Local businesses provide employment for area residents and products and services close to home. Mid-county Memo Business Memos celebrate news, advancements, promotions, retirements, expansions and other noteworthy events at these cornerstones of our community. To share news of your business with our readers, Business Memo submissions for the January issue are due by Friday, Dec. 15. For best results, e-mail Darlene Vinson at editor@midcountymemo.com. You may also mail submissions to 3510 N.E. 134th Ave., Portland, OR 97230. To leave a phone message, dial 503-287-8904. 

Parkrose Heights gardener Amy Campion shares secrets in new book. COURTESY JEREMIAH CAMPION

Parkrose Heights gardener Amy Campion shares secrets in new book.

New book by Parkrose Heights gardener
Parkrose Heights resident Amy Campion’s new book with co-author Paul Bonine is now available. “Gardening in the Pacific Northwest: The Complete Homeowners Guide” has all the secrets home gardeners in our region need to create a gorgeous home garden. A gardener’s plant choices and garden style are inextricably linked to the place they call home. To grow a flourishing garden, every gardener must know the specifics of their region’s climate, soil and geography.

Expert plantsman and Northwest native Paul Bonine knows all the insider tips for growing a spectacular garden in our region—on both sides of the mountains. Together with seasoned garden writer Amy Campion, he packs more than 25 years of wisdom into this definitive guide, from a comprehensive list of the best plants to how to work with our diverse climates, seasons and soils. Striking photographs showcase plants and how to use them in a variety of design styles.

Amy Campion is a freelance writer, editor, and photographer. She has worked in the nursery business and blogs about gardening at amycampion.com.

Paul Bonine is a garden writer, lecturer and co-owner of Xera Plants in Portland. He has consulted for NPR, the Sunset Western Garden Book and The Oregonian.

Help choose the next president of MHCC
The Presidential Search Committee at Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) is seeking community feedback through a brief online questionnaire and several local public forums. The community feedback will help guide the college’s presidential search efforts.

The online questionnaire consists of three questions designed to solicit input on what community members view as the major future challenges of MHCC and what skills and qualities the school’s next leader should possess. The questionnaire will remain open until Dec. 5 at surveymonkey.com/r/FHTBKBJ.

On Tuesday, Dec. 5, the committee will hold two community forums to gather additional information. The first forum will take place from noon to 1 p.m. in the Visual Arts Theatre at the MHCC Gresham Campus, 26000 S.E. Stark St. The second forum will occur from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at David Douglas High School, 1001 S.E. 135th Ave.

The Presidential Search Committee is made up of faculty and staff from MHCC, as well as local community members. It is chaired by MHCC Board of Education Vice Chair Diane McKeel. In addition, the board has hired the Association of Community College Trustees as a consultant on the search.

For the latest news and information on the search for a new president of MHCC, visit mhcc.edu/presidentialsearch/.

An idea that’s been floated is to do a food cart pod in the expansive interior courtyard at the location of the former Tush Lingerie adult business in Parkrose near Sandy Boulevard. STAFF/2017

An idea that’s been floated is to do a food cart pod in the expansive interior courtyard at the location of the former Tush Lingerie adult business in Parkrose near Sandy Boulevard.

Former Parkrose adult business could become food cart pod
Few Parkrose properties have seen as much contention as the parcel of land at 4826 N.E. 105th Ave., previously occupied by Tush Lingerie Modeling.

As we reported (“Complaints put Parkrose lingerie shop out of business,” MCM October 2017), a collective made up of Parkrose business leaders and associations objected to the shop’s position within a family-friendly residential area that was home to many school-aged children.

The story also gained traction outside of the neighborhood in publications like Willamette Week. In summary, crowdfunded inspections of the facility put Tush out of business in August, largely due to building code violations.

Now that Tush is out of the picture, the building—owned by Windermere Community Realty—has some hang-ups: those building code violations are not specific to the business but to the building.

“One of the things that happened that drove Tush out were code violations to the building, as some work was done to the building which was not properly permitted,” says Mingus Mapps, the district manager for Historic Parkrose. “Those violations got reported to the city, who then in return cited the business—which cited the building owner. Those [violations] are turning out to be extensive and complicated, and right now the property owner is working through the physical changes to make the building legal.”

However, the future of the space looks anything but bleak. Many ideas are being considered for who the new occupants will be, but unlike with Tush, the larger community has had a say this time.

“An idea that’s been floated in the interim is to do a food cart pod in the back,” says Mapps. “One of the interesting things about that property is that it has a huge interior courtyard, so it has an interior hidden parking lot which can hold twenty cars, which is why it has historically been an auto rental place. Even though you’re right at 105th and Sandy, it’s one of the few places in Parkrose where you can eat outside and not be overwhelmed by the traffic.”

Possible tenants in the food cart pod include Rocket Breakfast (with a current location at 5235 N.E. Sandy Blvd.), as well as a cider company.

Still, Mapps and the building’s owner are all ears to new suggestions.

“We’ve been reaching out. Everybody wants something family friendly: a coffee shop or a brewpub. A coffee shop might work, but a brewpub might not work, given the other things that come with brewpubs. There have also been calls for a kid-friendly bookstore.”

Mapps claims the spot won’t stand unoccupied for long, but he doesn’t see anybody transitioning into the space until after winter. Whatever the outcome, it’s unlikely to cause a stir.

Volunteer Charlie Morris, right, helps Waldo Johnson to the car so he can get to his volunteer gig. COURTESY RIDE CONNECTION

Volunteer Charlie Morris, right, helps Waldo Johnson to the car so he can get to his volunteer gig.

Thirty years of helping people get where they need to go
Ride Connection is about to hit a major milestone by celebrating 30 years of helping get people where they need to go in the Portland area.

The nonprofit provides accessible transportation to seniors and people with disabilities. Rides are given by paid and volunteer drivers. Charlie Morris is a volunteer driver who has been giving his time behind the wheel for 26 years.

Over the past two decades, he’s seen a lot of change in Portland (like new developments and worsening traffic), but one thing remains constant: Ride Connection volunteers are always needed, and their riders are incredibly appreciative. It’s the camaraderie between him and his riders that keeps Charlie volunteering.

Charlie started volunteering in 1993, back when Ride Connection was providing around 15,000 rides a year. Now they give over half a million rides annually.

He remembers helping a gentleman by giving him rides to see his wife in a care facility. “They were usually both asleep when I went to pick him up,” says Charlie; “I think they still enjoyed their time together.”

Recently, he experienced the loss of a longtime rider who had become a friend over the years. Waldo Johnson had just turned 104 before he passed away. “Part of this job is saying goodbye every once and a while. It’s tough, but I’m happy to know that I helped Waldo.” For years, Charlie brought Waldo to and from a Meals on Wheels site where he volunteered twice a week. “I like that I can use my time to help people. It’s a way for them to get out and have experiences.”

In addition to providing door-to-door service like the rides Charlie provides, Ride Connection gets people where they need to go by offering options like transit training and shuttles. The organization relies heavily on state and federal transit funding, but it has spent the last three years working to change that.

In 2015 it set an ambitious goal to raise $1 million in the three years leading up to Ride Connection’s 30th anniversary. This nearly triples their annual fundraising totals from previous years. They have raised $800,000 to date from individuals, corporations and foundations, well on their way to reaching their goal by June 30, 2018.

“More and more, individuals in our region see transportation as a critical need, especially for people with disabilities and older adults who have few or no other options,” says Executive Director Elaine Wells. “That’s good news for us, because with additional funding we can help more people in need.”

Parkrose budget committee vacancies
Parkrose School District has openings for two three-year term positions on its budget committee. These terms will expire June 30, 2020.

Interested applicants must live within district boundaries for at least one year, must be a registered voter and must not be an employee or agent of the district. Committee members are responsible for receiving and reviewing the proposed budget from the budget officer, participating in meetings and approving a budget that best meets the needs of the district.

Interested applicants can find information regarding requirements and the application in person at the district office or at: parkrose.k12.or.us/departments/forms/budget/Budget%201819/Budget%20Committee%20Announcement%20and%20Application.pdf.

Applications are due no later than Jan. 8, 2018 at 5 p.m.

Prosper Portland awards Community Livability Grants 
Prosper Portland will award $1.7 million in Community Livability Grants for fiscal year 2017 to 2018 to 21 projects in five urban renewal areas, leveraging nearly $11 million in private investment. Seven projects in Interstate, four projects in Gateway, four projects in Lents and three projects each in Central Eastside and Old Town Chinatown will receive funding.

The Community Livability Grant project list includes proposals that honor local culture and history, support expansion of workforce service facilities and improve community centers and services. Successful grant applicants are required to make a good faith effort to contract with State of Oregon-certified minority-owned, woman-owned, disadvantaged or emerging small businesses (M/W/D/ESBs). Prosper Portland staff will work with this year’s awardees to identify potential M/W/D/ESB contractors for project work.

The Community Livability Grant Program gives funding priority to projects that improve access to jobs and workforce development services, support wealth creation opportunities for small business owners, honor and enhance the neighborhood’s cultural diversity and history, deliver a community asset tailored to the community’s expressed priorities and opportunities and advance goals of area-specific action plans.

Gateway Regional Center Urban Renewal Area
Our Giving Table will receive $25,000 and a conditional award of $121,240 to build a community kitchen in the Gateway Town Center to distribute an additional 1,500 meals per month.

Friends of Floyd Light Park will receive an $8,500 conditional award for the installation of a trash can, bench and informational kiosk at Floyd Light Park.

Gateway One will receive two conditional awards of $69,000 and $8,500 for placemaking projects in South Gateway and transit center placemaking amenities.

Impact NW will receive $25,000 to make upgrades to the façade of the MakerSpace and warehouse at the Dancing Tree Family Center.

Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Area
Kelly School PTA will receive $75,000 for its community grounds expansion, including the addition of a climbing structure, swing set, shade trees, benches and picnic tables.

Leach Garden Friends will receive $125,000 for the Upper Gardens improvement project, which includes an aerial tree walk and increased accessibility for community members.

REAP will receive $125,000 to assist with its new headquarters renovation.

Wisdom of the Elders will receive $40,000 for expansion of workforce training in environmental assessment and habitat restoration.