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Alternative program sets pace for giving
Citizens debate park development fee increase
Refugees learn new laws, public safety rules
SnowCap Christmas dinner feeds the needs of the season
Workwise program changing how we think about work
City, county launch East Portland Action Plan
School District bond due to expire in December 2011
Carolyn Dowd, teacher, mentor succumbs
102nd Avenue work begins January 14

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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.

Memo Pad submissions for the February issue are due by Tuesday, Jan. 15. For best results, e-mail Darlene Vinson at Or mail editorial 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.

Adult volunteers needed for thespian event
Parkrose High School will host the Oregon Thespian Acting Conference NE Regional Acting Competition on Saturday, Feb. 2. Adult volunteers are needed throughout the day. Contact Ms. Zena, drama department head, at 503-408-2621 or to receive a volunteer application form. You may sign up for the morning shift (7 a.m. to noon) or the afternoon shift (noon to 5 p.m.).

Students from schools in Oregon located north of the 45th parallel and east of Interstate 5 will participate. This event serves as the qualifier for the state competition later in the year. Performers may enter and be judged in a variety of categories ranging from dramatic to comedic to musical. For space and security reasons, there will be no audiences for this event. The Memo will print a follow-up after the competition.

Homeless kids have happier holiday
Judy Caruso of the Gateway Project, the Parkrose School District program that serves homeless students, credits ON Semiconductor in Gresham with rescuing district homeless kids over the holiday season. Caruso, who is in charge of resource development said, “Our donations were down and our numbers were up. ON Semiconductor established a giving tree for more than 40 students. The effort resulted in more than $1,300 in gift cards for Project Coordinator Bob Grovenburg to hand out to these students. What this means is there will be meals for the youngsters who depend on the school for sustenance.”

She went on to say that the Gateway Project relies heavily on community partners like ON Semiconductor. If you would like to help out, contact Caruso at 503-408-2110 or

You may also be interested in related stories from past issues of the Memo: “Homeless — not helpless,” Nov. 2006 and “Community support makes prom accessible,” May 2007. Both are available in the archives section at

An idea for the New Year
Judy Alley is hoping folks in east Multnomah County, including the neighborhoods in Parkrose, Gateway and David Douglas, will make some New Year’s resolutions and stick to them.

Alley is executive director of SnowCap Community Charities, a 40-year-old nonprofit, faith-based volunteer agency that provides food, clothing, seasonal energy assistance, English language instruction and other advocacy services for low-income and disadvantaged families and individuals.

“If folks are really serious about helping their community and also pursuing good health in 2008, we’d be delighted to receive those high calorie, high cholesterol items that may have been set aside from Christmas baskets,” Alley said. She mentioned fois gras, cheeses, nuts, chocolates, cookies, candy and other items.

“We can mix these with nutritious staples and provide good food boxes for our clients,” she said.

Despite a near-empty pantry, SnowCap continued to provide Christmas boxes to those in need last year. This effort left the shelves pretty stark. A major problem faced by SnowCap has been the substantial number of food recalls.

The year 2007 set a record for these recalls, Alley noted. Chili, stew, baby food, hamburger, even chocolate was recalled as unsafe to eat.

“Since these foods were donated to SnowCap, it was difficult to return them to a store for replacement. Only Gerber was able to replace the food we sent back,” she said.

In addition, Alley noted new requests for food boxes at year-end. These newcomers included parents employed at minimum-wage jobs with no health insurance to help meet essential medical costs, families whose adjustable mortgage payments have increased more than $200 per month, people who have been laid off in the real estate slowdown and seniors living on minimal fixed incomes who cannot afford higher prices at the grocery store.

If your New Year’s resolution includes helping the community and watching that waistline, call SnowCap Community Charities at 503-674-8785.

In addition to food donations, SnowCap can use cash.

“We can purchase food from the Oregon Food Bank for 10 cents a pound. This means we can acquire more food for the dollar than the general public,” Alley said. “And cash gifts to SnowCap are tax deductible.”

The agency also needs volunteer drivers to deliver food boxes to low-income seniors. Drivers must have insurance, a valid driver’s license and the ability to carry a food box.

Food can be donated at SnowCap’s warehouse door at 17788 S.E. Pine St. between 9 a.m and 3 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. and noon on Saturdays. Additional information is available by calling 503-674-8785.

Mid-county represented well at awards ceremony
From community advocates to musicians to businesses and nonprofits, the winners of this year’s Spirit of Portland Awards exemplify the very best of Portland. They were honored at a ceremony at City Hall last month. As in years past, those recognized included a number of folks well known and active in Mid-county.

The popular awards have been presented annually since 1985 to Portland neighbors and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the community.

This year a near-record 108 nominations were received. A selection committee of citizens, city staff and representatives from the business community chose the winners.

Susan Barthel began working for the city on Columbia Slough projects in 1993. She helped found the Columbia Slough Watershed Council and is responsible in part for the development and successes of many of its community events. She was honored as Employee Volunteer.

For nearly 20 years, Human Solutions has been empowering low-income and homeless families in east and mid-Multnomah County. Selected as the winner in the Nonprofit Organization category, Human Solutions also coordinates the Daybreak Shelter Network, a homeless shelter for families that is run almost entirely by volunteers.

Allison Stoll has been executive director of Central Northeast Neighbors since 1998. She received the award for Outstanding Partnership. At CNN, she works with the Bureau of Environmental Services to create the Bulk Waste Collection Program and works with tenants of the Clara Vista Apartments to improve living conditions and force landlords to make necessary repairs.

Jamie Mayfield, a senior at Madison High School, devoted last summer to helping kids in her neighborhood and proved to be an excellent role model in the process. She volunteered with the Roseway Heights SUN Community School program helping to implement art, sports, games, water activities and a neighborhood teen research project. Mayfield was honored in the Youth category.

Two women with ties to the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization were honored for promoting community harmony.

Delores Dillard is a community educator at IRCO Africa House. She provides workshops, diversity training and case management to connect families with agencies that can help with housing, energy assistance, school registration, language translation and clothing.

Lul Abdulle, a Somalian refugee, heads the Somali Women’s Association working to help strengthen families and connect them to services. She works with IRCO in various programs from the Parenting Program to Human Trafficking.

Patrick Lamb Productions was recognized for Independent Spirit. Patrick Lamb Productions takes pride in being a significant contributor to Portland’s growing creative and musical community in addition to hosting successful fundraisers to help feed hungry families. Live performances headlined three Oregon Food Bank fundraisers this year. Lamb is an alumnus of Parkrose High School.

Immigrant, student leader receives honor
Gateway Elks Youth Activities Chairperson Mike Finch (left) and Exalted Ruler Jim Schuermyer (far right) with the Riskin family (from left) — mom Tanya, sister Michelle, Teen of the Month Award winner Karina, and dad Tim.
Submitted Photo
The Gateway Elks Lodge Youth Activities Committee has selected David Douglas High School senior Karina Riskin as Dec. 2007 Teenager of the Month.

The daughter of Tim and Tanya Riskin, Karina was born in Belarus, Russia, in 1990.

Riskin carries a 3.85 grade point average and is active in school sports. A varsity letterman, Riskin plays second singles on the David Douglas tennis team. She is also very active in the Student Council and is the senior class president.

She volunteers on the Link Crew, a program designed to train juniors and seniors to help freshmen transition into the high school environment. She is also active in Students Today Aren’t Ready for Sex. STARS pairs high school students with seventh-graders to address peer pressure and social pressures and to provide information on the consequences of early sexual involvement as well as offering strategies and skills to say no.

Additionally, Riskin is a Leadership Institute volunteer. In 2004 and 2005, she worked eighth and ninth grade English as a Second Language. She was a volunteer at the 2004 Cultural Conference and, in 2006, she was a representative at the Russian Speaking Youth Leadership Conference.

When not busy with school, sports or community involvement, Riskin works as a footwear specialist at Joe’s Inc. Riskin also enjoys traveling with her family. She is particularly fond of the scenery and summer weather in California and Canada. She also likes scrapbooking and hanging out with friends.

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