Thanks to David Ashton, the editor and janitor of East Portland News, here are a couple of updates about community building events in Gateway and Parkrose:
The Gateway Business Assocation hosted a Mothers' Day Bike ride, in collaboration with Portland Bureau of Transportation staff. I always like attending GABA events, but this one was especially convenient since it allowed me to attend Mothers Day Brunch with my parents-in-love at CherryWood Village immediately before. Special kudos to Fred and Ann Sanchez, community stalwarts in Gateway; Arlene Kimura of the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association; Providence Trauma nurses whose program provides and fits bike helmets with support from community funders,;and Steve Hoyt-McBeth of PBOT who was universally praised for his good work in East Portland. Researchers from Portland State University graduate classes participated, too, encouraging participation in a project they've been working on.
Ten days ago, Commissioner Fish and Parkrose Public School Superintendent Dr. Karen Fisher Gray invited my participation in a Parkrose High School assembly, celebrating gifts to provide improved soccer fields at Parkrose High School on NE 122nd. The assembly honored the $50,000 gift from Merritt Paulson and the Portland Timbers. With the allocation of $100,000 to Parkrose in the 2009-10 City Budget, finalized a few weeks before, and $100,000 by the Parkrose School Board, the project now needs only $50,000 in community fundraising to provide two much-needed fields. They have been designed so the pitches rotate, allowing use of grass as a safe playing surface rather than more-expensive articifial turf. At the assembly, Timbers' owner Merritt Paulson gave me a Timbers scarf at the assembly. I didn't support providing public funding to change PGE Park for soccer, and I didn't support losing PGE Park as the Beavers' home, but now the decisions have been made I am committed to making the choices work out as well as possible. I appreciate Merritt and his players taking the time to visit Parkrose High School to make the big-check donation official. It was very fun. Commissioner Fish and I were each given a framed Parkrose athletic Letter, which I shall cherish. I might have won one for swimming and diving back in 1972-6, but they don't give Letters in British state schools.
On a third positive note for East Portland, the East Portland Action Plan staffing and grants program was fully funded in the Mayor's proposed and adopted 2010-11 budget - at a time when grants in the rest of the City were cut significantly. I enjoyed visiting the East Portland Neighborhood Association chairs meeting a few weeks ago, and Marshall High School's Step Up Family Night in late May. I am glad to support the good work being done by volunteers and staff in this special and previously-neglected area of our city.