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Memo Pad...

To fully serve the community, the Mid-county Memo offers this section to showcase upcoming special events, celebrations of milestones in our readers' lives, those seemingly small accomplishments that often do not receive the recognition they deserve, and everyday events that should be shared with friends and neighbors along with opportunities to participate in the community. Memo Pad submissions for the March issue are due Friday, Feb. 15. For best results, email Darlene Vinson at Or mail submissions to 3510 N.E. 134th Ave, Portland, OR 97230. To leave a phone message, call 503-287-8904. The fax number is 503-249-7672.

Choir Fest raises $4,406 for homeless
Nine church choirs and one community choir combine to sing the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel's Messiah at the annual Epiphany Choir Fest, a benefit that raised $4,406 for Human Solutions' Homeless Families Program. Pacific Power matched the first $1,500 in donations.
The holiday season lived on at the 13th annual Epiphany Choir Fest, a Jan. 6 benefit at Rose City Park United Methodist Church. Pacific Power matched the first $1,500 in donations to bring the total to $4,406 for the Human Solutions Homeless Families Program.

Churches that participated in the Epiphany Choir Fest include those in the network of faith organizations that contribute time and resources to the Daybreak Shelter Network, a year-round, 15-bed facility for homeless families located in the daytime in the basement of Peace Church of the Brethren, and the Family Winter Shelter, a seasonal 82-bed facility that provides overnight shelter to homeless families at Parkrose Community United Church of Christ. In addition to these shelters, the Homeless Families Program at Human Solutions is currently serving an average of 200 more homeless families each night. In total, about 750 homeless adults and children are sheltered or housed at Human Solutions on any given night, according to Executive Director Jean DeMaster.

Funds from the Epiphany Choir Fest help ensure that Human Solutions can provide emergency shelter 365 days and nights per year to homeless families, DeMaster said. “We are seeing record demand for emergency shelter and other services, and rely on the community to help sustain critical programs that help homeless families permanently overcome their homelessness and attain self-sufficiency,” she said. “We are so grateful to our local faith partners, who each year contribute their time and talent to the Epiphany Choir Fest and make it so successful. We are especially thankful this year for the wonderful gift from Pacific Power.”

As in years past, local church choirs and community choirs sang traditional Christmas anthems and carols at the event, which culminated in the combined choirs singing “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel's Messiah. Retired local pastor Charlie Ross once again presided over the event, serving as emcee and song leader.

Choirs from the following churches and community groups participated this year: Ascension Catholic, Central Church of the Nazarene, Colonial Heights Presbyterian, Eastrose Unitarian, Gethsemane Lutheran, Parkrose United Methodist, Rose City Park United Methodist Praise Band, Sacred Heart Catholic, St. Timothy Lutheran, and Voices of Hope Community Choir.

Human Solutions builds pathways out of poverty by promoting self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income families and individuals in east Portland and east Multnomah county. The agency's four key program areas are homelessness prevention, affordable housing, employment and economic development, and safety net services such as rent and utility assistance. For more information, visit

Gateway urban renewal manager promoted
Justin Douglas, a Senior Project Manager at the Portland Development Commission focused on east Portland projects, was promoted to policy manager at PDC recently. Starting as a consultant in 2006 with a focus on Gateway, Douglas, a Baltimore native, began working fulltime for PDC in April 2007.

He managed the Central Gateway Redevelopment Strategy that included revising the Gateway Master Street Plan; worked to acquire, re-mediate, and master plan the future park/ redevelopment site at Northeast 106th and Halsey Street and managed the installation of the light pole banners on 102nd Avenue. Douglas worked with the Gateway Program Advisory Committee (PAC) for more than five years, rising to senior project manager.

The promotion takes Douglas out of east Portland and Gateway Regional Center Urban Renewal Area project work.

In his new role as policy manager, he will work with the PDC board and leadership team on agency-wide strategic initiatives.

Ted Gilbert, a principal at Gilbert Bros. Commercial Brokerage Company and a Gateway PAC member said, “Justin's thoughtful listening, clear communication and even demeanor have made him a trusted resource to all the players and interests involved with creating the Gateway Regional Center.” Gilbert owns eight acres between Northeast Pacific and Glisan streets and Northeast 99th and 102nd avenues in the heart of the Gateway Regional Center urban renewal area.

Bob Earnest, a Hazelwood resident and neighborhood association member and Gateway PAC co-chair for more than two years said of Douglas, “Justin has been a champion for Gateway Regional Center Urban Renewal.

He has provided outstanding leadership and has advocated for the development of Gateway. His positive vision for the future of the area has brought community leaders to the table on many occassions. I hope the momentum he has built will continue into the future. He will be missed by me and the Gateway urban renewal area committee.”

In an email, Douglas said, “I'm excited for a new challenge and am thrilled I'll be able to do it with an employer whose mission I wholeheartedly support.”

EPNO awards Neighborhood Grants
The Parkrose High School Alumni Association received a $3,500 neighborhood grant towards production of a 100 Years of Parkrose Music project set for September.
Last 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 work
• 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 Alumni 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 Program.

There is still time (for trees)
Yes, for some of you, there is still time to both buy and plant street trees in parking strips. Friends of Trees is offering trees, at $35 to $75 apiece depending on variety and location, to property owners in the Argay, Parkrose, Parkrose Heights, Russell, Sumner and Wilkes neighborhoods through February 4. Trees are offered that are calculated not to cause damage to pavement or overhead wires in a specific site. The price includes required city permits and planting by volunteer crews. Owners are required to pledge to water and care for their new trees for at least two years.

You can also help plant your own or your neighbors' trees. The plantings for the neighborhoods listed above will begin at 9 a.m. March 9, with volunteers meeting at Parkrose Community United Church of Christ, 12505 N.E. Halsey St. Come dressed for dirty work outdoors, possibly in the rain, and bring work gloves. Volunteers get coffee and pastries before, pizza afterward, instructions from crew leaders, and the satisfaction of helping make a street and neighborhood more pleasant. For more information call Friends of Trees at 503-282-8846 or visit

Make the world a better place for cats
Tuesday, Feb. 26, is World Spay Day and all of February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month. In support of these important campaigns, the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon is offering free spay/neuter surgeries for feral and stray cats scheduled throughout February. This month-long campaign aims to raise awareness that spay/neuter saves lives and highlight the importance of spaying or neutering cats before the summer kitten season.

As the weather gets warmer, breeding season begins for unaltered cats. It is easy for a person feeding one outdoor cat this winter to find themselves feeding 20 cats by fall unless the cats get spayed or neutered. Bringing cats in to FCCO's spay/neuter clinics now will prevent a cat population boom from happening to you.

On Feb. 26 for World Spay Day, FCCO will spay/neuter 50 cats utilizing funds received through a grant from the Humane Society of the United States. FCCO will partner with the Multnomah County Animal Shelter's Apartment Cat Team program to trap and transport cats from apartment complexes in the Portland area for a special clinic on this day.

If you are feeding feral or stray cats, call FCCO today at 503-797-2606 to schedule a spay/neuter appointment. All surgeries are performed by licensed veterinarians at FCCO's North Portland clinic. Services are donation-based and include a spay or neuter; vaccinations; flea and ear mite treatment; and an ear-tip for identification. Space is limited.

Learn more about FCCO at
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