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Student vision exercise complete, Parkrose takes over
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Student vision exercise complete, Parkrose takes over


Publisher’s note: For your reading pleasure, we present Perlman’s Potpourri — a roundup of news items from the Gateway and Parkrose neighborhoods of mid-Multnomah County from veteran Beat Reporter Lee Perlman.

This month Perlman reports on the efforts to convert the vision for Parkrose into action and reality.

Next, he tells us about the creation of another commission to improve East Portland...yawn.

Perlman’s next item re-awakens the reader with noise over the composition of the airport update master planning committee.

The Senn’s Dairy Park community garden grand opening was next up on Perlman’s busy schedule. It wasn’t so grand. (Considering this tiny park has had so many “openings” in the five years since its inception — it’s not surprising neighborhood fatigue has set in.)

Following is a short item on TriMet’s attempt to denude its tree-planting plan at the new light rail station under construction on I-205.

And the next item (What would a Perlman Potpourri be without it?): Gateway Urban Renewal news.

Perlman’s last item this month is his report on the Rossi Farms Barn Bash (10th annual, and it’ll still go on). Joe Rossi told me that after years of affiliation with the nonprofit Parkrose Educational Foundation, the Rossi family has created its own 501(c)3 nonprofit foundation, the Parkrose Youth Activities Fund. Also new is a Very Important Person section at the show for the overwhelming number of sponsors this year. The section is kind of like a luxury suite at a stadium — only this section is in a field, with tape around it — those lucky VIP folk.

Parkrose Vision students hand their work over
Six Portland State graduate students have handed off their work to the Parkrose Vision Committee. Now it is up to that committee to turn the report into tangible reality.

Todd Johnson, Laura Butler, Erik Rundell, Sean McCusker, Brian Monberg and Doug Bruchs last month conducted their second and final public meeting at Parkrose High School. The turnout this time was about 30 people, fewer than showed up for a public feedback session in May but still respectable. At the second session the students presented their recommendations. These, as presented by Bruchs, were:

Expand the current five-member Vision Committee, and add new constituencies. Bruch suggested adding liaisons to the Parkrose School District and area churches.

Improve neighborhood communication. While resources for getting the word out exist, they are “not robust, and not well-connected,” Bruchs said. He suggested creating a local newsletter that could be more focused to local needs than the media, even the Memo, could be.

• Market the business district. “You should create an identity for yourself rather than have it created for you,” Bruchs said.

• Enhance the appearance of Sandy Boulevard. Right now the street looks “a little worn down,” Bruchs said. “If a place looks good, people are drawn to it. It would be better if you can see something physically new.”

• Expand the crime prevention program. This, Bruchs said, takes in the activities of both the police and organized volunteers.

• Support Sandy as a neighborhood center. The street now is both a city main street, with a rich commercial and pedestrian life supported by pedestrian activity, and a state highway and route for long-distance traffic. “They don’t go well together,” Bruchs said. He suggested creating a special transportation designation that could better capture the dual functions.

• Host neighborhood events on Sandy Boulevard. Both are intended to strengthen the bond between the businesses on Sandy and the surrounding neighborhood. Bruchs suggested a Taste of Sandy event to promote local restaurants, building to a centennial celebration in 2011. “You want to get people walking around on Sandy, seeing things they haven’t seen before,” he said.

• Explore district design opportunities. The area might have the option to set standards — hard and fast rules on what new development should look like — or guidelines that would provide more flexibility. “Let the community explore the options and see what works,” Bruchs said.

• Partner with local business support systems. There are organizations and agencies that can provide aid to small businesses. “We can help businesses deal with issues rather than throwing up their hands and saying, ‘I can’t deal with all this,’” Bruchs said.

Rundell said that the class’s surveys and research results on community desires were “very similar to what the [Vision Committee] had told us before. They want a strong community, a vital business district and a great place to be. They want to be sure that the businesses that are there are the ones people want to see. There are issues of public safety — not just crime, but pedestrian safety — and making this a comfortable place to be.”

Butler said, “We feel privileged to have been a part of the Vision Committee. This is just the beginning of a process to create a plan by and for the community.”

Parkrose Vision Committee’s Bryan Ableidinger thanked city planner Barry Manning for helping to connect the class to the neighborhood, leading them to select it as a project for their thesis. “He volunteered us these students here in green,” he said, pointing to the class all clad in green T-shirts created for the project. “I told them my goal was to get Parkrose to secede from Portland,” he joked. “I’m very impressed with what they’ve accomplished in a short period of time. They’ve lived here, immersed themselves in the community and helped us figure out what Parkrose wants to be when it grows up. These young folks have laid a great foundation of knowledge and research for us. The next step is for us.”

As a final gift, the class gave the Vision Committee orange T-shirts to match their own, with enough extra for future members.

East Portland Commission, Review may come together
Largely at the instigation of Commissioner Randy Leonard, the city budget includes an allocation of $125,000 for a Far East Portland Improvement Commission. State Representative Jeff Merkley, in his legislative report, said the body would include representatives of state and local politicians, neighborhood associations, businesses, social services and a city planner. The issues he hoped the group would take on include the disproportionately high crime rate; immigrants and poverty; high-density, low-amenity infill development; a need for land-use planning and the fact that governmental and private agencies are “disparately expending resources, limiting their potential effectiveness.”

An illustration of this last point might well be the separate efforts on behalf of the proposed commission and the Bureau of Planning’s proposed East Portland Review, which have remarkably similar agendas. Planner Barry Manning, who will carry out the review, and Leonard’s aide Ty Kovatch both said they are aware of the issue and will try to ensure that the two efforts at least coordinate with each other.

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