This weekend

Village Portland reporter Cory Elia wrote an interesting piece this week about his experience helping with the homeless Point in Time count that was released recently. Read it here.

Another Village Portland reporter took a closer look at what’s left after a homeless camp sweep. Read that on Village Portland @ St Johns here.

The City claims there’s a process to make sure former camps are cleaned up after a sweep… have you found the site of former camps to been fully cleaned?

***

What’s been known the Foster shelter is having an event to celebrate its opening on Monday, August 12th (6 pm – 7:30 pm).

The Laurelwood Center (6144 SE Foster Rd) will serve those who “identify as female and couples, with priority access for people 55 and over, those with disabilities, and veterans.”

For more info and who’ll be there, visit the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association site.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 10TH

Community art:

“A mandala is a sacred spiritual symbol representing the universe. In this program, we’ll talk about mandalas as they appear in nature, and then create our own mandala projects using a variety of art supplies.”

Holgate Library, 7905 SE Holgate Blvd * 2 pm – 3:30 pm

SUNDAY, AUGUST 11TH

The Lents Fair is Sunday! There’ll be music, a chicken beauty contest, vendors, and the day will be closed out by  DJ RESCUE (Zia of The Dandy Warhols).

The website is here. Here’s the video we did on fair from last year:

SE Harold St. and SE 92nd Ave* 11 am – 4 pm 

Farmers market: 

Image result for lents international market

“Portland’s only internationally focused market, LIFM provides fresh, affordable, and culturally unique produce to the diverse Lents community and offers farm-direct sales opportunities for immigrant, emerging farmers, and new business owners. In addition to standard market produce, the market features a variety of unique fresh produce from Hmong, Latino, & Russian farmers.”

SE 92nd and Reedway between Foster and Harold * 9 am – 2 pm

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Reflection: conducting the survey for the Portland Street Response

By CORY ELIA

My name is Cory Elia and I have been reporting on the houselessness crisis throughout the city of Portland for over two years now as a journalist and photographer. Seeing the Portland Street Response model program developing as I have is quite relieving to me.

Maybe because I see it as a step towards a more compassionate treatment of those experiencing crisis and traumas that have rendered them living on the streets or out of vehicles.

It’s also because there has been a well-documented history of interactions between first-responding officers and those experiencing mental crisis ending in a horrifying manner, sometimes even with the death of those having the mental episode. 

The Portland Street Response developed from the advocacy journalism of Street Roots and their journalist Emily Green. She saw an opportunity to use her writing to demonstrate that a better response system could be implemented in Portland.

Street Roots’s Emily Green reports: “Portland Street Response: A Street Roots special report”

My experiences in the field while conducting interviews with houseless individuals has taught me that the interactions between those on the streets, regardless of their mental state, and officers are rarely that of a positive nature. These interactions often seem to be the source of a fair amount of agitation amongst the houseless community.

As previously reported in Street Roots, Portland Street Response is being based on the CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) program in Eugene. However, the Portland Street Response is still in its preemptive modeling stage.      

Currently, volunteers are conducting surveys of the houseless community to figure out how to best implement the program throughout Portland. This inspired me to take part in the opportunity to help conduct this survey. It is unclear at the moment if there will be further surveying in the near future.

Photo credit: Cory Elia

I arrived at Street Roots on the morning of Thursday, July 18 around 9 am to take part in the surveying. The goal of the survey was to gather opinions from the unhoused on how they would like the interactions between themselves and first responders to go. 

When I arrived at their office I was one of the first people there, but quickly the main office was filled with around 30 people also there to take part. This was the second day of groups going out and conducting surveys, the Tuesday before being the first deployment of survey groups.  

After a quick run-through of the strategy for conducting surveys by Street Roots Executive Director, Kaia Sand, and a break down of the survey by Neal Sand of the Yellow Brick Road‘s youth program, the crowd separated into groups of two to three people. The main requirement for the groups was for each to have an individual who had lived experience of houselessness

Having reported on the situation in the Lents neighborhood and having lived amongst that community myself, I volunteered to lead the group out there which consisted of: Greg Townley, who is co-director of Portland State University‘s Homelessness Research Action and Collaborative, a Street Roots vendor named Jeremy, and myself. We were also joined by KGWreporter Maggie Vespa.

KGW’s Maggie Vespa reports: “When should police be present? Street Roots, other groups survey homeless about the street response” 

Upon arriving at our first destination, SE 92nd Ave and Flavel St, around 10:30 am, it became apparent to me that the area had just been swept by City work crews due to the lack of tents I usually see there. Regardless of that, there was still a good amount of the houseless community in the area for us to survey.

I am well known amongst this crowd, not only for seeking out interviews with members of the community but also by some that are still living on the Springwater Trail. I was houseless myself and lived in a tent on the trail from 2010 through 2013.

This experience on the trail resulted in me being approached by several people before I was even prepared to conduct the survey and getting bombarded by questions like, “where have you been?” and “how are you doing?”

This is typically what happens to me when I show up in this area and it helped me getting several surveys completed in a matter of minutes.

The most disheartening part of this excursion was when my group ventured on to the part of the Springwater Corridor that runs parallel to the 97th Ave MAX stop and saw a Rapid Response work crew conducting a sweep of the camps.

Portland Mercury’s Thacher Schmid reports: “Oversight Questions Arise as Portland Pays to Clean Up Homeless Campsites”

The consensus amongst those living on the Springwater is all of a similar manner and that is that they have had both positive and negative interactions with the police, but that the negative interactions far outnumber the positive ones.    

They expressed that they would appreciate someone else like a crisis worker with a medical or social worker to be the ones to respond to mental health episodes— but they do see a legitimate need for police at certain times.

Between the three other members of the group and myself, we were able to conduct around a dozen interviews in about an hour at this location. Most of the people we talked to were willing to share their input.

The structuring for the Portland Street Response should be finalized for presentation to City Council around November. And if everything moves smoothly, should be up and running by January. 

Conducting the survey and leading the group as I did was an amazing experience that I was able to use my knowledge of where people are camped out to do some good.

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

This weekend

The controversy around the change to City code rolls on. Thankfully, the Office of Community and Civic Life put out a FAQ on the changes. Read that here. If this had come out on the front end, we could have avoided a lot of the acrimony that flared up.

Sunnyside neighborhood advocate Mary Ann Schwab testified at City Council this week on the issue, and… it didn’t go well. Despite the fact that the FAQ and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly says that both the NAs and coalitions will continue to be funded, Schwab and some other neighborhood advocates still have their doubts.

It was sent in July 22nd, before new information came out, but this letter from the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association expresses concern with the process and the proposed code changes. A quote:

“The audit also shows a severe mismanagement of funds within Civic Life, resulting in extremely inequitable financial distributions, favoring affluent, gentrified neighborhoods. Instead of taking responsibility for previous mistakes and implementing safeguards, Civic Life has vilified NAs and is working diligently to remove them from city code.”

***

OPB did a fun piece on East Portland’s Portland Pickles this week.

They talk to some of the college-age players who are hosted by local families for the season. They also focus on Dillon, the Pickles mascot, and the co-owner humbly claims that he’s one of the 10 or 15 greatest pickles in the world. I know he’s at the top of my list.

The Pickles crank up again next weekend, August 9th! Here’s the schedule.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2ND

Rosewood Night Out Party (event): 

“Community BBQ at 5, live Music with Friends of Noise and a movie at dust, thanks to Portland Parks & Recreation! Thank you to our wonderful sponsors Kaiser Permanente Northwest and Portland General Electric! 

Food provided by Pacific Seafood! Bring a refillable water bottle for Rockwood Waterr to fill for ya! Check out over 40 community organizations and get resources!”

Also— Movies in the Park showing “Black Panther”. The movie begins at dusk.

Rosewood Initiative, 16126 SE Stark St * 5 pm 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 3RD

First Saturday of the month Garden Curator led tours (event): 

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“On the first Saturday of the month, Garden Curator Courtney Vengarick will show you what’s blooming and of seasonal interest, provide useful and engaging information, and sharing fun stories about the adventurous creators of the Garden, Botanist Lilla Leach and pharmacist/civic leader John Leach.”

Leach also had a groundbreaking for their upper garden project this week— so come see what’s planned!

Leach Botanical Garden, 6704 SE 122nd Ave * 11 am – noon * free

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 Firebird”.

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

SUNDAY, AUGUST 4TH

Farmers market: 

Image result for lents international market

“Portland’s only internationally focused market, LIFM provides fresh, affordable, and culturally unique produce to the diverse Lents community and offers farm-direct sales opportunities for immigrant, emerging farmers, and new business owners. In addition to standard market produce, the market features a variety of unique fresh produce from Hmong, Latino, & Russian farmers.”

SE 92nd and Reedway between Foster and Harold * 9 am – 2 pm

This weekend

If you’re reading this story, you’re probably very familiar with Portland’s neighborhood association system. And if you’re familiar with it, you know it isn’t alway smooth; isn’t always nice.

But should it be scrapped? And what will be lost?

That’s the question being considered by the City of Portland. In a partership with the fabulous listener-powered KBOO radio, I interviewed Christian Trejbal, chair of the Overlook Neighborhood Association.

Trejbal says that the City hasn’t been communicative or clear about what’s going to be changed, but if NAs lose their City-sanctioned powers, there will be a lot less opportunities for oversight and engagement.

This is a citywide-heavy post this week, but I’m just following the flow.

Portland activists are organizing for the fight for a better police union contract. It might sound wonky, but the union contract sets the frame for police oversight and accountability— and right now the contract heavily favors the police.

The rally was organized by Portland Resistance.

***

The Oregonian wrote an interesting piece on how the painting of the Southeast Steele Street footbridge— a really cool grassroots effort—- was almost “restored” (painted over) by Oregon Department of Transportation.

FRIDAY, JULY 12TH

Lents baseball:

The Portland Pickles take on the San Francisco Seals all weekend! There are games Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

The schedule is here.

Walker Stadium, 4727 SE 92nd Ave * $5 – $13

SATURDAY, JULY 13TH

Street painting at NAYA Generations (event):

“We’re very excited for this community art project where we will be painting a street mural on SE Steele and SE 86th Ct. The design was co-created by a local artist and the residents at NAYA Generations, and the day has come for it to come to life!”

NAYA Generations, 8510 SE Steele St * 9 am, painting begins, noon – 3 pm: party, food, and other activities

People of the Drum (event):

“Enjoy vibrant performances and free drumming workshops for youths in this special program designed to strengthen and celebrate our community!

Presented by Portland Taiko, sponsored by Portland Parks & Recreation, East Portland Community Office, and KBOO Community Radio. Supported by the Regional Arts and Culture Council, Multnomah County Cultural Coalition, and The Collins Foundation.”

Gateway Discover Park, 10520 NE Halsey Street * 2 pm – 4 pm

SUNDAY, JULY 14TH

Farmers market: 

Image result for lents international market

“Portland’s only internationally focused market, LIFM provides fresh, affordable, and culturally unique produce to the diverse Lents community and offers farm-direct sales opportunities for immigrant, emerging farmers, and new business owners. In addition to standard market produce, the market features a variety of unique fresh produce from Hmong, Latino, & Russian farmers.”

SE 92nd and Reedway between Foster and Harold * 9 am – 2 pm

This weekend

This week, the Oregonian wrote about the City’s plan to, as the story says, gut the powers of the neighborhood associations

So what actual changes are coming? Details aren’t clear, but you can follow the project’s process here

FRIDAY, JULY 5TH

Friday night, two Saturday, one on Sunday— there are Portland Pickles games all weekend! The schedule is here.

Walker Stadium, 4727 SE 92nd Ave * $5 – $13

SATURDAY, JULY 6TH

Movies in the park (event):

“Smurfs: The Lost Village” (2017) PG, in Arabic with English subtitles. With pre-movie entertainment by Georgina Band (classic Iraqi rhythmic music).

Floyd Light Park, SE 111th Ave & Holgate Blvd * 6:30 pm music, movie at dusk * free

SUNDAY, JULY 7TH

Farmers market:

Image result for lents international market

“Portland’s only internationally focused market, LIFM provides fresh, affordable, and culturally unique produce to the diverse Lents community and offers farm-direct sales opportunities for immigrant, emerging farmers, and new business owners. In addition to standard market produce, the market features a variety of unique fresh produce from Hmong, Latino, & Russian farmers.”

SE 92nd and Reedway between Foster and Harold * 9 am – 2 pm 

APANO panel discussion (event): 

“‘Pending Approval: Now and Tomorrow for Korean Adoptees’ Focusing on Korean adoption through a historical lens, this pair of events support this year’s AMP theme: “Passages.” This second event, “Now and Tomorrow for Korean Adoptees,” will focus on the adult adoptee experience and cover themes such as identity, returning to Korea, birth searches, and parenting.”

Orchards of 82nd, 8118 SE Division St * 3 pm – 5 pm

This event is part of APANO’s Art + Media Project Summer Series. The flyer for all the events is below. 

This weekend

We had a good time this week at The Eagle Eye Tavern watching the first round of the debates. With all the acrimony in the media around issues, it’s instinctual to draw back from these discussions.

But there were some good connections happening and everybody seemed to have a good time. There are so many excellent gatherings happening around Portland as the season warms up— and it’s good to be reminded how IRL (in real life) discussions differ from those online.

FRIDAY, JUNE 28TH

Karaoke at Eagle Eye:

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The fine art of karaoke is on tonight at The Eagle Eye Tavern.

5836 SE 92nd Ave * 9 pm – close 

SATURDAY, JUNE 29TH

Lents Bike Tour (event):

“The Lents Neighborhood Association and Green Lents are partnering to lead another bike ride around the Lents’ Green Ring.
It’s about a 5 mile loop, and we will begin and end at the Community Tool Library.

This event is free and open to all! Come join us for a fun ride to check out all the unique awesomeness Lents has to offer.”

Lents Tool Library, 9215 SE Ramona St * 10 am – 12:30 pm

World Refugee Day (event):

“Join us at this refugee celebration with performances, food, activities for kids, cultural displays and more! Free event. For more information, go here.  or contact pdx.wrd@gmail.com.

Cosponsors include EMO’s Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees, Catholic Charities, IRCO, and many other organizations in the Portland metro area.”

Lents Park, SE 92nd and Holgate Blvd * 11 am – 3 pm  

June liberation celebration w/ Community chef Rachelle Dixon (event): 

“Come learn about and celebrate Black hxstory, resilience, and freedom struggle! June 19th commemorates the date in 1865 when slaves in Texas were finally informed slavery had ended. 

To celebrate this day of emancipation, we are hosting a community event at the farm full of activities for all ages. Food & Drinks, Garden box painting, Kid’s Garden, Cooking Demonstration, Farm Tours, Arts & Crafts, and more!

We are prioritizing space for Black community members at this event.”

Zenger Farms, 11741 SE Foster Rd * 11 am – 4 pm * free

SUNDAY, JUNE 30TH

Farmers market (event):

“Lents International Farmers Market (LIFM) is the only one in Portland with an intentional international focus. LIFM provides fresh, affordable, and culturally appropriate produce to the diverse community of Lents neighbors. Founded in 2006 by a community volunteers and then run by Zenger Farm, it is an important sales outlet for immigrant and new farmers, and new small food business owners too.” 

SE 92nd Ave and Reedway St 9 am – 2 pm

Living While Dying: Screening and Discussion with Filmmaker (event): 

Living While Dying

“In a world that sees death as something to vanquish, the 45-minute documentary Living While Dying presents an alternative: people living with terminal illness who greet the inevitable with courage, humor, creativity and acceptance.

The program includes a discussion with the filmmaker and content experts.”

Midland Library, 805 SE 122nd Ave2 pm – 3:30 pm

This weekend

Last week, I attend a conference hosted by the University of Oregon Journalism Department. The topic was engagement in journalism, and it brought together educators and reporters from all over the country trying new ways to tell stories and connect communities.

A familiar theme was one of “extraction”, and how journalists can do more to serve their communities, rather than simply “extracting” stories from them.

One of the most powerful presentations was on study of how the media covered the 2015 mass shooting at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon. Reporters pounced on the small town, filling up voicemail inboxes, hounding residents with questions, and even breaking the news to parents about the death of their child… all in an attempt to get the story, and get it first.

On a much smaller scale, the same dynamic happens with citywide media. Reporters jump into an issue, and with tight deadlines and little time to educate themselves. Then they tell our stories that have the power to skew the conversation and ruin reputations.

I am incredibly proud of the work Lents resident Barbara Bader did on her story “Drama and resurrection of an iconic Lents landmark”, about the journeys of the New Copper Penny sign. The research was detailed, and also she took good care in acknowledging her role and interest in the story she was writing about.

We sorted of expected a backlash, but the story and the facts it presented have seemed to quiet the rancorous debate.

That’s always been one of my major goals for Village Portland: to be somewhat of a referee for these neighborhood conflicts (and cheerleader for getting involved). Nobody gets involved to fight with their neighbors, but this level of organizing seems especially ripe for conflict. Partially, I believe, because there’s rare independent accountability.

The NCP sign is still in storage, but it has found a home at The Eagle Eye Tavern. So even though we would have liked to have seen the Lents Neighborhood Association be more open and transparent about their relationship with the sign, we are glad the story had a happy ending.

It still doesn’t change the fact that the Willamette Week got it wrong when they wrote that the Tzantarmas family gave the NCP sign to the “I Love Lents” Facebook page. Nobody is angry or offended, and we all know journalism is a tough gig— even more so when you’re honestly trying to tell peoples’ stories fairly.

Yes, it’s been three years since the story was published, but the mistake has been ammo in the controversy around the issue and we want WW to acknowledge that they got it wrong.

We’re pretty sure giant glowing Abe Lincoln would want it that way.

FRIDAY, JUNE 21ST

Live music @ Cartlandia (event):

Cody Weathers & The Men Your Mama Warned You About headline an evening of soulful, powerful voices and top-flight original music, featuring Rainezra, Jason Henderson, and Justin Gardner. Food from Cartlandia is welcome inside. Music starts early and runs until the pumpkin hour.”

Blue Bar @ Cartlandia, 8145 SE 82nd Ave * 8 pm – midnight

SATURDAY, JUNE 22ND

Chicken swan song:

“The Violin Chicken has been performing around SE Portland and FoPo for several years now bringing joy and amusement and happiness to all. She is now moving out of state and is on her farewell tour. The Violin Chicken will grace Cartlandia with one of her final farewell performances.”

Cartlandia, 8145 SE 82nd Ave * 11:11 am – 1:11 pm

Snack tour by bike (event):

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Montavilla City Park, NE 82nd Ave & NE Glisan St * noon – 3 pm

Taste of Parkrose (event):

“The Taste of Parkrose is a day-long community festival in East Portland hosted by Historic Parkrose and Parkrose Hardware.”

There’s a fun run, food and beer tastings, live music, on-site tattooing, and circus performers.

Rossi Farms, 3839 Northeast 122nd Ave* 10 am – 4 pm

SUNDAY, JUNE 23RD

Farmers market (event):

“Lents International Farmers Market (LIFM) is the only one in Portland with an intentional international focus. LIFM provides fresh, affordable, and culturally appropriate produce to the diverse community of Lents neighbors. Founded in 2006 by a community volunteers and then run by Zenger Farm, it is an important sales outlet for immigrant and new farmers, and new small food business owners too.” 

SE 92nd Ave and Reedway St 9 am – 2 pm