This weekend

Coming of a successful Founders Fair, it seems the Lents Neighborhood Association is looking for someone to head up the organization. (If you missed it, or not subscribed to the email notifications for new stories, our story on it is here.)

The Montavilla Neighborhood Association meeting is Monday. Here’s the agenda. Interim chair Jonathan Ogden was interviewed on KBOO recently. Among other business, the board plans to add four new members to the board.

Four people who were improperly appointed are slated, but others could be considered as well. Their term will run until October, when the yearly elections are held.

I’ve volunteered for several NAs in Portland, and trust me folks, it’s a rewarding yet frequently challenging way to serve.

FRIDAY

“Guardians of the Galaxy” and five other second run movies are showing at Academy Theater this weekend.

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

SATURDAY

Earn a $10 Fred Meyer card by joining a walking tour of Lents:

“Green Lents, in partnership with Portland State, is conducting guided walking tours and discussions on the proposed Lents Green Ring. There is still room to join this Saturday’s mile-long walk and discussion.”

Register here: http://tinyurl.com/lents-study

10 am – noon 

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Friends of Gates Park are hosting a potluck as part of the plan to develop the space into a park. See the Facebook invitation here, and an update from East Portland Neighborhood Office here.

Gates Park, SE 136th and Mall St * noon – 4 pm 

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Enjoy the fine art of karaoke at Chinese Village (520 SE 82nd Ave @ Stark) and Candlelight Restaurant and Lounge (7334 NE Glisan St).

Unfortunately, Chinese Village’s kitchen is closed for a few months for renovation… fuel to the fire of rumors that something new is planned for the site.

9 pm-ish * free

SUNDAY

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All Irish, all day, at the O’Neill Public House: from 2 pm – 5 pm, it’s a Irish slow jam; from 7 pm – 9 pm Mrs. Doyle & the Teapots perform; and from 9:30 pm to 11:30 pm, there’s a traditional Irish jam.

The O’Neill Public House, 6000 NE Glisan St * free

Lents Founders Fair 2017, a closer look at some of the organizations making Lents a better place to live

I volunteered to shoot video at Pickathon this weekend, so Erik Hadland, a friend and photographer, attend the Lents Founders Fair, Sunday, August 6th.

The fair was organized by Oregon Walks (who took a bunch of nice photos) and the Lents Neighborhood Association. It took about 60 volunteers to make it all happen.

KGW was there too. KGW story by Maggie Vespa titled “Lents fair highlights positives in area plagued by homelessness”. Maybe seeing the fair through the lens of the homeless situation was helpful, but there were so many awesome groups taking the opportunity to engage with the public that didn’t get featured.

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Full disclosure: Erik didn’t realize there was a loop of activities (apparently he wasn’t the only one), so his video and photos are of the fair near Lents Park.

I decided to do some research on the other groups represented on the Green Loop, and I’m glad I did. The Native American Youth and Family Center’s (NAYA) new facility, the Lents Bridge Project, the Lents Tool Library, and more… so much excellent community service was featured during the fair! Check out what I found after the media.

Here are some of Erik’s photos… featuring stalwart volunteers and several ridiculously photogenic chickens.

If you missed it, the winners of the Lents Chicken Beauty Contest: Cordon Bleu, a beautiful blue, white crested, Bantam Polish hen won; second place was Orchid, the baby Black Silkie; and in third place, Snowy, a tie-dyed white Ameraucana (yep, that’s the correct spelling). For photos of the winners, follow the link above.

At the Lents Park activity center, several bands played, including The Slants, a band that recently won a Supreme Court case allowing them to copyright a disparaging name. They were recently featured on “The Daily Show”, watch the segment on their website.

I would’ve loved to have seen the Lents history exhibit as well…

First of all, what is the Green Loop? The Green Loop “seeks to improve neighborhood safety and accessibility through place making and community-led advocacy”. It’s a Green Lents program director Adam Brunelle, wrote about it at The Intertwine, if you want a deeper dive.

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Heading clockwise on the loop from Lents Park is the Lents Bridge Project. The goup’s plan is to beautify the bridge over I-205, the highway that split the neighborhood in the 1980s.

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The group wanted to install concrete boards on the west side of the stairs to the bridge in time for the fair, but the permits didn’t come through in time. There are several ideas being considered for the multi-year project, including tiling the stairs. They have four videos on their Facebook page that give you a great idea of some of their events.

Futsal in Lents… ? It’s on the map, and something I should check out.

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The next stop on the loop is the Belmont Goats, who live in Lents at 92nd and Harold. The fourteen goats and one chicken (meet them all on the website), will need a new home as of June 18, 2018. Think your neighborhood could be the herd’s next home? There’s a website for that.

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Understating this would be dishonest: Green Lents is a powerhouse of community projects in the neighborhood.

Since 2012, they’ve run a Community Tool Library, a free service that functions like a library for tools and materials. It’s available for neighbors that live in: Lents, Powellhurst-Gilbert, Pleasant Valley, Foster-Powell, Mt. Scott-Arleta, Brentwood-Darlington and Montavilla.

It’s open Wednesdays and weekends. Go to the website for registration details, specific operation times, and how to get involved.

Green Lents also manages pollinator sites; created Lents Strong, an action plan for the neighborhood; and operates the Malden Court Community Orchard, a place for neighbors to access fresh produce.

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At this activity hub near the Lents International Farmers Market, there was putt putt and skateboarding, according to the map. The Lents farmers market, Portland’s only internationally-focused market,  is located at SE 92nd and Reedway between Foster and Harold. It’s open Sundays from 9 am to 2 pm, June 4 to October 29.

For a full list of vendors, visit their website. From 9:30 – 10:30 there’s a poetry reading at the market.

The Double Up Food Bucks program lets market shoppers double their food benefits. The market also hosts Food Scouts:

LIFM is also host to Food Scouts, a unique program for children between the ages of 5 and 12. Food Scouts participants receive $2 in tokens each week to spend on vegetables, fruit and food-producing plants. The Food Scouts booth also offers hands-on activities each week focused on farms, food and fun. Food Scouts is a partnership between Zenger Farm and Whole Foods Market.  To sign up, visit the Food Scouts booth at market.

 

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With 40 units of housing, an Early Learning Academy and long house, NAYA’s Generations facility is located on a 3.5 acre site of a former elementary school. I didn’t make it over there, but the website said it cost $22.1 million and opened in February of this year.

The film below and website talks more about challenges of Portland’s Native community and how this new model of community organizing can help.

 

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Here are the sponsors from Oregon Walks. I simply copied and pasted the sponsors (with the links they included) from the website. Not sure who did what, but I  imagine they all deserve a hat tip:

This event is generously supported by Metro and the City of Portland. Community partners include Rose Community DevelopmentLents International Farmer’s MarketPortland Fire and Rescue Station 11NAYA GenerationsCity Repair and individuals who live and work in the neighborhood. Support in creating the traffic control plan is being provided by Better Block PDX and Portland State University’s Civil & Environmental Engineering Capstone. Special thanks to Julianna Johnson for creating the poster illustration.

Cheers to all those who helped make the fair happen and are working to make East Portland and Lents a better place to live! There are so many great ways to get involved!

 

This weekend

FRIDAY

APANO kicks off their Mic Check! cultural event series with a Twitter town hall about arts & culture in movement building:

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Live music at O’neill Pub: “The Smut City Jellyroll Society is a wild and crazy bunch of fun loving musicians playing blues and early jazz from the 1920’s and 1930’s.”

The O’Neill Public House, 6000 NE Glisan St * 9:30 pm – 1 am * free 

SATURDAY

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9th Annual Portland Slavic Festival is this weekend! The event’s website is here. Here’s the list of what’s happening:

“Gala Concert; workshops and educational seminars; soccer championships; unique light / musical performances; evening entertainment; local services and vendors; grand prize – New Car; playground for children; delicious food all day; clowns; lottery and prizes; fun for children and adults of all ages.”

Ventura Park, SE 115th Ave & SE Stark St * Sat & Sun, 8 am – 9 pm * free

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2017 Summer Community Care Festival at Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (FB event) :

“Multi-cultural children’s activities, arts and entertainment will share the Sokhom Tauch Community Center … with community resource tables, social services and ways to be involved in the larger community.”

IRCO, 10301 NE Glisan St * 11 am – 3 pm * free

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Portland Zine Syposium is this weekend:

“The Portland Zine Symposium is an organization that hosts, among other events, a yearly free conference and zine social exploring facets of independent publishing and DIY culture. This event has been held in Portland, Oregon every summer since 2001 and hosts over 150 tablers from around the world each year, as well as many free workshops, panels, and discussions.”

APANO JAMS, 8114 SE Division St * Sat & Sun, noon – 6 pm * free 

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Interrupting Oppression (FB event). Contact the church for availability @ 503-253-5457 or office@parkroseucc.org.

“The Peace & Justice Ministry Team will discover and practice new tools / skills to meaningfully discuss social justice skills in our daily lives.”

Parkrose Community United Church of Christ, 12505 NE Halsey St * 11 am – 4 pm * free 

SUNDAY

Chinese Story time: storytime presented in Cantonese for children ages 0-6 years with adult.

Holgate Library, 7905 SE Holgate Blvd * 2:15 pm – 3 pm * free 

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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

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.

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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.

The promises made by City Councilors at the Lents Town Hall, so you can hold them accountable

If you couldn’t attend, the first half of the Lents Town Hall was a powerful presentation of the livabilty issues facing the neighborhood. while the second half focused on specific questions for the Portland City Councilors present.

Town hall organizer and LNA Livability Committee chair Jennifer Smith said she got flack for having pre-submitted questions at the town hall, but it makes sense: the councilors had time to do research and do some thinking about the actions they were willing to take.

The Councilors made some solid promises, listed a few issues they said they’d explore, and also had requests for action from Lents neighbors. Audio from the Q&A is available above, and I’m adding times so you can skip to the part described.

I have audio of the first half of the presentation, but there was a pair of videographers with the neighborhood association filming. LNA reps said the slide show and videos would go online, but I haven’t seen them posted yet. There was a lot of eye opening information from the LNA and Green Lents (website), so I hope more than just the neighbors in the room can see it soon. Please let me know if it’s been posted somewhere I haven’t seen.

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The first question (1:50) was about Lents Park. Lents resident Cathy Richie said that when they called 9-1-1 to report crime, police often didn’t respond, and when they did, no arrests were made. She also said that last summer Lents Park was overrun with RVs, and the people who lived in them were selling drugs and conducting prostitution. Later in the meeting, “No Overnight Parking” signs were also requested for the park.

5:20: Mayor Ted Wheeler, who also serves as the chief of police, said the presentation had a “huge impact” on him. Compared to closer-in Portland, he admitted Lents hadn’t received equity regarding responsiveness from police transportation, homeless, and housing.

He pointed to his work as one of the conveners  East Portland Action Plan (official website) as a step to right that wrong, and fulfill promises around transportation, parks, public safety, schools, infrastructure made when East Portland was annexed in the 1980s. If you’re not familiar with that history, the Oregonian has a telling series called “Broken Promises“.

Wheeler said he would rebuild the community policing model, which he said has shown to reduce crime and build trust between police and the community. A big part of that is getting officers out of their cruisers, he said, and get them walking a beat. He also said there are funds in the new police contract to develop unarmed community service officers, to handle calls that don’t require regular police officer.

Wheeler said 800 new shelter beds in community, and 4,600 people from homelesslessness to housing. He said the Unity Center (KOIN article) was opened last year, a multi-jurisdictional effort offering emergency psychiatric services.

A lot of the problem stems from addiction, and Wheeler said what’s happening in Lents is happening all over the nation, Wheeler said, and that it would take time, money, and focused community partnerships to turn the tide.

Wheeler pointed to Seattle, where public property was designated for RV living. Help with job training and addiction services, she said. It’s not necessarily a bad idea, but a January Seattle Times article said the programs related to the RV parks had essentially “unraveled”.

Comissioner Chloe Eudaly, as the head of Office of Neighborhood Involvement and Bureau of Development Services, was asked a question (15:30) about zombie homes (didn’t get fella’s name). She said in 2010, a study by Portland Police Bureau, Bureau of Environmental Services and ONI found 700 zombie homes in Portland. In 2016, Eudaly said that while the city hadn’t foreclosed on a house in 30 years, ten were foreclosed upon last year and ten more are scheduled for this year.

There’s a new hotline for Portland’s Extremely Distressed Property Enforcement program, she said: 503-823-2633. She asked those present to let her know how long it takes for someone to get back to them. After dismissing the heads of both agencies she’s running (ONI and BDS), it seems like she’s willing to shake things up.

When a neighbor asked if fines against inattentive property owners could be increased, she said that was up to the auditors office.

The crowd was pretty vocal most of the evening, and she got a lot of push back on her response about zombie homes (21:00). It seemed more based on her tone than anything, and Wheeler stepped in. He said that an effective response to unattended properties was to install a fence and bill the owner.

Another neighbor wanted to know what do do about camps near Lents School and the Steel Street Footbridge / I-205 Multi Use Path. He said he wanted to see the area near the school and Wattle Boy’s & Girl’s Club designated as a no camping zone.

A theme of the evening was the lack of coordination between agencies. In the presentation, Young showed an area near the Lents Town Center max station (below) contained property from five different agencies.

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Young asked police officers to get out of their cruisers and walk the path. Wheeler agreed that the routes to school should be a completely safe zone, and he plans to do that. At the end of the meeting (50:00), a nine-year-old named Natalie said she didn’t feel safe walking to school, asking for the Commissioners help.

45:00: Wheeler said Lents had received too much of the burden surrounding homelessness, and he pledged not to excacerbate the problems any further. He expressed concern that neighbors

Dan Saltzman, who heads the Transportation Bureau, said they could be doing a better job, but the number of abandoned cars has grown significantly. In 2012 there were 7,000, while in 2016 that had grown to 27,000. The crowd gasped.

More staff has been dedicated to parking services, and he said there’s a new program to recycle RVs. Saltzman also said— which was new to me— is that the city has a policy to never kick someone out of a vehicle, “no matter how dire” the situation. He said he was open to taking a more aggressive stance, but it had to be a group decision.

Fritz said she wanted to turn four East Portland park ranger positions from temporary to full time (for $363,760 annually). Three rangers patrolling the Spring Water Corridor would also be funded, she said.

Other neighbors asked about stopping the building of more affordable housing in Lents (she said 250 units were being built) until market rate housing was built. Wheeler said a $248 million dollar affordable housing bond was recently passed, and a community engagement group was being formed to guide its investment.

Another neighbor wanted to end the needle exchange in Lents, and another claimed the LNA board did fully represent the neighborhood because there were no renters on it. Two people who said they were homeless encouraged the neighbors assembled not to assume everyone who is homeless is a bad person or criminal.

The effort involved to make the town hall happen was impressive, and it seems City officials were listening. There were several proposals and promises floated by the Commissioners that deserve follow up, and it’s going to take consistent pressure to hold them accountable.

A conversation with Tim Crawley, a candidate for the Oregon House of Representatives, District 48

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Out of all the races this election season, and the fact that there are three other candidates for the Oregon House of Representatives District 48, you might ask: why interview unaffiliated candidate Tim Crawley?

Partly because state representative races don’t get much attention, but also because he reached out to me. Crowley lives in East Portland, follows Lents neighborhood issues, and is one of the many unsung Portlanders involved in community service (he’s on the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood association board and the Johnson Creek Watershed Council).

A big part of the Village’s mission is to spotlight community service, and encourage neighbors to get involved. Crawley’s walked (and ran) the district, and shared a lot of what he learned about the issues impacting Lents and the rest of the district. In the video below we talk a bit about his campaign, some issues and opportunities in East Portland, and his belief in the importance of neighborhood organizing.

Crawley is running unaffiliated against incumbent Jeff Reardon (D), Sonny Yellot (R), who doesn’t seem to have a campaign website, and Gary Dye (Libertarian).

I enjoyed spending a morning with Tim. He was a good listener, seemed to know a lot of the people and issues of Lents and the district, and was vigilant in stopping for pedestrians while driving.