This weekend

Journalist and educator Lisa Loving and I definitely share a passion for community reporting and the need to help shape how media and reporting is evolving.

She asked me to speak about my work at a signing for her new book: “Street Journalist: Understand and Report the News in Your Community” this week.

I am thankful for her input on the work we’re doing, the opportunity to speak, and the entire evening’s discussion.

Ask for Loving’s book at your local bookstore, or purchase it online at Powell’s.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27TH

Montavilla movies:

Academy Theater, 7818 SE Stark St * show times *  $4 for adults, $3 for youth & seniors

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28TH

Learn more about the Johnson Creek Floodplain (event):

“Join us for a free, family-friendly event to learn more about the Johnson Creek floodplain and how to protect your family from flooding. Enjoy games, crafts, and raffle prizes. Grab a donut, coffee, or hot chocolate on us!

Representatives from Reed College, the Wharton School of Risk Management, Hagan Hamilton Insurance, and City of Portland Environmental Services will be available… “

Zenger Farm, 11741 SE Foster Rd * 9 am – 11 am

***

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 29TH

Montavilla Farmers Market (website):

Sunday is the last regular Montavilla Farmers Market of the season. Keep an eye out for markets for both Thanksgiving and Christmas!

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

***

Parkrose Trunk or Treat (event): 

Parkrose High School, 12003 NE Shaver St * 4 pm – 6 pm

This weekend

The Montavilla Neighborhood Association has their election earlier this week.

According to their Facebook page, the new board consists of: Brad Donahue, Peter Emerson, Louise Hoff, Lindsey Johnson, Alice King, Matt Moore, and Ron Thrasher.

It’s good to see so many people step up to serve. It makes me wonder about the nearly 100 other neighborhoods in this city and how they are represented.

***

Portland neighbors put a lot of work into their neighborhood associations, but after a considerable time with a front-row seat at several, the institution always seems to attract trouble. Is this just the nature of humanity, or trying around geography? You’d think common ground was a good place to start.

While the conversation has been around how to bring new groups to the table, I’ve been wondering how we could fix the current system. Reform to the grievance system and more support and training to help board members encourage engagement are my first ideas…

If you have ideas, I’d like to hear them, and will be starting a story soon to bring more ideas forward. Thanks for reading and being involved as we work together to improve civic engagement.

***

This is the second of a five-episode series that played on Open Signal earlier this year. The series is a compilation of Village Portland videos that feature Portlanders organizing events and serving their community.

In this episode, we feature the annual Halloween party at Burnside Skatepark; the Portland Krampus Walk; a performance at a MLK celebration; a visit to the Grotto for their Christmas choir concerts; an interview with the designer of the Cascadian flag; and a look at the City of Portland’s Sunday Parkways.

HALLOWEEN FUN

Haunted Ghost Town (event):

This weekend and next weekend as well…

‘“Where History Won’t Die’, Portland’s newest haunted attraction!” 

Rossi Farms, 3839 NE 122nd Ave * adult $12, youth $8 * 7 pm – 9:30 pm

PSU’s Homeless Research & Action Collaborative presents

By CORY ELIA

Since its creation in 2018, the Portland State University‘s Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative has dove headfirst into research and advocacy work centered around better approaches to handling the houselessness situation in Portland and abroad.

Several graduate students projects were presented for the HRAC at PSU’s Native American Student and Community Center on Thursday, October 10, 2019.

Stefanie Knowlton, a communications specialist with the center, introduced the speakers. “Research only matters or matters most when it reaches people,” Knowlton stated “We want people to understand and care about the effort to prevent and solve homelessness on our campus and in our community,” she went on to say that the research presented at the event is meant to inspire others to do similar work. She then introduced Dr. Marisa Zapata.

Hear more from Zapata on Elia’s podcast Tripp-p:

Before giving her speech, Dr. Zapata acknowledged the local tribes which inhabited the land that PSU occupies, and asking for a moment of silence out of respect for them. The entire room went silent to honor Zapata’s request.

Zapata recently published a study that shows that there are possibly as many as 38,000 people in the tri-county area who could be classifiable as living in an unstable housing situation or houseless. 

Read more…

Portland Street Response information session held for those interested in volunteer crisis work program

By CORY ELIA

Ben Brubaker speaking to attendees of CAHOOTS crisis worker training

When I was invited to the first of what is hoped to be many training sessions for those seeking to work as crisis workers for Portland Street Response I wasn’t sure what to expect. The invitation came from a local outreach group leader and White Bird-trained crisis worker Ree Campbell.

The training session was attended by around three dozen different advocacy and outreach group members affiliated with a wide number of organizations, most of them not representative of their organizations, instead there personally for the training. 

In November, Portland City Council will vote on the Portland Street Response pilot project. Both Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Jo Anne Hardesty support the program, and $500,000 have already been allocated for it. Currently, working groups are deciding details of the pilot project, and Pamplin Media reported in mid-September that there is a disagreement on whether it should be administered by the Portland Fire Bureau or a third-party contractor.

The training for this session was a deeply comprehensive explanation of Eugene, Oregon’s CAHOOTS (Critical Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) model held at Taborspace on 54th and Belmont, late last month. The crisis workers’ role in Portland Street Response, which is being based on CAHOOTS), was the focus of the training.

Oregonian / OregonLive reports: “Homeless Portlanders want mental health, crisis support instead of weapons in first responders”

The main speaker was Ben Brubaker of White Bird Clinic. 

Brubaker gave a history of White Bird Clinic, CAHOOTS, and their histories not only in Eugene— but also with the Oregon Country Fair— providing medical and crisis services. “We started off at the Oregon Country Fair with a couple of band-aids and saying we are the medical clinic and now we are the fifth or sixth largest ER in the state during the weekend of the country fair.” This was answered by cheers from the attendees. 

The CAHOOTS program is staffed by volunteers from the community. The Portland Street Response program is also planned to be run by volunteers, Brubaker said.

He went on to share some of the interactions he has had as a CAHOOTS crisis worker, including a story about a call that appeared to be an individual in a mental health crisis— but it ended up being a diabetic episode.

Brubaker then spoke on several different facets of the role of the crisis worker, but placed a special emphasis on how the interactions with mentally distressed or houseless individuals in a crisis state should be approached.

He explained that White Bird’s philosophy is that everyone deserves respect for their beliefs and personal experiences, and that the crisis worker’s role is to provide help where possible with the minimal amount of intervention needed to de-escalating an situation. 

The use of self in the situation was another topic he touched on and how and that the crisis worker is the most valuable tool in the situation but to not be disheartened “if it isn’t resolved as hoped”. He elaborated on the use of voice during a situation and that you should “use the other person’s volume like a scaffolding” and that the worker should use a form of speech they feel the person having the issue will be most comfortable with. 

For example, you wouldn’t want to speak super professionally with someone speaking with a lot of street slang. He also explained that a crisis worker should pay attention to their tone and not try to speak over the person. Several other main statements he made about being a crisis worker were “Speak with integrity”, “Don’t make assumptions”, and that a crisis worker who might have a bad interaction in the field should not take it personally.

“Body language can tell a lot about a person”, demonstrating how crossed arms show irritation. He explained that some people might not realize they are showing slightest signs of agitation by making facial expressions, and how that could be picked up on by the clients they are working with. 

According to Brubaker, a crisis worker trainee will need to complete 500 hours of rigorous training in the field and pass multiple progress and proficiency examinations before being officially declared as a CAHOOTS crisis worker.

The crisis worker will also be required to keep track of the interactions they have in a logbook which they must also be trained to properly fill out. Training should be able to completed in around six months to a year.

Brubaker also shared that he is concerned that Portland’s Street Response might not be set up how he and other CAHOOTS workers feel it might be most effective. They envision a series of six or more teams in the different neighborhoods in Portland working together instead of it being one large team answering calls out of a specific headquarters. 

Several advocates in attendance also expressed to Village Portland, that they are frustration with the local street paper Street Roots, Portland State University’s Homeless Research & Action Collaborative, and Hardesty‘s Office because it has so far appeared to those advocates, that they are trying to recruit crisis workers from PSU’s social worker program instead of the advocates, outreach workers, and groups that are already doing the work on the ground.

The whole event lasted over two hours and future trainings are already being planned.

Boots on the Ground PDX will be announcing events through their Facebook page here. The events are open to anyone who wants to get the training to be a Portland Street Response volunteer.

***

Cory Elia is a journalist, photographer, videographer, documentary director & producer, radio personality & podcaster. His journalistic focus is on politics, protest, and poverty.

Contact Cory:

Facebook: Cory Elia
Twitter: @therealcoryelia


Montavilla School Part 2: The Progressive Era

By PATRICIA SANDERS

In the first decade of the 20th Century, schools became a lot more fun. It was an era of reform, when throughout the country ideas about all kinds of improvements were in the air.

In the realm of education, reformers wanted to move away from traditional academic norms towards something more effective and engaging. They advocated taking into account how children learn. And many thought there should be closer a connection between school and the “real world”. 

Montavilla School, c. 1918
Source: Portland Archives A2012-30 (photo by Mt Hood Studio)

A new way of learning could take place outside the classroom, with activities like gardening. And manual training programs could make learning more hands on and practical. Teachers could supplement book learning with projected slides and tangible objects children could actually handle.  

This was a heady— and exciting— agenda, but as Multnomah County Superintendent of Schools RF Robinson put it in 1902, this was “an age of invention and progress” requiring new methods in our schools. Capturing the new spirit of educational reform, The Times of Portland issued a plea in 1912 for the right of children “to shout, to play, to enjoy life— as Nature intended.”

The topic of how Montavilla School changed under the impact of the new thinking is so vast that I’ve decided to divide it into two parts. And since an important aspect of the “new learning” was training the body as well as the mind, in this article I’ll focus mainly on the increased emphasis on school sports.

But first, some practical concerns

As we will see, new methods and new curricula would gather momentum at Montavilla School, but in the opening years of the 20th Century the focus was mainly on dealing with the results of Montavilla’s burgeoning population. As more homes were built and more families moved into Montavilla, the school population grew accordingly. More classrooms and teachers were needed, which meant more assessments on taxpayers and more debt. 

Enough money was raised for new classrooms to be built in 1904, 1907, and 1912. There was even enough revenue to build an assembly hall in 1912. With these latest additions, Montavilla School became one of the largest schools in Portland. But parents and teachers wanted not just sufficient classrooms and a large meeting space, but also a better library. And they succeeded in creating what the Oregonian of January 3, 1902 described as the best school library in Multnomah County.

Montavilla children’s neighborhood clean-up

Along with practical concerns, in the early years of the new century we begin to see that learning sometimes taking place outside the classroom, in the real world. In May 1903, for example, Principal N.W. Bowland and his pupils decided to undertake a community service project— hoping to make Montavilla one of Portland’s cleanest suburbs. Such a project would offer lessons in responsibility and civic engagement, other ideals of the reformers.

Each day after school, some 200 – 250 pupils (more than half the student population) worked to collect  several tons of tin cans and other trash—most probably from vacant lots, where such things were often discarded in the days before organized trash collection. The debris was carted off and dumped in unused wells and cisterns. (Buried “treasures” beneath your gardens?)

As a reward, the participating children were treated to an electric trolley ride all the way to St. Johns and a picnic in Cedar Park. Reportedly the excited children were waking their parents in the wee hours of the morning to make sure they’d have their picnic lunches ready when it was time to board the trolley at 10 am.

Calisthenics and parades

Portland School Children Drilling on Multnomah Field for Annual Exhibition (Oregonian June 9, 1908)
Source: Historical Oregon Newspapers

Physical fitness was increasingly emphasized in schools, and a popular method in the early 20th Century was calisthenics, exercises practiced by both boys and girls. One intriguing example is routines with Indian clubs, which Principal Bowman led in the 1908 Annual Children’s Drill at Multnomah Field (now Providence Park).

(You can see a 1904 film of this exercise on YouTube here.)

Shattuck Public School Children Marching in the Rose Festival Parade, 1909
Source: Portland Archives, A2011-014.22 

Organized drills based on calisthenic exercises were the main component of the Children’s Parade (or the Rosebud Parade), perhaps the most popular feature of the Rose Festival from its beginning in 1907. 

Each school, including Montavilla, performed these synchronized drills as they marched in formation down Grand Avenue. Awards and prizes were offered for the best displays. As a reward for all their after school practice, Montavilla School children, in 1910, took second place for the prestigious Manley Cup.

An enthusiastic press heralded the stamina and discipline of all the children as demonstrations of the value of physical culture exercises in the schools.

Note: The last Rosebud Parade took place in 1917. A children’s parade as a feature of the Rose Festival was revived in 1936 and continues to this day.

Team sports

Momentum for physical education was also building in the area of team sports. In 1908, Portland public schools launched the Grammar School Athletic League and began its operation with a baseball league. The Montavilla School baseball team played its first game of the season against its old rival Mount Tabor School

In 1909 a football league was launched, with Montavilla among the 13 member schools. Football at that time was almost exclusively an eastside sport; only one of the 13 teams was from west of the Willamette.

For safety’s sake, the teams were divided into three sections: lightweights, averaging about 108 pounds, heavy-medium weights 112 pounds and heavyweights 125 -130 pounds. Montavilla’s Principal Bowland was one of four principals in charge of heavyweights.

Montavilla School football team (Oregonian December 5, 1909)
Source: Historic Oregon Newspapers

Some were concerned that football was too rough and soccer was introduced as an alternative in grammar school in 1911 by P. Chappelle Brown, “the father of soccer in Oregon”. Montavilla School was an early soccer adopter, with a successful season in the fall of 1912. 

When the Athletic League was launched in 1908, Robert Krohn, head of the physical culture department of the Portland public schools, started getting messages from school girls who wanted games of their own, such as basketball, tennis and baseball. He hoped to make this happen in the future, he said, but whether this ever occurred for Montavilla girls is uncertain, although other grammar schools did have at least girls’ basketball teams by 1914.

If you were into physical exercise and games, Montavilla School was a great place to be in the early 1900s. But even if you weren’t, there were lots of other new programs and clubs to engage a variety of interests… as we’ll see in the next installment of the Montavilla School story.

***

Historical story ideas? Questions about Montavilla’s past? Also share a love for neighborhood history? 

Comment on the article at the link in the heading. Or you can reach out to Pat Sanders at pat.montavilla.history@gmail.com.

Read all of the “Montavilla Memories” articles by Pat Sanders here


This weekend

Can we have better, more productive discussions? I believe we can.

Will it take a conscious decision to disregard the models on display in most of the mainstream media. Absolutely.

I opened the door to new ways of storytelling and community problem solving when I started Village Portland, and have been thankful to the folks who have answered the call.

Darren McCormick describes himself (even though he doesn’t like having to describe himself), as an amateur philosopher. He has developed, and has been testing out, a method called Debate by Agreement.

And since we’re working on establishing a new Village Portland on the Portland State University campus (spearheaded by Cory Elia), we figured it would be a good idea to try it out on campus.

Hopefully, the process is something neighbors from across Portland can all learn from.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11TH

Wy’East open house (event):

“Is an Eat & Greet on its own going to solve homelessness? No, but an Eat & Greet can be a platform for community engagement and action. We believe an Eat & Greet can cultivate the connections our community needs — the empathy we need — to continue building toward new ideas, and solutions.”

1427 SE 122nd Ave * 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

***

MONDAY, OCTOBER 14TH

Interested in serving on the Montavilla Neighborhood Association board?

The elections are at 6:30 pm. Follow this link if you’d like to learn more and / or throw your hat in the ring.

This weekend

About 60 people showed up for a Montavilla public safety meeting held Thursday, September 27th.

More than a few neighbors missed the presentation and asked for an update, so I reached out to the meeting’s organizer, Benjamin Kerensa, with a few questions. 

He said the meeting was called in response to the rash of recently shootings south of 78th and Glisan St, but the Q&A portion quickly turned to the broader issue of crime and homelessness in Montavilla.

Portland Police sent six officers: Assist Chief Chris Davis, Asst Chief Art Nakumura, Commander Tashia Hager, Captain Craig Dobson, Sergeant Pearce from the Gun Violence Reduction Team and Detective Meghan Burkeen from the Detectives Bureau. The Mayors Office sent Public Safety Advisor Robert King.

Kerensa said up to that point, there had been no arrests relating to the incidents, and the police encouraged neighbors to submit leads if they had them.

Three neighbors from near Multnomah County’s syringe exchange attended the meeting with complaints about crime they said they think is related to the exchange.

Kerensa wrote: “The police said their vice team has talked with the county and the county assures they are dealing with those issues but neighbors said the county isn’t receptive so police leadership said neighbors should complain to county health director and county board of commissioners and hold them accountable.”

He said that he thinks crime, especially theft, is getting worse in the neighborhood. He bases that on his frequent walks through the neighborhood from 2 am to 3 am, and following the crime-tracking Ring app.

To take a pulse of crime in Montavilla, I consulted City crime statistics available here:

August 2017 – August 2018: 672 larcenies and 196 burglaries

August 2018 – August 2019: 622 larcenies and 156 burglaries

Kerensa said Portland Police told him that the public-facing statistics “are just substantiated stats that means a arrest was made. When no arrest is made they don’t report that in public stats even if crime occurred the full raw data with substantiated and unsubstantiated is much higher.”

The police use a different set of stats for their own use, Kerensa said he was told.

update: Here’s what PPB lists as their crime data source:

I reached out to PPB to address that claim, and will update the story when they reply.

update 10/7: Sgt. Kevin Allen, PPB public information officer, denied Kerensa’s claim, confirming that the listed crime data is “all reported crimes, not just the ones that resulted in arrest.”

***

Though hearings on the plan to change City Code 3.96 has been paused, neighborhood associations continue to seek more details and make suggestions about the City’s official relationship with community groups.

Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association hosted several staff from Office of Community and Civic Life at their monthly meeting. You can hear audio from the event here, including a Q&A with its director, Suk Rhee.

***

APANO arts fest:

It’s the third annual East Portland Arts & Literary Festival! This year in APANO‘s new building that opened this summer and Fubonn Shopping Center.

All kinds of music, storytelling, poetry, dance, and crafting will be on will be there to enjoy. The schedule is here.

Orchards of 82nd, 8188 SE Division St, & Fubonn Shopping Center (2850 SE 82nd Ave * Fri evening & Sat * $5 suggested

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4TH

Live Montavilla music:

“Pete Krebs is a two-time inductee into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame, and a double cancer survivor. An in-demand performer, teacher and session musician, he lives in the NE Portland Cully neighborhood with his dog Dixie, who is a dingo and wears a little hat.”

Vino Veritas, 7835 SE Stark St * 7 pm – 10 pm * free

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5TH

Once Upon a Time Family Theatre:

“Once Upon a Time Family Theatre is a magical mix of theatrical simplicity and grand storytelling for kids and their families. There’s always a slight twist to the traditional story that keeps these productions fresh. Though simply produced, these delightful and engaging productions will soon have everyone fully absorbed in the interaction of live theatre.”

This month’s production: “The Princess who Never Smiled”

Portland Metro Arts, 9003 SE Stark St * 11:30 am * children $1, $2 adults $2

***

Water Spirit: A Tribute to Jim Pepper (event):

“Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble (PJCE) honors the music and creative process of Oregon-born saxophonist Jim Pepper (Kaw/Creek) with a concert of new music.” 

Midland Library, 805 SE 122nd Ave * 4 pm

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6TH

Farmers market:

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

***

Talk Time (event):

“Talk Time is an informal conversation circle for non-native speakers to practice speaking English. First come, first served.”

Gregory Heights Library, 7921 NE Sandy Blvd * 12:30 pm – 2 pm

Salmon welcome party:

“Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) and the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) invite all to a free, public celebration for the restoration of Crystal Springs Creek. The Salmon Celebration will celebrate the significance of the creek restoration work that has brought wild salmon back to the city.”

Johnson Creek Park, SE 21st Ave & Clatsop St * 11 am – 4 pm