I totally LOVE being the Commissioner in charge of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. It means all of the 95 neighborhoods and 6 Diversity and Civic Leadership groups are mine to cherish, nuture and support. Because I am a product of Portland's community engagement system, I would do so anyway if the Mayor re-assigned ONI away from me, but it's nice to be able to tell my husband and daughter that duty calls when I spend most weekends in the summer out and about Portland, doing my job.
This Saturday began with a couple of hours picking up trash in the Sumner neighborhood, north of Sandy and east of 82nd.
Scott Somohano, chair of the Sumner Association of Neighbors, with devoted litter patrol crew Molly, Tish, and Karen. They go out every month picking up garbage in their neighborhood, and they've noticed there is less to pick up as time goes by and other residents and businesses begin doing the maintenance cleanup between the monthly events. They gave me the litter grabber purchased at Parkrose Hardware. Astute observers will note I was not exactly appropriately attired for litter pickup, but my Saturday afternoon events required the dress.
Here we are, ready to set off from the Central Northeast Neigbors headquarters, with Scott's wife Heather in the straw hat (she took the previous photo).
We met and chatted with several Sumner neighbors while walking around picking up trash, also Scott conducted a survey of the 800 homes in the neighborhood to find out the issues people care about most. Safety both from disorderly behavior and from lack of sidewalks, lack of a park, and the "Poopy Palace" business operating a wastewater disposal service near homes without a Conditional Use permit, topped the list. We saw new sidewalks on NE 82nd installed with federal stimulus money directed to be used there by Mayor Adams. April Bertelson in the Bureau of Transportation communicated with neighbors on the sidewalks and did great work. Neighbors would like full sidewalks on Sandy as the next priority.
After Sumner, I went to another litter pickup on Hayden Island.
I took this photo, but you can check with Pam Ferguson or Debra Porta, Island residents, if you doubt. Lots of trash on West Hayden Island. Many of the volunteers had also worked all morning cleaning up the east side of the island, and even scooping it out of the river by canoes. This was my third trash pickup of the week. I like picking up litter - the neigborhood looks so much better when it's done. The Parkrose Hardware grabbers would have made easier my litter collecting after Last Thursday on Alberta this past week with Don, Rochelle and the volunteers there. I will donate some grabbers for Last Thursday.
Third event of Saturday was helping with a fundraiser lunch sale for Latino Network at the Concordia New Seasons. Yes, I washed my hands thoroughly after the litter pickup work. Plus, I was assigned to hand out literature about the crucial work of the Latino Network - one of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement's Diversity and Civic Leadership partners. My new friend and Latino Network helper, Kate, took this photo of us with her phone, outside the store:
Lots of wonderful people stopped by and supported the fundraiser, including PDC's Kimberly Schneider-Branam and her husband John Branam, and former County Commissioner Serena Cruz-Walsh with her adorable four-year old daughter.
Last stop of the day was the Southeast Uplift street party and social. Anne Dufay, Executive Director, has done excellent work with the Board at SEUL, and the party was a great success. Extra space in their building is being rented to worthy non-profits who had tables at the street fair, including Mental Health America of Oregon staffed by Beckie Child, a colleague working on the Safer PDX partnership whose mid-project report was presented at Council on August 17.
SEUL's awesome Communications Manager Blythe Pavlik took time out from photographing the event to smile for the other end of the camera with me.
Thank you to all the neighborhood volunteers who helped with the events, welcomed and informed me.
My final task of the day was playing Assistant Pack Horse in schlepping my daughter's stuff to her dorm room at Willamette University in Salem, where she is a senior. When people ask me if I miss the "helper" aspect of working as a Registered Nurse, I smile and say, "not much."