read crime prevention tips … and learn how to get a booklet that will reduce your chances of being a crime victim …

Crime Prevention Coordinator Rosanne Lee gives valuable tips on home and vehicle safety to Russell Neighborhood Association members, co-chaired by Bonny McKnight.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
More than likely, you – or someone you know – has been a victim of crime.

“You can blame it on the city, or the police department,” began East Portland Crime Prevention Coordinator Rosanne Lee, as she laid out the facts-of-safety to 21 neighbors in Russell, a northeast neighborhood on July 20. “But the fact is, you have to take some responsibility for your own safety.”

Police coverage stretched thin
“The East Precinct of the Portland Police Bureau is short-handed this year. Our police commander and staff work hard to make sure everything is covered,” Lee explained. “But, this very evening, your district [specific area of outer East Portland] almost didn’t get staffed. If there is a major situation, or multiple emergencies, your neighborhood could be without police coverage. Multnomah County has very few deputies available to help with calls.”

Steps toward safety
Lee said that forming a “Neighborhood Watch” program on your street is a good first step. “All you have to do is get your neighbors together, and we’ll train you how to set up and run your Watch program.”

When you see crime happening, or notice a fire, or know someone is in physical danger from someone else, call 9-1-1 for help, she advised. Otherwise, use the non-emergency number, (503) 823-3333.

“The 9-1-1 operators work hard to help you. Just give them the facts. As you speak, they are entering information; it goes immediately to the dispatchers.”

The more accurate and timely information you give them, Lee added, the better. If a vehicle is involved in the crime, get a good description. “Instead of just saying they left in a car, tell the operator it is a red minivan with body damage on the left side, or a loud muffler. Note the direction they went as they left the area. An officer may be able to intercept them.”

“Also, look carefully at what the person is wearing. Look for tattoos or other features like hair and shoes. They may be able to change their shirt; they probably won’t change their shoes!”

Safer parks
Attendees who live near parks asked for advice for keeping these public spaces safer. “The first step is to read and know the park rules. If you see a violation, call the non-emergency number and report it.”

Lee also urged them to consider forming a park foot patrol. “This takes a bit of training for your safety. It’s a good idea to form partner teams. Also, take a dog with you. We’re seeing a growing number of foot patrols.” Some people neighborhood associations have banded together, she added, to gain a large enough pool of volunteers for such patrols.

Car prowls
The main reason neighbors’ vehicles get broken into, Lee explained, is that people continue to leave items of value right in plain view. “Leave a ‘clean’ car. A laptop computer, even a few music CDs visible inside are enough to entice a criminal to smash in a window and grab what they can.”

Lee told the story of a street nearby plagued by car prowls. “A drug-affected young man broke into cars around his Mom’s house. One night, He cut himself on broken glass and left a trail of blood back to his home. It made him easy to catch.” While petty crooks often escape jail time, this one didn’t. “Because neighbors showed at each hearing, he eventually pleaded guilty to 24 charges and went to jail.”

Graffiti
“If you see this kind of vandalism happening, call 9-1-1,” Lee advised. After the fact, you should still report gang graffiti. “The key to controlling graffiti is persistence. If you paint it out often enough, they will go somewhere else.”

Light the night
“Darkness is the criminal’s friend”, the crime prevention expert told her audience. “Outdoor lighting makes your home – and street – much less criminal-friendly.”

Her suggestion: “While it isn’t a well-publicized program, you can get lighting installed in public places.” City officials examine crime statistics and look at the physical location, she said. “If officials agree there is a problem, and affected neighbors can come up with $350, the city will install a street light.”

Do-it-yourself home security program
“The best way to protect yourself,” Lee concluded, “is to complete a ‘Home Security Survey’, based on a document prepared by the police department. What you discover in and around your own home may surprise you.”

Lee suggested inviting a trusted friend or neighbor to help with your security survey. “Using the booklet, they may well see things you don’t.”

The booklet, “Home and Vehicle Security”, a comprehensive guide to increased safety, is available free online. You can find it at the city’s web site. The direct link is: www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=31554 .

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See why kids paid homage to things that slither and hiss, at a special library show that featured twenty reptiles …

Of all the reptiles herpetologist Richard Ritchey brought to outer East Portland, the kids loved his Burmese python, Julius Squeezer, the best.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Midland Library was crawling with slithering and creepy critters a few weeks ago.

But, nobody seemed to mind. In fact, kids who packed the large activity room got to touch some of the reptiles brought in by herpetologist Richard Ritchey.

While the star of the show was a huge, yellow Burmese python, named Julius Squeezer, they also enjoyed seeing and learning about the other two dozen reptiles brought in by Ritchey.

“I’ve been keeping reptiles for thirty years,” Ritchey told us. “And, I’ve been doing show-and-tell programs since 1991.” He said he presents 450 programs around the Pacific Northwest in schools, libraries, scout groups, and even birthday parties.

The herpetologist ‚Äì that’s a person who studies reptiles ‚Äì lives in Mololla; he told us he wanted to do something more positive than just keep the snakes as pets. “So, I developed a program to share them with kids.”

Soon, even little boys and girls were meeting, and even petting, a variety of reptiles.

“People don’t realize reptiles are important in our environment. They are the ones that feed on rodents and insects. They keep the vector population in check. They truly are helpful to mankind.”

Some of his “friends” were dangerous, Ritchey added. “I specialize in venomous snakes, and show some rare species. We have a green mamba, vipers, and an anaconda. I handle each of them, every single one, during the show.”

Want to book him for your next children’s party? Learn http://www.oregonreptileman.com more, by going to his web site:  www.oregonreptileman.com .

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

While the parade wasn’t the longest, see what folks who lined the streets for blocks enjoyed seeing at this fun, family event ‚Ķ

A friendly crowd showed up along the route of the Division/Clinton Street Fair route to watch and greet the marching (and rolling) entries.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
While much of July’s weather was sweltering, the morning of July 22, the date of the 14th Annual Division/Clinton Street Fair and Parade was delightfully cool.

“Our event started out as a sidewalk sale,” the business association’s president, Jean Baker, told us. “It gets better every year.”

Unlike Hawthorne Avenue, known as a regional attraction, SE Division and Clinton Streets are more of a “working person’s” neighborhood, according to Baker. “As more people come to these events, the better known our area becomes. I hear visitors say, ‘I never know this business was here.’ And, this event gives the business a feeling of community.”

Finding a handy curb from which to watch the passing parade are Jasper and Laura Gordon, and Natalie and Georgia Obradovich.

Most of those who watched the parade and came to the street fair walked from their residences in the Richmond and Hosford/Abnerthey neighborhoods. Baker said the neighborhood associations support the event and have information booths at the fair.

The parade is coming!

A parade kicked off this inner Southeast Portland event. Baker said, “After our parade, we have family events all day in the area.”

Baker commented that the weather forecast for a scorching-hot day scared off some of the parade participants. But young and old, gathered along the route that stretched from SE 18th Ave. up past 39th Ave., looked delighted.

Enjoy our photo album of this great neighborhood event!

Division/Clinton Street Fair Photo Album

Leading the parade is the Last Regiment Marching Band, a percussion unit that provides explosive energy to the procession.

Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams and his staff shook hands and talked with people along the parade route.

Riding uphill all the way, intrepid unicyclist Andrew kept up with the pace.

Portland Police Southeast Precinct Commander Derrick Foxworth demonstrates the spirit of community policing.

Adding bubbles to the parade are Jennifer and Evelyn Fox.

Emerson House, providing care for those with Alzheimer’s, sponsored rides on an old-fashioned horse-drawn street car pulled by big, friendly horses.

In this parade, you didn’t have to be “special” to march! All kinds of folks paraded making political statements, selling goods ‚Äì and just having fun!

“To bounce or not to bounce?” This is Jen Violet Dekker’s most pressing question of the moment.

Toby Patella, accompanied by his Amazing Street Band, is preparing for his show of juggling, magic and comedy on SE Clinton Street.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

What? You haven’t seen the OTHER parade in outer East Portland?  It isn’t too late! Plan now to enjoy the Lents Founder’s Day events on August 19-20 ‚Ķ

At a Sunday in Lents Park concert, Owen Lingley, is taking an invitation to Lents Founder’s Day from former Lents Neighborhood chair, Judy Welch, at Sunday Concert in Lents Park.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
August is the month for family fun in the Lents neighborhood! The Sunday “Concerts in Lents Park” lead up to the annual Founder’s Day celebration.

Rockin’ the park
On August 13, come see “The Jumpers” ‚Äì they’re sure to rock the park. Concert runs from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at The Gazebo, located south of the ball fields along SE 92nd Ave.

Parking is available all around Lents Park. Here’s a tip: The city is working on 92nd Ave. between SE Powell and SE Holgate Streets ‚Äì so plan an approach from the south! These concerts are presented by Portland Parks & Recreation, and area businesses.

At a Lents Softball game years ago, EPNO’s executive director Richard Bixby bats, Eastport Plaza’s manager, Ken Turner, pitches; and, Lansing Linoleum’s Kathleen Lansing catches — all the LENTS REBELS team.

Softball madness
Then, on August 19, it’s the annual Lents Founders Softball Game. See the return of this great event, which pits the downtown officials, teamed as the “City Stickers” against the brave, relentless, and dashing “Lents Rebels”.

You may be surprised at the high level of excitement and competition during this “grudge match” game! The action gets underway at 4:00 p.m. at Lents Little League Field, located at the southeast corner of SE 92nd Ave. and Harold St. Come out and cheer the locals on to another victory!

The Founder’s Day Celebration
Finally, capping off the month of fun, it’s the15th Annual Lents Founders Day celebration. There’s so much to see and do at this annual celebration ‚Äì including a street parade, music, and the fair.

At 12:00 noon, the Lents Founder’s Day Parade gets underway, traveling around Lents Park.

After the parade, the Lents Founder’s Day Celebration begins. It includes Native American and old-fashioned pioneer historical exhibits, and games ‚Äì a horseshoe tournament, tug-of-war, and ’40s Big Band music by the Providence Stage Band from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. Enjoy a drink of icy-cold Lents Lansing Linoleum Lemonade. And, back by popular demand: Hot dogs provided by The New Copper Penny, a Lents-area fixture for decades.

Come out and enjoy the fun in Lents! We’ll see you there!

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Cop coverage gets stretched very thin in outer East Portland:
Read crime prevention tips … and learn how to get a booklet that will reduce your chances of being a crime victim …

Crime Prevention Coordinator Rosanne Lee gives valuable tips on home and vehicle safety to Russell Neighborhood Association members, co-chaired by Bonny McKnight.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
More than likely, you – or someone you know – has been a victim of crime.

“You can blame it on the city, or the police department,” began East Portland Crime Prevention Coordinator Rosanne Lee, as she laid out the facts-of-safety to 21 neighbors in Russell, a northeast neighborhood on July 20. “But the fact is, you have to take some responsibility for your own safety.”

Police coverage stretched thin
“The East Precinct of the Portland Police Bureau is short-handed this year. Our police commander and staff work hard to make sure everything is covered,” Lee explained. “But, this very evening, your district [specific area of outer East Portland] almost didn’t get staffed. If there is a major situation, or multiple emergencies, your neighborhood could be without police coverage. Multnomah County has very few deputies available to help with calls.”

Steps toward safety
Lee said that forming a “Neighborhood Watch” program on your street is a good first step. “All you have to do is get your neighbors together, and we’ll train you how to set up and run your Watch program.”

When you see crime happening, or notice a fire, or know someone is in physical danger from someone else, call 9-1-1 for help, she advised. Otherwise, use the non-emergency number, (503) 823-3333.

“The 9-1-1 operators work hard to help you. Just give them the facts. As you speak, they are entering information; it goes immediately to the dispatchers.”

The more accurate and timely information you give them, Lee added, the better. If a vehicle is involved in the crime, get a good description. “Instead of just saying they left in a car, tell the operator it is a red minivan with body damage on the left side, or a loud muffler. Note the direction they went as they left the area. An officer may be able to intercept them.”

“Also, look carefully at what the person is wearing. Look for tattoos or other features like hair and shoes. They may be able to change their shirt; they probably won’t change their shoes!”

Safer parks
Attendees who live near parks asked for advice for keeping these public spaces safer. “The first step is to read and know the park rules. If you see a violation, call the non-emergency number and report it.”

Lee also urged them to consider forming a park foot patrol. “This takes a bit of training for your safety. It’s a good idea to form partner teams. Also, take a dog with you. We’re seeing a growing number of foot patrols.” Some people neighborhood associations have banded together, she added, to gain a large enough pool of volunteers for such patrols.

Car prowls
The main reason neighbors’ vehicles get broken into, Lee explained, is that people continue to leave items of value right in plain view. “Leave a ‘clean’ car. A laptop computer, even a few music CDs visible inside are enough to entice a criminal to smash in a window and grab what they can.”

Lee told the story of a street nearby plagued by car prowls. “A drug-affected young man broke into cars around his Mom’s house. One night, He cut himself on broken glass and left a trail of blood back to his home. It made him easy to catch.” While petty crooks often escape jail time, this one didn’t. “Because neighbors showed at each hearing, he eventually pleaded guilty to 24 charges and went to jail.”

Graffiti
“If you see this kind of vandalism happening, call 9-1-1,” Lee advised. After the fact, you should still report gang graffiti. “The key to controlling graffiti is persistence. If you paint it out often enough, they will go somewhere else.”

Light the night
“Darkness is the criminal’s friend”, the crime prevention expert told her audience. “Outdoor lighting makes your home – and street – much less criminal-friendly.”

Her suggestion: “While it isn’t a well-publicized program, you can get lighting installed in public places.” City officials examine crime statistics and look at the physical location, she said. “If officials agree there is a problem, and affected neighbors can come up with $350, the city will install a street light.”

Do-it-yourself home security program
“The best way to protect yourself,” Lee concluded, “is to complete a ‘Home Security Survey’, based on a document prepared by the police department. What you discover in and around your own home may surprise you.”

Lee suggested inviting a trusted friend or neighbor to help with your security survey. “Using the booklet, they may well see things you don’t.”

The booklet, “Home and Vehicle Security”, a comprehensive guide to increased safety, is available free online. You can find it at the city’s web site. The direct link is: www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=31554 .

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

It is a simple service that drew hundreds of folks to The Grotto: Music, responsive reading and a brief talk. But, it was punctuated with barks, purrs, and the occasional screech. Read why no one seemed to mind the interruptions …

Jami Morgan comes to The Grotto’s alter with her long-haired Chihuahua, Frankie, for a blessing from Father Jack Topper.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Who’d bring their dog to church? Jami Morgan ‚Äì and hundreds of others ‚Äì did just that on July 16. And, for good reason: The event was the annual “Blessing of the Animals”.

“I really love Frankie,” Morgan told us. “He blesses me every day. I thought, today, I’d get a blessing for him.”

During the service, The Grotto’s executive director, Father Jack Topper, OSM, told those at the outdoor gathering, “Animals do something special for us; they make us a little more compassionate toward our fellow humans. ‚Ķ Treat them with love; take care of them, so they will be happy and healthy. And, we know they will take care of us. “

Is that a weasel? “No, this is my buddy Max, a ferret,” explained Tracy Johnston.

Monastery’s pets
After the service, as the pets and owners were disbursing throughout the park, Father Topper confided to us that conducting the service has been difficult for him. “I struggle getting through the ceremony’s opening because we had two dogs. One passed away two years ago, and the other went to sleep last year. They would lead the procession in. In my opening remarks, I’d say the dogs, Shiloh and Utoo, welcome their friends here for the blessing of the animals.”

Topper confessed it’s “little complicated” to have pets in a monastery. “Actually, they belonged to our order. We still have a couple of cats.”

The father said caring for pets gives him, and others in his order, a direct connection to this ceremony. “But more importantly, it reminds us of what companion animals do for us; the lessons they teach us. They bring us unconditional love, comfort, and joy. They don’t judge us. They’re always happy to see us.  Sometime I think people thank God they ‚Äì and we ‚Äì have pets. It is a blessing from God that we have these pets to take care of; and, another blessing, how they take care of us.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See what happens when the local “cop shop” ‚Äì Portland Police East Precinct ‚Äì practices community policing, in the truest sense of the term ‚Ķ

Officer Seth McLaughlin, Portland Police Explosive Unit, introduces their Andros F6a Robot to Avey and Delaney Mills and Kristi Gradwahl at the East Precinct Community Fair.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Under normal circumstances, most people dislike going to the police station ‚Äì especially if they’ve just been caught in a crime and are on their way to jail. Or, they’ve been the victim of a crime, and are going for police help.

But this July 22 event was different. On this Saturday, Portland Police Bureau East Precinct was the site of a community fair, complete with food and fun.

Grilling up sizzling burgers, dogs, and chicken are East Portland Police Cadets Ryan and Craig Budey.

Some of the hundreds of citizens who came by ate lunch, while they got to know the cops who serve them every day.

Citizens took a tour of the precinct facility, learned about the continuing training programs officers receive, and got to chance to see the “inner sanctum” of the police station.

Additionally, neighbors were able to see some of tools used by police — from SERT trucks and gear, to the ANDROS: The bomb-grabbing robot.

Portland Police Bureau Cadets James Trendell, Andrea Ettlin and Kenny Bossen take a look at SERT hardware, under the watchful eye of Officer Scott Reasor.

Offering the lighter side of community police demonstrations, Portland Police Cadets Melissa Sanchez and Leanna Heasley show neighbor Vanita Pearson “The Yo” of community policing.

“The whole idea of having an open house,” explained East Precinct Commander Mike Crebs, “is so that people can come out and see the precinct, the officers, and the equipment that we use to help keep the community safe, every day. When they see us on the street, they’ll have a better understanding of what we do.”

The commander’s family joined him at the open house: They are Lesley Michael, Lauren, and Nick Crebs.

We ask if this fair is a good example of community policing. Crebs responded, “Here, we have the chance to develop a relationship with citizens. One of the things Police Chief Sizer promotes is building trust, developing relationships, as well as the feeling of being able to comfortably communicate with their police force. We’ve opened up the precinct so people can come in and see, for themselves, what we do here. This goes a long way to reduce misunderstanding and mistrust.”

If you missed it this year, do come by for the next precinct fair. You’ll learn a lot and have a good time!

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See why even Portland’s Mayor Tom Potter took time to be part of “A block party to end all block parties” ‚Ķ

The unofficial “Mayor of Montavilla”, Errol Carlson, is credited for being the spark plug who has turned up the excitement for this neighborhood event.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
This year marks the 100th year Montavilla has been incorporated as a part of Portland. As many as a thousand folks turned out for one of the largest ‚Äì and most lively ‚Äì block parties we’ve ever seen.

From a canine judging contest and race (the Pooch-a-Palooza), to hot dogs and ice cream treats, to live entertainment on the street — this July 15 event had a little something for everyone.

Neighbors said the energy to put this event together and run it comes from corner grocery shop keeper Errol Carlson. When we asked participants why they got involved, they ‚Äì to a one ‚Äì answered, “Errol signed me up!”

The main feature of the event, centered at SE 80th and SE Taylor Court, was the Montavilla Parade. At many parades, the entrants just cruise on by. But at this event Carlson stood in the street, and spent a moment or two with every one of the parade’s entrants. Everyone got to know the participant and discover why they were in the parade.

Enjoy our photo album of the event!

Look at all the neighbors, having a great time at the Montavilla Block Party!

Keeping cool on a warm day ‚Äì while helping provide some fun for neighbors ‚Äì is Elaine Hilbert in the Dunk Tank. Why is she doing this? “Errol signed me up!” Hibert said, as she went splashing into the tank ‚Ķ again.

As the parade gets underway, everyone looks for a good vantage point.

Riding in the parade is Portland Mayor Potter, along with honored Montavilla citizen Betty Dodge.

Two newly-crowned beauty queens added their glamour to the parade.

This horse, dressed up for the classy Montavilla Street Party, was wearing his fancy duds.

80th St Review doing “All That Jazz”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

More than just books, your Midland Library hosts many involving events every month; see why this one is just plain cute …

Midland Children’s Librarian Barbara Gorter reads a story to the lively “Sock Hop” group. A couple of the little tykes wandered up to her as Gorter read, and acted out the stories ‚Äì to the distress of their parents! “It’s OK,” Gorter said with a knowing smile to the moms and dads. “As long as they’re not hurting themselves or others, this behavior is age-appropriate.”

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
What, exactly, is a “Toddler Sock Hop”, you might ask?

It’s a fun, interactive learning session, held occasionally at Midland Library. “It is an hour of activities for our youngest patrons,” replied Children’s Librarian Barbara Gorter, “with dancing, reading stories, singing, and doing crafts.”

Another youth librarian, Sue Ciesielski, was helping Gorter during the session. “Look! We have a rousing good time. The idea is help increase literacy. Our learning activities tie in with the songs and rhymes. We make reading fun. And, this class provides the opportunity for toddlers and parents to get together and socialize.”

What are you missing out on at the library? Check out our “Community Calendar” and join in the fun!

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

UPDATE: Learn about the “Stark Street Stroll” on August 8 — See why volunteers installed new benches and planters to invite the harried to relax and enjoy the merchants and restaurants in Montavilla ‚Ķ

One of the teams installing benches and barrel planters in the revitalizing downtown Montavilla area are Maria Sworske, Sandra McDaniel, Jennifer Tamayo, Sarah Selden.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
When Montavilla was incorporated 100 years ago, it was a bastion of civilization as one headed out ot town east of Mt. Tabor. Stark Street was one of the heavily-traveled roads which connected the city with the countryside.

But, in the past few decades, drivers went whizzing west on Stark on their way to downtown ignored the businesses that made up a once-thriving community.

One by one, the stores began to close. The movie theater shut down, and became a printing plant for a weekly shopper.

Revitalizing Montavilla
Last year, several merchants got together and formed the Montavilla/Tabor-East Business Association. Their goal is to buff up this century-old neighborhood business district.

They’re not working alone; they’ve recruited the neighborhood association to help.

On July 8, we caught up with Jennifer Tamayo, chair of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association. “Today we partnering with the Montavilla/Tabor-East Business Association. We’re installing four benches and eight whiskey barrel planters. We’re provide the man-power; they purchased all of the materials.”

Eight volunteers worked on the improvement project that morning.

“The idea is to create a better community on SE Stark St. When it looks better, and more inviting, we feel it will make people ‚Äì both shoppers and potential merchants ‚Äì stop and really consider all the potential of our area,” Tamayo said.

So, next time you’re about to head from the Mall 205 area up over the hill–drive a bit more slowly, and take a look. You’ll see these volunteers are making a visible difference.

UPDATE: “Stark Street Stroll”
The neighborhood will be alive with fun, sidewalk sales and activities on Saturday, August 5. Be sure to stop by and be part of the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Montavilla.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

UPDATE: Learn about the “Stark Street Stroll” on August 8 — See why volunteers installed new benches and planters to invite the harried to relax and enjoy the merchants and restaurants in Montavilla ‚Ķ

One of the teams installing benches and barrel planters in the revitalizing downtown Montavilla area are Maria Sworske, Sandra McDaniel, Jennifer Tamayo, Sarah Selden.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
When Montavilla was incorporated 100 years ago, it was a bastion of civilization as one headed out ot town east of Mt. Tabor. Stark Street was one of the heavily-traveled roads which connected the city with the countryside.

But, in the past few decades, drivers went whizzing west on Stark on their way to downtown ignored the businesses that made up a once-thriving community.

One by one, the stores began to close. The movie theater shut down, and became a printing plant for a weekly shopper.

Revitalizing Montavilla
Last year, several merchants got together and formed the Montavilla/Tabor-East Business Association. Their goal is to buff up this century-old neighborhood business district.

They’re not working alone; they’ve recruited the neighborhood association to help.

On July 8, we caught up with Jennifer Tamayo, chair of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association. “Today we partnering with the Montavilla/Tabor-East Business Association. We’re installing four benches and eight whiskey barrel planters. We’re provide the man-power; they purchased all of the materials.”

Eight volunteers worked on the improvement project that morning.

“The idea is to create a better community on SE Stark St. When it looks better, and more inviting, we feel it will make people ‚Äì both shoppers and potential merchants ‚Äì stop and really consider all the potential of our area,” Tamayo said.

So, next time you’re about to head from the Mall 205 area up over the hill–drive a bit more slowly, and take a look. You’ll see these volunteers are making a visible difference.

UPDATE: “Stark Street Stroll”
The neighborhood will be alive with fun, sidewalk sales and activities on Saturday, August 5. Be sure to stop by and be part of the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Montavilla.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Read this article and learn how one business association is participating in Mayor Tom Potter’s visionPDX program; and why you should, also ‚Ķ

Jean Baker and David Ashton “pick the brains” of business people as part of the mayor’s visionPDX process, discovering the values and desires of business people in the Gateway Area

Story by Watford Reed; photos by Frank Ryan
Answers poured out, when members of the Gateway Area Business Association were asked to tell what they think of Portland, and what they’d like to see changed.

David F. Ashton, a local newsman and communications consultant, was the facilitator of this “visionPDX” session, co-hosted by Jean Baker, vice president of the Alliance of Neighborhood Business Associations and president of Division-Clinton Business Association. Because of Baker’s diligent efforts, Ashton said, businesspeople had the opportunity to participate in this city-wide program.

Ashton asked participants to keep their “druthers” short, and registered about 40 of them as he, and Jean Baker, solicited views from businesspeople in this outer East Portland community.

At the meeting, Ashton began by asking those attending what they valued most about Portland–and why. The answers ranged from the climate and the people, to diversity of geography, individuals and businesses. “People are warm and friendly,” one member said.

Others said Portland is a “clean-looking city”; it has a “small town feeling” and good schools; “if a neighborhood goes down, people work to build it up again”.

When one member said he likes the parks and green spaces in Portland, Ashton asked how many others felt that way. About three-fourths of the crowd raised hands in agreement.

Immediate changes requested
His next question sought their wishes for changes in Portland.

Cleaner rivers were mentioned first, along with lower prices for gasoline. More support for schools and more light rail and other modes of transportation followed, then training for city and county officials ‚Äì “they don’t seem to have much business experience.”

One man urged “no more taxes or fees” without approval in an election; another called for more jail space to hold lawbreakers.

Ashton then asked what Portland should “be like, if all our hopes and dreams come true, in 20 years”.

Less traffic congestion, and lower pollution of streams, were among the answers. Others said that when “government asks for a new program, revenue sources are specifically identified.” Others demanded zero-based budgets; “no fat children”, lower crime, shutting down drug trafficking, and less prostitution.

Several members agreed that sounder economic development programs should be in place.

Action steps
The climax of the session came when Ashton elicited the most important steps that needed to be taken to reach the lofty dreams put forth for the city.

Less crowding of housing, and more space between houses, were the first items mentioned. A “fairer tax system” and “election of business operators to public office instead of politicos” were urged. So was accountability for city officials.

In closing, members were invited to tell others they knew, that they can also participate in “visionPDX” by going online to www.apnba.com, and following the link to the on-line questionnaire.

On their way out, members of the business association made it clear that they were pleased their answers to these vital questions would be included in the mayor’s vision plan.

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