This weekend

FRIDAY

Training for volunteering with OPAL. This event was on the City of Portland’s website, so I have to assume they’re doing work that encourages safe interactions with public safety officers.

“Due to our strong stance against militarization of public space, many people have been reaching out to volunteer with OPAL. We maintain our belief that militarization of transit is a false solution. We require all new volunteers to participate in on boarding to make sure that they understand our goals and values.”

OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon 3202 SE 82nd Ave., Suite B * 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

I don’t know what to think of this, but it came up on my Facebook feed last night, and it’s on the same topic of police encounters, so I’m sharing the video below. There’s tons of progress to be made regarding police accountability, but it’s a difficult job and it’s best to follow their instructions, know your rights, and deescalate, deescalate, deescalate.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/224499480″>Criminal Illusions</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/freeartsnw”>Free Arts NW</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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Sometimes the best way to learn about your neighborhood is to just take a walk. Last weekend I learned that the former location of Duff’s Garage (RIP) has been reopened at Eastside Bar & Grill (FB page and show listing). They’re still booking bands, the owner said, with a little more variety than before.

I don’t know anything about the bands playing Friday, but I’m going to assume it’s not polka: Rotting Slab, Damage Overdose, Kinnefret (CA), BattleAxe Massacre. If that’s your kind of thing… enjoy!

Eastside Bar & Grill, 2530 NE 82nd * 9 pm – 2 am * ???

SATURDAY

 

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It’s wrong to play favorites with all the awesome organizations working hard to make East Portland a better place to live, but the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, is doing consistently doing interesting interesting community-building work. They hosted the Portland City Council this week, and just announced MicCheck!, a cultural event series.

It all kicks off July 25th, with a film “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs”. The trailer and more info is here.

APANO is also hosting an info session on arts grants from Portland Institute for Contemporary Art:

“Many of you have seen the value of the Precipice Fund (provides critical support for artist-driven organizations, projects, initiatives, and publications that exist on the edge of new practice) grants program and what it can mean to the Portland, Astoria, and Eugene artists’ communities, especially at a time when artists and small, unincorporated artist-run spaces and collectives are facing unprecedented challenges in a rapidly gentrifying city.”

PICA info session, APANO JAMS, 8114 SE Division St * 1 pm – 2:30 pm 

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What’s another excellent group working hard in East Portland? Green Lents. Their Garage Sale is Saturday. The sales are all over Lents, and the map is here.

Lents neighborhood * 9 am – 3 pm

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Join Grow Portland for a Hands-On Seed Saving class. Register here.

“Join us for this daylong class on how to save seeds from the garden. Seed saving is a fascinating, useful and satisfying garden pastime — whether you are interested in saving money, preserving genetic diversity, connecting with the seasons, providing pollinator habitat, or supporting local community self-reliance.”

What to bring: lunch, notebook, hat, gloves, water, sun protection, questions and a camera (optional).

Menlo Park school garden, 12900 NE Glisan St * 10 am – 3 pm * pay what you will 

SUNDAY

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This should be interesting. The Annual Blessing of the Animals at The Grotto (a Catholic outdoor shrine and sanctuary). Here‘s a link to its history.

“People and pets of all faiths are welcome.  (Pets must be properly restrained.) We give thanks for the joy, the beauty, the love, the fidelity, the encouragement and the comfort that our animal companions have given to us.”

8840 NE Skidmore St * 2 pm – 3 pm 

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Academy Theater’s summer series features The Goonies all weekend!

7818 SE Stark St * 11:40 am, 4:15 pm, 9:35 pm * $4 for adults, $3 for youth and senior citizens

 

A livability tour of Lents with neighborhood advocate Jennifer Young

Three months ago, the Portland City Council came to Lents for a town hall meeting on Lents Park and livability issues. Based on the anniversary and the fact that the city Council is returning for a meeting tonight (FB invitation), I thought it’d be a good idea to revisit the issues raised.

82nd Avenue City Council Meeting * Jade/APANO Multi-Cultural Space, 8114 SE 81st Ave * Tuesday, July 11, 5:45 pm – 8 pm

On Sunday, July 9th, I took a tour with Jennifer Young, a neighborhood advocate and the person who organized the town hall in April (our story on the meeting). She said there has been some progress, including better management of Lents Park and tighter rules for dangerous RVs being used as homes.

Young is out on the street almost daily, she said, and sometimes devotes nearly 40 hours per week working with her neighbors. We had a wide-ranging conversation about City enforcement, homeless advocates, the anti-sweep resolution passed by the Montavilla Neighborhood Association, and several other topics.

Young said she has been assisting leadership in other neighborhood, and seems very open to share what she knows about working with the different levels of government and homeless advocates.

After recently attending a meeting in Foster Powell, Young said they are having serious livability concerns as well. She recommended the City’s One Point of Contact for neighbors having problems with nearby homeless campers.

Her concern seems more about fighting lawlessness rather than homelessness, but listen for yourself:

I picked out a few highlights if you’re pressed for time:

0:00 – We start the tour at Lents Park. She said the City is chaining off the parking lot every night, so Young counts that as progress. No Overnight Parking signs were installed almost immediately after the town hall, she said.

2:15 – The City has established new tow policies for RVs, Young said, and about a month ago the City towed the first two occupied vehicles. She said the RVs have to be a bio-hazard or serious livability concern to trigger the new policy.

15:15 – Young talks about how she organizes action alerts to help neighbors report problems.

20:20 – Young said the anti-homeless sweep resolution passed by the Montavilla Neighborhood Association doesn’t make sense for Lents, a neighborhood that has much more homeless camping.

Just one camp in April had 30 homeless people, and she said when the police intervened, 18 had warrants and many were sex offenders.

29:40 – Young points out that many long-term homeless Lents neighbors who don’t cause trouble (one in the same place for seven years), have suffered when more lawless out of town campers moved in.

33:30 – Young talks about the availability of in-patient drug treatment options, and that there are usually spots available.

39:30 – Clackamas County service providers are offering services to Lents homeless, Young said. She thinks it’s wrong because Clackamas County doesn’t allow camping, and their services are drawing more campers to the Lents neighborhood.

1:03:00 – Young said the City hasn’t been offering “wrap services” lately. Wrap services bring a team of service workers out into the field to help homeless folk. Seattle handles it better, and she recommended this hour-long documentary on the topic that shows them in action

1:11:00 – Young tells a story about a conversation with an RV dweller who she says is a notorious drug dealer, and her focus on crime rather than homelessness. (There are gaps in the recording because she didn’t want to name one of the drug dealers.)

I’ve talked with a lot of different Portlanders dedicated to this issue lately: Young on Sunday and MNA chair Jonnie Shaver last week. I think it’s important to hear different opinions on the topic, and let people tell their stories.

Even in the face of differing opinions, strong emotions, and slow progress, I believe it’s important to maintain a level of mutual respect— because these are people taking time out of their lives to get involved.

Neighbors discuss homeless sweep resolution at MNA board meeting

I was a bit late starting recording the meeting. But basically it started with Jonnie Shaver, Montavilla Neighborhood Association board chair, welcoming everyone.  He said there wouldn’t be a vote on removing the current board, though apparently some neighbors thought that was going to happen at this meeting.

Shaver said the Office of Neighborhood Involvement wouldn’t allow it tonight, and as you can hear on the recording, he said a process for the recall vote needed to be figured out because it’s “pretty unprecedented”. A representative from Southeast Uplift, who facilitated the meeting, said elections wouldn’t be held until October. They seemed to have a difference of opinion on the possibility of a recall vote, so we need to find who’s correct.

If you’re brand new to the issue, the MNA passed a resolution asking the City to stop homeless sweeps in the neighborhood. The resolution was covered by most every Portland media house, as was opposition from some neighbors.

Here’s a story I wrote on the issue last week. A town hall meeting on the issue is scheduled for July 29th, follow the link for its time and location. I’m working on building an audience for Village Portland through channels beyond Facebook, so the best way to keep up with my coverage of East Portland is to subscribe by email.

About 150 people attended the Monday, July 10th meeting, filling the room at Montavilla UMC. The board meeting began at 6:30 pm, so everyone had to wait while the board finished their business and then took a break. The meeting was about as contentious as expected, with many of Portland’s homeless advocates in attendence.

I was set to video the meeting, but Shaver said they had taken care of that. I’m not sure when that will be shared. I took this audio recording as a backup, but next time I think recording m own video would be quicker and more helpful.

One point the homeless advocates kept making was that when the sweeps happen, all the campers belongings get thrown away. So was the City of Portland not following their own court-mandated rules?

The Anderson Agreement came out of a court case, and requires the City to give notice and to hold the possessions of homeless folks when a camp is swept. I went into more detail about it in the story linked above.

I caught up with advocate and Right to Dream Too (here’s a film I made about the homeless rest area) founder Ibrahim Mubarak after the meeting to get some clarity on that point. I was glad to hear that he said the City was meeting that agreement, but it was still hard for homeless folks to get to the storage space and to get their possessions back to their home area on public transportation. Also, he said mentally ill people sometimes aren’t able to figure out where to go to retrieve their possessions.

I’m not sure if any progress was made at the meeting, though a few neighbors seemed willing to get more involved. If you have any questions about the meeting, feel free to make a comment on Facebook or this site. I can be reached at andrewtaylorwilkins@gmail.com as well.

 

This weekend

It’s definitely worth mentioning: the Portland City Council is coming back to East Portland this week.

This is just over three months since they met in Lents for a town hall. I’ve heard som grumbling about some of the issues and promises made at that first meeting, so I’m glad they’re returning.

This week we’re going to get an update on all the promises and possibilities laid out in that town hall to assist with keeping them accountable.

Jade/APANO Multi-Cultural Space, 8114 SE 81st Ave * 5:45 pm – 8 pm

FRIDAY

FirstFridayPoster-website.pngTonight is the first First Friday in Montavilla! A bunch of businesses are hosting special arts & music events, I’ve seen. And includes both Glisan St and Stark St. And what a beautiful flyer…

“It’s a great excuse to get outside, explore local businesses, and have some fun with neighbors, friends and family.”

“This year, we are providing First Friday passports. Passport holders will get stickers when they visit participating businesses. After September’s event, a winner will be drawn from submitted passports. The winner will receive a basket of Montavilla treats valued at upwards of $500.”

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“Playing a mix of old R&B, Dixie, NOLA, and gypsy jazz, the Hot Club Time Machine comes from the past to show the future how to Swing! Included are drums, bass, horn, guitar, and accordion/keys.”
The O’Neill Public House, 6000 NE Glisan * 9:30 pm – 1 am * free

SATURDAY

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New to the United States, or know someone who is?

East Portland’s Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization “supports immigrants, refugees and mainstream community members to become self-sufficient. We strive in our programming, outreach and education to foster understanding, compassion and communication between Oregon’s established communities and newest arrivals.”

IRCO is hosting a Community Needs Assessment Conference to identify needs of immigrant communities, set goals to reach those needs, and provide progress updates and resources to those communities. If you’re an immigrant or refugee, here’s the form to register.

If you and your ancestors been here a while and you’d like to volunteer to help the newly arrived get settled, their sign up form is here.

Sokhom Tauch Community Center, 10301 NE Glisan Street * 8 am – 4 pm 

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The Midland Park Tree Inventory: “Join community volunteers in identifying, mapping, and measuring every tree in the park to help us better understand and utilize the amazing resource that is Portland’s urban forest!” Register here.

Midland Park, SE 122nd Ave & Morrison St (east side of park, next to Midland Library parking lot) * 8:30 am – noon

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When I was up on Alberta Street for the first Last Thursday of the season, I got to thinking. Last Thursday, First Thursday, First Friday aren’t just events, they’re neighborhood development tools. Tools that can be mapped over to new and upcoming communities. It’s cool to see more street fairs and other interesting events pop up, and see neighborhoods learning from nearby neighborhoods.

Or maybe I just wanted you to watch my Last Thursday video… When I first moved to Portland Last Thursday was awesome, then it got too crowded to see art and appreciate the music… but somehow it’s been restored to its old glory.

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Over on Foster, this is going on Saturday:

“A Family friendly tasting tour that coincides with Second Saturday! (Website) Come out for tastes of everything from booze to board games. Participating businesses along Foster Road will have specials for the day and there will be presentations by non-retail businesses as well; the event is family friendly, other than a few bars that are 21 and over. The event coincides with the Second Saturday Art Walk, so there will be galleries showing a wide range of art as well.”
SE Foster Rd & 66th-ish, 2 pm – 10 pm * free

SUNDAY

More goodness from IRCO, celebrating 40 years of service :

“You and your family are welcome to enjoy free lunch, fun activities, games, and FREE community center passes! Plus, we’ll tell you how you can stay cool – and SAFE – this summer at our pools (both outdoors and indoors), park splash pads and fountains for water play fun, and the new Poet’s Beach, which opens Thursday, July 13, 2017!”

IRCO’s Sokhom Tauch Community Center, 10301 NE Glisan Street * 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm

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Both the Montavilla and Lent Farmers Market are open Sundays!

Lents Farmers Market, SE 92nd Ave & Reedway St, between Foster and Harold * 9 am – 2 pm 

Montavilla Farmers Market, 7700 block of SE Stark St * 10 am – 2 pm

Opinions differ on how to approach homeless camps, town hall on MNA sweeps resolution has been scheduled

A date and location has been found for a town hall meeting about the Montavilla Neighborhood Association’s resolution asking the City of Portland to end homeless camp sweeps.

The meeting will be held on Saturday, July 29th from 10 am to noon at Montavilla UMC (232 SE 80th Ave), said Jonnie Shaver, chair of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association.

There will be a facilitator from Resolutions Northwest, a non-profit that promotes “dialogue to solve conflict and advance racial and social justice”, and a presentation from a panel, Shaver said. Other other details are still being firmed up.

The MNA resolution was announced June 20, and about a week later a group of neighbors posted an online petition rejecting the resolution. As of Thursday 156, have signed the petition. The MNA responded with a detailed set of FAQs on the resolution and agreed to host a town hall meeting on the issue.

MNA sweeps resolution

The Resolution Against Homeless Camps Sweeps resolution said that the sweeps are an ineffective waste of taxpayer dollars that probably are unconstitutional.

“Whether or not rights are violated, the sweeps are inhumane and do not result in positive outcomes for the homeless or for adjacent housed residents as the camps almost always return days, weeks, or months later or migrate to another neighborhood becoming another neighborhood’s problem.”

The funds used for sweeps would be better used to create long-term solutions, the 11-member board concluded.

According to the FAQs, the MNA board said neighbors should “try to dialogue with camp residents and make an attempt at a positive relationship with them” and contact the City if there’s an issue with trash. The MNA board is working on helping the homeless and the impact of their camping. More details on how to get involved are later in the story.

Both sides acknowledge that the city will continue to follow up on citizen complaints about homeless camps. In a Portland Tribune story, City officials argue that the term “sweeps” isn’t accurate, and they have to follow rules stemming from a 2012 court ruling called the Anderson agreement.

Petition against sweeps ban

Jeff Church wrote the first draft of the petition criticizing the MNA resolution. Church works in Southeast industrial district near the Morrison Bridge, and lives just outside the Montavilla boundaries. 

He said he has seen a lot of problems where he works like thefts, assaults, vandalism, and firethat he associates with homeless camps in the area. It has gotten better since Hales reversed his six-month experiment allowing camping in the City.

Church said he’s all for helping people, but thinks the current system is just enabling people who are homeless.

“It’s not compassionate to let them remain in that situation,” Church said. “There are other options than letting them do whatever they want.”

He said a group of about ten neighbors thinks that the resolution wasn’t based on consensus and didn’t have proper neighborhood involvement. The petition also states that the sweeps aren’t supposed to “fix the homeless problem. They were created to solve issues of public nuisance, health and safety.”

Church said he doesn’t expect much out of the town hall, and isn’t sure he’ll even be let inside because he doesn’t live in the neighborhood. He said he expects it to be stacked with people who already agree with the board and that anybody else will be shouted down.

Eight of ten of the people that organized the petition live in neighborhood, and the others are just over the border. The petition’s first draft was written by him because some of the other people against the MNA resolution were frightened that there would be reprisals if they put their name on it. “They didn’t want to be marked,” he said. 

He said he had already been banned from the MNA Facebook Group, so he had nothing to lose. He thinks there’s an authoritarian attitude and intolerance to dissenting opinions on the MNA FB Group, and the way sweeps resolution was decided is a continuation of that trend.

The FB Group ban happened when he gave historical context to a conversation about Japanese internment camps. His comment was called racist, and since he he was banned immediately he wasn’t able to defend the statement or add context. Being removed from the FB group is a “bummer” because it’s the best way to learn about what’s going on with the neighborhood, he said. 

Church said he doesn’t think people join a board to push an agenda, they do it to help the community. It makes sense, in his opinion, if the board works on street fairs or host warming shelters, but he said he thinks the sweeps resolution was overreach.

There was one board member who didn’t vote for the resolution, who is a friend, Church said. The dissenting board member told Church that he warned them that there would be criticism from the neighborhood.

Resolution blow back

Shaver said he absolutely got on the MNA board to work on homeless issues, because they weren’t being addressed on a neighborhood level. He volunteers for several different organizations, and while the City says a board position should occupy six to ten hours a month, he devotes about 40 hours a month to MNA work.

In an interview on July 4th, Shaver said he didn’t expect resolution to be so controversial.

Somebody showed up uninvited at a board member’s house, he said, there has been anger and threats, and he said she is worried about more reprisal right now. He didn’t want to specify who received the visit or discuss any other details of that incident.

In light of the criticism, I asked him if she would have done anything differently.

“The [neighborhood association meeting] agenda could have been more clear, otherwise  it’s [the resolution] in line with work we have already been doing.”

On the question of buy in, he said the board made their decision based on research, and did get buy in from some neighbors and organizations like JOIN and Rahab Sisters (where he volunteers), organizations that are experienced in serving homeless populations. He said the criticism has come from only a small group of people. 

I asked her if he learned anything from his volunteer work, and the sweeps resolution.

“Not all neighbors agree all the time…” He paused. “It’s a difficult time right now, we’re getting threats, and a lot of aggressive hostile attention. It’s abnormal for how the board functions, most of time people ignore us and let us do our work.”

 

The MNA has a Housing & Homeless Committee that meets once a month, with about ten people at each meeting, Shaver said. For more information contact: housing-homelessness [at] montavillapdx.org.

The committee ran a warming shelter for four days during the snowy months this winter, and Shaver said he gives out food regularly. In the works is a plan to work with Multnomah County to deal with sharps, based on neighbors’ concerns. They also want to make more public toilets available, mapping the charity resources in the neighborhood, and start a food share program.

 

Montavilla business survey

The ability to distribute information has radically changed over the past few decades.

Printing and distribution used to require massive amounts of time and effort— but the internet has changed all that. Today you can reach the much of the planet’s population with a free website and the click of a button.

In a connected world, everyone is your customer— but also every one is your competition. That goes for small businesses as well as media.

So much of what truly impacts people happens on the neighborhood. That new apartment building, that fired school principal, that string of burglaries that isn’t quite dramatic enough to make the local news.

Facebook groups and Nextdoor highlight the appetite for neighborhood-based news and information, but even though I’ve been working on this project for a while, I’m still hesitant to wade through 100+ acidic FB comments or all the neighbors trying to sell something on ND.

Funding neighborhood-based reporting is the key, however. Publishing on the web is incredibly cheap, but I don’t think anyone should have to work for free. Starting with Montavilla, I think we can put a part-time reporter in every neighborhood— it’s one of the primary goals of Village Portland.

The other foundational goal is to connect local businesses and organizations to their neighbors. It’s not easy to sift through the entire internet to find a business a few blocks away, and I think we can do better.

Right now, if you’re a small business owner, I’d like your feedback on neighborhood news and marketing. I need to know how Village Portland can help connect you to your neighbors, and I think this survey is a good start.

Thanks,

Andrew Wilkins

This weekend

FRIDAY

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Please let me promote your organization’s events as much as I do the ones I know well.

Instead of a First Friday for July, Milepost 5 (where I live and volunteer) is having an opening reception (FB invitation) for a group show tonight. “Typos” feature work from five Portland-based artists: Abigail Freed, August Stanley, Erin Law, Frankie Bruiser, Shay Myerson. There is one typo in this paragraph; since I’m a one-man shop sans editors beyond myself, let this be the first 10 cent typo bounty.

“There will be food and refreshments and possibly live music (TBD)!”

Milepost 5 Gallery, 850 NE 81st * 7 pm – 10 pm * free 

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Pepper Grinders (FB profile) play at O’Neill Public House.

“Using the cream of the crop of amazing Portland players, the band is dedicated to the sound of the jump blues bands and the screaming sax greats from the late 40s and early 50s.”

O’Neill Public House * 9:30 pm – 1 am * free 

SATURDAY

The last day to sign up (here) for the Lents Garage sale is July 5th. It will be held Saturday, July 15, from 9 am – 3 pm.

“The Lents Neighborhood Garage Sale is a new neighborhood-wide event made up of many individual garage sales hosted at participating homes or businesses. This one-day event provides the opportunity for Lents residents (the boundary is the 97266 zip code) to add their sale to our Garage SaleMap that will be available both in print and online. On the day of the sale, shoppers can access multiple sales, meet neighbors, and explore the neighborhood!”

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