June 2015 edition posted

by on Jun 4, 2015 | 0 comments

The June 2015 edition of the Mid-county Memo posted online. Links to stories and departments are below. With nine-month-old daughter Molly in tow Hazelwood resident Jake Herbst often strolls to the Goodwill and Salvation Army stores near his home to shop. Herbst, a 2003 David Douglas High School graduate said he is looking forward to his first Father’s Day. This month’s front page features a Happy Father’s Day wish for not only cover subject Jake Herbst, but to fathers everywhere. June’s features include a story about Lore Wintergreen—the city’s advocate for the East Portland Action Plan–and whether or not she accused at least one volunteer of racism for requiring EPAP grantees to fill out IRS forms. East Portland activist Collene Swenson is interviewed to find out what her next move is after the attempt to get a ballot measure to de-annex east Portland failed; now it’s city commissioner’s election by geographic representation. David Douglas School District educator Kevin Topolski was named Teacher of the Year by OnPoint Community Credit Union. Marking the Memo’s 30th anniversary, we sample what the paper covered in its first edition and provide updates. In addition, we publish Bruce McCain’s, Gloria Ross’s and Marjorie Bean’s obituaries. In addition to the feature stories, our monthly departments are: Meals on Wheels monthly menu, Memo Pad, Memo Calendar, Business Memos Furthermore, we have Oregon Lottery and Multnomah County Health Department restaurant inspection results. Happy reading.  ...
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Did East Portland Action Plan’s director call volunteers racist?

by on May 29, 2015 | 0 comments

Publisher’s note 1: Over the years, the Memo has spoken to many highly cynical individuals who have been involved with East Portland Neighborhood Office‘s system. Did East Portland Action Plan director Lore Wintergreen, right, call volunteers racist for requiring EPAP grantees to fill out IRS forms before receiving taxpayer funds? According to original meeting minutes taken by Alesia Reese, middle, she did. There’s a way the system is supposed to work, and then there’s the way the system actually works. If you haven’t had any interaction with the system, it’s easy to believe everything happens the way it’s supposed to. The minute you get a taste of it—the minute squatters move in next door; the minute a development threatens your livability; the minute speeders nearly run your kids over; the minute a strip club opens on your street—you see the system close up, but see it in a completely different way. This is not to say neighbors’ problems aren’t ameliorated. In time, some are. You just understand the way the system actually works and how much it differs from the way it’s supposed to work in theory. To some readers, the incident described in this article might seem trivial, but it’s an example and symptom of the East Portland Neighborhood Office’s systemic problems—problems which make it less effective at bringing needed infrastructure improvements to east Portland neighborhoods and less relevant to the overall community it was meant to serve. East Portland Action Plan Advocate Lore Wintergreen, right, poses with EPAP co-chair Arlene Kimura at an EPAP-funded event in 2010. Wintergreen, who makes $130,000 in salary and benefits is not only the highest paid city employee in east Portland, but also EPAP’s only chair since it was created in 2009. If volunteers who try to follow the law, doing what they believe, and been told what they’re supposed to do, are bullied, intimidated, and even accused of racism, how long before those citizen volunteers refuse to continue to serve? The following incident is one example of why the city’s neighborhood association system in east Portland becomes less effective every year. Furthermore, as it becomes more and more removed from the original intention of representing every individual in the neighborhood, the system devolves to representing small groups, individuals and their pet projects. While infighting ensues, east Portland neighborhoods crumble. Article: Kathi Holmes had had enough. The vote to scrub the minutes was the last straw for the longtime neighborhood association volunteer; after more than a dozen years with the East Portland Neighbors, Inc., October 2014 was Kathi Holmes’ last EPN board meeting. After the meeting, Holmes submitted her resignation as treasurer of the group. According to Holmes, EPN may be paying...
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April 2015 Memo posted online

by on Apr 2, 2015 | 0 comments

Mid-county Memo‘s April 2015 edition posted online. Cristell Gonzalez Perez was named Parkrose High school’s 2015 Rose Festival Princess. In her court are, from left, Lilia Bechtel, Jade Bradford and Theresa Nguyen. This month’s feature stories include: A piece about east Portland’s diverse Rose Festival Court representatives. An article about Mid-county residents desire to secede Our series on Mid-county Community Builders continues with a profile on longtime David Douglas School District volunteer Beverly Fischer. A thorough report on Beech Park’s design selection. Two new apartment buildings—Rose and Gilman Court—open in the Gateway Regional Center Urban Renewal Area. The dangerous intersection of Northeast 105th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard is getting a fix. A roundup of east Portland schools’  winter activities. Report of the Powell-Division rapid transit bus line. Deconstruction of the city’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement oft’ used recipe. April 2015 Departments: Memo Calendar Memo Pad Business Memos Letters to the Editor Meals-on-Wheels monthly menu Lottery results Restaurant...
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Neighbors’ Post Traumatic Strip Club Stress Surfaces

by on Mar 31, 2015 | 0 comments

It was an oft-used recipe from the city’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement cookbook. In February, ONI Liquor Licensing Program Coordinator Mike Boyer prepared and served neighbors of Jody’s—the former strip club in Hazelwood— this hot, spicy heartburn-inducing dish. Neighbors fought to keep from eating another strip club. Rebeckah and Tim Lyons, who not only bought Jody’s in 2014 but also the building and property, met their traumatized neighbors for the first time in February. Until it closed, the strip club operated for more than 30 years at 12035 N.E. Glisan St. in the Hazelwood neighborhood. The Lyons said they also would provide adult entertainment when they reopen as Club SinRock. A good chef always does their mise en place first: •    Mingle new strip club owners together with proximate homeowners and Oregon Liquor Control Commission representative, along with at least three ONI minions in a neutral setting. In late February, the meeting took place at the city’s East Portland Neighborhood Office in the Hazelwood neighborhood, a few blocks from Jody’s.   •     Add dash of fundamental ONI neighborhood association baloney and facile assistance that every recipe in this cookbook requires. “They [the neighborhood association] kind of led us to believe that ‘by gosh, this is really bad’ and ‘this really can’t take place,'” said longtime Hazelwood resident Marilyn Warr-King, who lives behind the strip club on Northeast 120th Avenue. “But it’s very political; I don’t believe anybody.”   •    New owners tell neighbors they will monitor everything closely, that they will not allow people to hang around outside, and so on. Alaska natives Tim and Rebeckah Lyons, who not only bought Jody’s strip club business but also the property at 12035 N.E. Glisan St. for $860,000 in June 2014, promised neighbors that they run a clean, efficient business and that the neighbors will see a difference from the previous owners. “I rely on our record; it speaks for itself,” said Club SinRock owner Tim Lyons, who spoke for the couple. “There have been no shootings in any of our clubs, ever. There’s never been a serious incident at any of our clubs.” In business ten years, the Lyons own three non-alcoholic nightclubs: two in Alaska and one in Seattle, all with adult entertainment formats. “All the locations we have, the crime has actually gone down in our vicinity because of the way we operate our clubs,” Lyons added. “We police the parking lot. We don’t allow people to hang out in the parking lot.” Responding to a question after the meeting about their lack of alcohol-serving experience, in an email Lyons replied, “Although we prefer the non-alcoholic business model and currently do not own or operate an alcohol-serving...
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East Portland Citizens Want to Secede

by on Mar 28, 2015 | 0 comments

Stymied in their first attempt to de-annex a significant portion of the city of Portland, three east Portland citizens have vowed to rewrite their recently rejected petition, reformat the demand into an initiative petition, and gather the 31,345 signatures needed to land it on the November 2016 ballot. The East Portland de-annexation Secession group uses this map created for the city’s East Portland Neighborhood Office to illustrate the area it wants to de-annex. The target area, roughly from the Columbia River to the edge of Happy Valley, west to just above Lents, and from Northeast 82nd Avenue to the Gresham city limits, has long experienced difficulties getting services from the city, since its annexation in the early 1980s. Acting for East Portland de-Annexation Secession, members Collene Swenson, Pat Edwards and Brian Garry prepared a petition for the Office of the City Auditor to grant the target area permission to secede from the city of Portland, with the goal of forming an independent municipality within the de-annexed boundaries. Swenson hand-delivered the petition to city elections officer Deborah Scroggins. Swenson and Edwards, active in the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association, (Anthony Macuk, Willamette Week) affirm support from a significant portion of the area’s citizens, and have expressed confidence they will be able to gather the needed signatures to place their initiative on the ballot. Breaking up is hard to do In a letter to the three petitioners (posted on the group’s Facebook page), Scroggins informed them that the petition in its preliminary form would not be appropriate to forward for action. She cited state statute ORS 250.270 and Portland city Code Section 2.04.055 as legal reasoning for rejecting the petition. She further stated, “your filing represents an unsolved question of State law as to whether withdrawal may be the citizen initiative, given the statutory scheme for amending the boundaries of a city within a Metropolitan Service District.” She further informed the petitioners that their document was “fundamentally flawed” and needed to be re-written. Basic services to the targeted east side area have been at issue since its annexation in the 1980s. City Share, a spending option for Portland neighborhoods, has remitted less to this area than any other part of the city, according to Swenson. “City representatives won’t come and talk to us about these problems,” she says. Residents have long complained city officials hardly seem to know these 13 neighborhoods exist. Potholes, sinkholes, unpaved streets and absence of sidewalks are only the most noticeable surface problems the city has not addressed. Every neighborhood, Swenson says, has the same problems with crime, including unmonitored sex offenders. Likewise, the level drug dealing has risen since annexation, yet only two officers out of the East...
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April Mid-county Memo posted online

by on Apr 5, 2014 | 0 comments

The April 2014 issue posted online last week, here are April’s feature stories and Departments: East Portland princesses–from Madison, Parkrose and David Douglas high schools–were picked last month. A new development is roiling neighbors in the outer Northeast Glenfair neighborhood. The Parkrose School district passes on putting a local option levy on May’s ballot. The Portland Development Commission spent $67,000 on a series of workshops for Gateway property and business owners. A round-up of results from Mid-county winter high school sports and activities. Joe Rossi cancels the Barn Bash, his popular annual party in Parkrose. Parkrose pugilist Lorenzo Caldera is fighting for the Golden Gloves national championship in Las Vegas in May. Mid-county’s Oregon Lottery retailers monthly take and rake. The Multnomah County Health Department’s monthly restaurant ratings. An editorial against the city funding a neighborhood newspaper that competes with the Mid-county Memo. And the Parkrose High School athletic schedule for April. April’s Departments: Calendar, Memo Pad, Business Memos Meals on Wheels Monthly Menu and Letters to the Editor.  ...
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November edition posted online

by on Nov 11, 2013 | 0 comments

Last week, the November 2013 edition posted online. Feature stories include the 411 on 211info, a non-profit that provides information on housing help and myriad social services; Is it end of the road for Parkrose bus drivers?; Longtime Russell neighborhood resident Ray Alexander celebrated his 100th birthday at Gateway Church, a congregation he helped found; construction updates on the new Parkrose Middle School and Glisan Commons, and the latest Mid-County restaurant ratings. Memo Departments–Memo Pad, Memo Calendar, Letters to the Editor, Business Memos and the monthly Meals on Wheels People menu–teem with listings of events, reunions, activities, local business news, special events, fundraisers, achievements and milestones reached and passed. Doing east Portland research? Mid-county Memo archives go back to 2001. Interested in reaching more than 15,000 homes–guaranteed–click here for Mid-county Memo display advertising rates and circulation...
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Mayor’s budget: still cuts for east Portland

by on May 22, 2013 | 0 comments

Mayor Charlie Hales’ draft budget, while kinder to neighborhood involvement programs in east Portland and elsewhere than previous projections suggested, still calls for significant cuts. The East Portland Neighborhood Office is a branch of the Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement, and receives most of its funding from that bureau. Last winter Hales asked ONI and all other City bureaus to submit budgets with a ten percent reduction from fiscal year 2012-13 levels. Hales’ own draft budget calls for only a three percent cut for ONI. Even so, the current ONI budget eliminates the popular Neighborhood Small Grant programs, a $200,000 fund distributed through EPNO and the city’s six other neighborhood offices and coalitions to neighborhood associations and other community groups for special projects. It also retains cuts to communications funds that, among other things, fund the East Portland Neighborhood News. As before, carry-over funds from previous years allow EPNO to publish four editions of the newspaper as planned, but unless there are new appropriations, there will be money for only one edition in 2014. The budget did allocate $279,000 to continue the work of the East Portland Action Plan next fiscal year, but it was accompanied by a “budget note” that said the program should “ramp down” and prepare for a cut-off in funding next go-around. In a letter to Hales, the EPAP Steering Committee asked him to reconsider this position. “The EPAP as a plan has a life span, and we are not at its end,” they wrote. “The action plan is still a very effective tool that is contributing great value to the City in its quest for equity and redress of persisting substandard conditions in East Portland. This value will diminish in coming years, but we believe it is premature to have this budget not in place at this time.” According to Lore Wintergreen, EPAP’s paid Advocate, Hales has since softened his stance on future funding somewhat. In a related matter, the budget calls for cuts to the Portland Development Commission. These include reductions of more than $30,000 to Venture Portland, which serves as a support system for neighborhood business associations in much the same way that ONI does for residential groups. Executive Director Heather Hoell told City Council at a public hearing that if the reduction went through it could reduce by half the grants that Venture Portland makes available to groups such as the Parkrose Business Association and the Gateway Area Business Association. There were cuts as well to the bureaus of Parks, Fire and Police (including loss of some mounted patrol). Representatives of all three bureaus complained that the cuts would have major negative effects on the...
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May issue recap

by on May 8, 2013 | 0 comments

The May 2013 edition of the Mid-county Memo posted online. Feature stories and news about east Portland, all right here. This month’s feature stories are: Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) shines at Prescott Elementary in the Parkrose School District; a Top Notch labor dispute at Yaw’s restaurant in Gateway; East Portland Sunday Parkways kicks off in outer southeast this Sunday; the East Portland Neighborhood Office and the East Portland Action Plan face budget cuts; Parkrose school board candidates answer a question and, how do Mid-county restaurants rate? Memo Departments — Memo Pad, Business Memos, Memo Calendar, Letters to the Editor, and the monthly Meals on Wheels People menu — teem with listings of events, reunions, activities, local business news, special events, fundraisers, achievements and milestones reached and passed. Doing east Portland research? Memo Archives go back to 2001 and Advertise? Memo display advertising rates and circulation...
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EPNO awards neighborhood grants

by on Jan 23, 2013 | 0 comments

Earlier this month, the East Portland Neighborhood Office awarded 11 neighborhood grants containing a total of $30,000 to community organizations for special projects. The awards were selected from 28 applications seeking a total of $58,611. The money comes from the City General Fund through the Office of Neighborhood Involvement for disbursement by EPNO and the city’s six other neighborhood offices and coalitions. According to the criteria, the grants are intended to “increase the capacity” of community groups, encourage partnerships among them, and promote participation by “under-represented communities.” This year’s grants: •    Green Lents Community Tool Library: $3,300 for Do It Yourself workshops •    Chess for Success: $1,568 for an after-school program in the Parkrose School District •    Outgrowing Hunger: $2,320 for community garden outreach and education in Rosewood •    Wisdom of the Elders: $2,952 for the Native American Wisdom Community Garden •    Glenfair Neighborhood Association: $2,830 for National Night Out activities •    Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association: $3,500 for National Night Out activities •    Gateway Park: $1,500 for a Movie in the Park •    Parklane Park: $1,930 for a Neighborhood Fair •    Parkrose High School Alumnae Association: $3,500 for a 100 years of Parkrose Music project •    Rosewood Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative: $3,100 for a Rosewood Bike Fair •    Midway-Division Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative: $3,500 for a Midway Day in May and Fun Run event This is probably the last year for this program. Faced with a large budget shortfall, Mayor Charlie Hales has ordered all city bureaus to prepare budgets that include 10 percent spending cuts over current levels, and the Small Grants Program is on the table. Other potential cuts are to neighborhood associations’ communications funding, the Neighborhood Crime Prevention Program, and the Graffiti Abatement...
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