Welcome to Village Portland @ Lents

Village Portland is here to bridge the gap between news & civic participation… and to encourage folks get involved with their community and support their neighbors.

Sign up at the bottom of this page to get email notifications from Village Portland @ Lents. We publish a weekly news and events story to keep up up to date on what’s happening in the neighborhood. You can also follow on Facebook / Twitter.

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This weekend

The Lents Bridge Project will be repainted as part of the Village Building Convergence May 31st through June 9th. (There’s no official connection with the Village Portland platform, even though I’ve helped with many of their projects over the years).

They need paint to complete the project! If you have some to donate, reach out to them at the link above.

At the April Lents Neighborhood Association general meeting there’s another key issue being discussed. This month it’s a presentation and conversation with Portland Forward and City Club of Portland on Portland’s current commission form of government:

“As Portland rapidly grows and changes, does the current commission form of government equitably represent all people who live in this city? How should we choose our representatives? What would a more representative and equitable form of government and elections look like for Lents and East Portland?”

Lents Community Center 8835 SE Woodstock Blvd * Tues, April 23, 7 pm – 9 pm

SATURDAY, APRIL 20TH

Earth Day volunteering:

“Join PGE employees as we clean up the Springwater Trail for Earth Day! The Springwater Trail winds through Southeast Portland is heavily used by families, runners, and bicyclists. Additionally, the surrounding natural areas along nearby Johnson Creek provide valuable wildlife habitat and help protect water quality.”

Sign up here.

8925 SE Flavel St * 10 am – 1 pm

Earth Day event: 

“Planting native plants & removing invasive species provides cleaner air for community members and cleaner water in Johnson Creek, which supports salmon and other fish. Picking up litter keeps our waterways clean. Keep your eye out for beaver, ducks, and other wildlife as you volunteer alongside other community members— everyone welcome, and no experience necessary!”

Sign up here.

Errol Heights Park, SE 45th Ave & Harney Dr * 9 am – noon

Reuse, Recycle: Displacement Electronic Recycling Drop-Box (event):

“Trash Bash, Haul-Away, Collection Event, Cleanup – whatever you call your event, this is your one-stop-shop for helping neighbors get rid of bulky items like old vacuum cleaners, mattresses, furniture, scrap wood, empty paint cans and cat castles upholstered in blue carpet taking up valuable space in their homes.”

Rosewood Initiative, 15126 SE Stark St * 2 pm – 6 pm

This weekend

Disappointing for a lot of people, but People’s Food Co-op has decided not to open a store in Lents.

In a recent blog post, they point to a changing natural foods market. More big grocery chains are selling organics— Walmart is the largest selling of organic foods nationally. This may have not happened without the hard work of pioneering independent food co-ops, but the current market makes it harder for markets like People’s to expand their market.

One of the best parts of publishing Village Portland is working with new contributors. People love creating, telling stories, investigating their world— and we love giving people a forum to share their work.

Please check out this essay from Drew Thorson about a Lents’ neighbor decision to push back from modern media. It’s called the “Brightest Distraction” and tells the story with his photography as well as words.

And below is another awesome contribution from Philip King.

I suggested casually: what sort of adventures would happen if a Pomeranian and a raccoon hung out? Here’s what they gave me.

The process by which developers communicate with neighbors is being updated. The project’s website is here, and testimony is being accepted until April 24th.

The City Council accepted testimony on the issue this week, and you can watch the video of the meeting here.

Because of lack of planning or expense, many neighborhoods in Portland don’t have sidewalks. The City of Portland are considering Alternate Ways to provide safe passage for pedestrians.

There’s a meeting about the project on Thursday, April 18th in Brentwood-Darlington. Go here for the time and location.

SATURDAY, APRIL 13TH

Cooking Around the World Club: Seed Swap:

gardening

“Want to grow your own vegetables from seeds? Come to our first-ever seed swap meet! Come prepared to swap seeds, share gardening tips, and talk about the fresh, healthy food you like to eat right from your garden.”

Holgate Library, 7905 SE Holgate Blvd * 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Live music at The Blue Room:

Rock / funk from Salem’s The Ferenjis.

The Blue Room Bar, 8145 SE 82nd Ave * 8 pm

SUNDAY, APRIL 14TH

Live music, strings & brass:

“Combined concert: East County Community Orchestra and Portland Metro Concert Band”

David Douglas High School’s Horner Performing Arts Center, 1400 SE 130th Ave * 3 pm * donations accepted

A media journey

By DREW THORSEN

Turning thirty this past year had me reflecting on how much has changed since I was a kid. I grew up in Philomath, a small town of two thousand people. Not much to do there but explore with friends or watch TV.

On a normal night, dad would come home from work and de-compress with The Daily Show, my mom would be doing her homework, my brother would be playing with Legos, and I would be illegally download music off of the internet until someone had to make a phone call.

On weekends we would fry our eyes on cartoons until mom told us we needed to get outside. Pushed by my mother’s wise advice, we explored our home town. It seemed every weekend we saw everything there was to see in Philomath, but we didn’t care. We would ride our bikes down to buy candy with change we found in the couch, and run amok until dusk on our sugar high. Our lives weren’t more complex than that. Sure, things weren’t perfect, but there was a hope that we would be in a better place next year— and that was progress. In the meantime, we had each other.

Mom was always telling us to turn off the TV and go outside. She would tell us that we needed to be careful of what we were consuming. We would sit and critique the junk, thinking we were invulnerable to it’s charms, but somewhere in me, I enjoyed it. I liked the junk food my brain was ingesting.

I didn’t know for sure, but I was becoming addicted to that perfectly polished sensationalism and drama modern media brought to our lives in rural Oregon. I didn’t fully understand the truth of my mother’s wisdom until I grew up a little, moved out, and began my own life. That is when the depression, the anxiety and the pessimism moved in.

Not long after I moved out on my own, the first smartphone was released. I waited a while to buy one, partially because I was poor, but also because I didn’t trust the technology. There was something in my mind telling me that having a constant source of entertainment and news on me at all times wasn’t a good idea.

But, people also said that about books when they came out, so I gave in eventually. I mean, everyone had one. So soon the iPhone 4 became my possession— and not long after that it owned me as well.

The behavior I previously shamed my friends for: the constant slouched posture, splitting focus in the middle of conversation, became my own. I would wake up, check up on my Twitter feed, head to the kitchen and make coffee. Then it was time to see how many likes I got on Instagram, and one didn’t want to forget about their New York Times subscription. It was so I could have something to talk to my friends about. I felt so worldly.

Only thing was, the world seemed horrifying. Every day there was news about shootings and bombings, sanctions, economic crisis, new diseases, outbreaks of invasive species destroying local habitat. It spoke to my humanity, and I needed to do something about all of this… but what to do?

Eventually I came to the conclusion that I needed to understand more. I spent hours, days, weeks on my own, reading, researching things that were suggested by the articles or people far more learned than I. Ideas and arguments that then I mostly didn’t understand.

I read some of the most boring books in existence to find a solution to the wrongs I chose to inherit. What is post-modernism? Why does everybody make fun of this Ayn Rand guy? I pulled further away from friends because of their ideas, I judged and heckled, poked and prodded. God was dead, you peons. I was an asshole. But, I guess at least I knew Turkmenistan has the sixth largest natural gas reserves in the world. That’ll come in handy one day.

Things were miserable, but only in my head. I had a wonderful partner, a great job, the sun was shining, the rain was raining, I lived within ten minutes of my favorite city in the world— still somehow everything inside me was terrible. I was addicted to the negativity, a constant flow of bad news coloring my view of the world around me. I felt hopeless, useless in a world of so many choices and problems. I became frozen.

I was Descartes in bed, Sisyphus under the boulder, Bill Murray in that one movie. Over and over in my mind, I focused on the minutiae of life, thinking myself in circles. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that not only my media, but everything as a slippery slope to the depths of misery. It somehow captured my internal narrative and shifted it. Everything that entered my head was baseline ‘terrible’ to be judged on a sliding scale given its merit as compared to “This Shitty Planet”.

Through the malaise that was forming in my mind, a light began to shine forth in the form of “story”. I discovered positive psychology, and began to use the tools of narrative to restructure my mental pathways. In my internal world of post-human capitalist dystopia, I tore up the streets, cleared out the trash and began to listen to my feelings.

Internal facts did in fact care about my feelings, since they steered me to my conclusions. I asked myself questions about what makes me feel— not happy— but content? Outside, togetherness, and good food seemed like a good start.

My mother’s words echoing in my ears… I went outside. I smoked a joint (sorry mom), put on some of my favorite jazz-hop and rode the MAX into Portland as the sun set. I didn’t check my phone, I didn’t talk to anyone, I just listened to the rhythm of the things around me trying to connect with a surprisingly alien world of being out away from my phone and the stories it told me.

It wasn’t so bad.

I walked down to the MAX, the rhythm grinding heavy against the rails as we careened toward downtown Portland and across the Broadway bridge.

The skyline darkened, contrasting the sky that was exploding with beautiful colors. I looked around at my fellow passengers. Some stared out the window, sharing in the wonder, some minded their phones, and some were patiently tending to wild children.

Nobody was talking, nobody was smiling. We were all alone, but together.

I got off at Pioneer Square, shouldering past crowds of anonymous people hurrying to be somewhere, never fast enough. I mindlessly checked my phone. Damnit. I felt I betrayed myself and my mission to be free of this curse of negativity. It was time to sad eat.

I found a food cart, and there on the sidewalk of a Portland street, eating a burrito, I knew what I had to do. I knew I had to find my community, my tribe of positive humans. I had the words of a Third Eye Blind song I illegally downloaded one time playing in my mind— I’d never been so alone, but I’ve never been so alive.

I read somewhere that wisdom is what works. Somewhere along the way, what I valued as a human was put on hiatus. What worked for me, living a life building connection with friends and family, my intrinsic values, took a back seat to an imposed set of extrinsic values that I didn’t realize I was inhabiting.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still learning how to take what’s important and make it my focus, my priority. I am in recovery from being unwise about what I consume, in the same way I crave fast food, but I will not go back for fear of the pain.

As a human, I know I need connection and different challenging experiences to nourish my heart and my mind. It’s funny how much more rich my life feels when I get out of my internal story and into the world around me, into my community, connecting with those I share this city with.

So, to whoever reads this: if you’re feeling like the negative has taken over, or that things are bad, that might just be somebody else’s story.

Sometimes it just takes a little shift in what we see to shift how we see, and return to our own ideas about life. A shift in perspective, and maybe even some new friends and a burrito, could be exactly what you need.

This weekend

Portlanders are fighting to keep their community centers open in the face of budget cuts. If the City can’t fund basic services like this during a booming local economy, what’s going to happen if there’s a downturn?

A list of upcoming meetings is below, and KATU’s coverage of the town hall on April 2nd is here.

SATURDAY, APRIL 6TH

Green Lents garden swap (event):

No photo description available.

“Bring your extra seeds, vegetable starts, indoor plants, soils, pots, tools, and other gardening materials to swap them with others in the neighborhood. Your unused items may be useful for somebody else and you may find new-to-you treasure! Come with your gardening questions and we’ll have experts on hand, education materials, and activities for kids.

We will also be selling plants and raffling off goodies donated by Portland Nursery.”

Zenger Farm, 11741 SE Foster Rd * 11 am – 3 pm

Outer Powell project groundbreaking:

The Outer Powell Transportation Safety Project is now kicking off construction. Learn more about the project here.

“Let’s celebrate! The project team invites you to gather for a morning with elected officials, agency leaders and community members to reflect on the past and prepare for the future of Outer Powell.”

Safeway parking lot, 3527 SE 122nd Powell Blvd * 10 am – noon

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: “Thumbelina”

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

SUNDAY

There’s a community clean up at the footbridge Sunday:

“Litter Clean up at the Lents Community Footbridge (SE Steele over I-205) this Sunday, April 7 at 9 am.”

Enjoy your weekend!

This weekend

Residential Infill Project:

For March’s general meeting, the Lents Neighborhood Association hosted a forum on the City of Portland‘s Residential Infill Project.

In a RIP Displacement Risk and Mitigation released by the City last month, city planners expect Lents, Brentwood-Darlington, and the eastern part of Montavilla are likely to experience the most displacement.

The report is here, and the Portland Tribune article about the study is here.

SATURDAY, MARCH 30TH

Weed Warriors (event):

“First Weed Warriors volunteer event of the season is this Saturday! Gloves are all clean and ready to go! Come join us in the beautiful spring weather to remove non-native plants and some other park maintenance projects.”

Mt Tabor Visitor’s Center, SE Salmon Way & SE Park Dr * 9 am – noon

Hora de Manualidades (Craft hour): 

“Agrega arte y color a tu vida con estas manualidades centradas en la alfabetización temprana. Todos los materiales serán proporcionados. Espacio para 20 personas.”

Holgate Library * 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Renters rights forum:

“Congratulations to Mt. Scott – Arleta Neighborhood Association for securing a small neighborhoods grant from SEUL (Southeast Uplift) and the Office of Community and Civic Life. The grant will be used toward a much-needed Renter’s Rights Training:

In conjunction with CAT (Community Alliance of Tenants) the MSANA will present a 2-hour training to help community members understand how to become better equipped at locating, securing and retaining affordable and adequate housing.”

Mt Scott Community Center, 5530 SE 72nd Ave * 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm

This weekend

Happy spring… and with the turn of the season, there’s a new sign of life at the former Fred Myer’s on 82nd Ave!

Here’s an interview with Terry Emmert from last fall, he’s the East Portland-born investor who’s developing the site.

Here’s a story about how some churches are re-defining their mission and serving their community by opening up their space to the public. We also discuss why some churches are reluctant to follow what Pastor Matt Huff from Central Nazarene Church calls “The Church’s Greatest Commandment”.

Lents Neighborhood Association March general meeting (agenda):

“Discussion 1: Residential Infill Project. Duplexes, Triplexes, and ADUs: What does infill mean for Lents? Guest speakers from Portland for Everyone and the Coalition to Prioritize, Protect, and Preserve Affordable Housing

Discussion 2: Portland Budget Update Fiscal Year 2019 – 2020 with Alison Wicks from Prosper Portland

Lents Community Center, 8835 SE Woodstock Blvd * 7 pm – 9 pm

Read the draft plan, offer comments, and hear people’s stories on the PedPDX plan here.

There are a few more meetings left, and comments are being accepted until May 3rd.

FRIDAY, MARCH 22ND

Karaoke at Eagle Eye:

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You can live your karaoke dreams four nights a week at the Eagle Eye Tavern.

5836 SE 92nd Ave * 9 pm – close 

SATURDAY, MARCH 23RD

Live music:

Folk / Americana at Misdemeanor Meadows!

This weekend

FRIDAY, MARCH 15TH

Karaoke at Eagle Eye:

IMG_7302 (1)

You can live your karaoke four nights a week at the Eagle Eye Tavern.

5836 SE 92nd Ave * 9 pm – close 

SATURDAY, MARCH 16TH

Leach Spring Garden Fair (event):

“Join us in celebration of Lilla Leach’s birthday by preparing for the gardening season. Rain or shine, this promises to be a fun, helpful, and inspiring way to get ready for spring!”

“Community Seed Exchange, compost demonstration, tool Sharpening by Sharpening4u, garden tools for sale by Red Pig Garden Tools, naturescaping & rain garden info and more by East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, Xerces Society (invertebrate conservation) table, OSU Extension Service Master Gardeners  experts to answer your questions, and Leach Manor House & Stone Cabin Open House” 

11 am – nature walk, pruning workshop

noon – native plants for the home garden

1 pm – ethnobotany garden tour

Leach Garden, 6704 SE 122nd Ave * 10 am – 2 pm

Live music:

Blue Room Bar, 8145 SE 82nd Ave * 8 pm – 11 am * free

SUNDAY, MARCH 17TH

The symphony in East Portland:

“The award-winning Oregon Sinfonietta, now in its 46th season and conducted by Dr. Donald L. Appert, is a full symphony orchestra of about sixty musicians that draws together community musicians from the greater Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington metropolitan area. The orchestra performs four free concerts per season at the Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church in SE Portland.” 

Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church, 10501 SE Market St * 3 pm 

Cooking Around the World Club: No-Bake Desserts: 

“Families can learn with their kiddos how to make simple healthy desserts. There will be something for everyone, whether it’s for an afterschool snack or a special weekend treat. It’s easy, it’s healthy, it’s fun! Samples will be given at the end of the program.”

Holgate Library, 7905 SE Holgate Blvd * 3:15 pm – 4:30 pm