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Hats off to Gateway Elkettes
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Perlman's Potpourri:
Gateway Park site needs clean up
82nd Ave. fence returns
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Gateway Park site needs clean up

Editor’s note: Welcome to Perlman’s Potpourri, news items from across the Gateway and Parkrose neighborhoods of mid-Multnomah County from veteran Beat Reporter Lee Perlman. A selection of highlights for June follows.

Coming up, the Portland Development Commission obtained a $300,000 grant to clean up a portion of the site slated to for a future park in the heart of Gateway at Northeast 106th Avenue and Halsey Street.

Plus, music will return to Ventura Park this summer, courtesy of the Portland Parks Bureau.

Also in this month’s Potpourri, TriMet cuts service to large parts of Northeast 102nd Ave. and trims MAX frequency of service as well.

Later in the Potpourri, the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability airs its recommendations for its Eastside MAX Station Area Project at an open house June 11 at the East Portland Community Center.

Madison South Neighborhood Association brings back its 3.5-mile Base to Butte walk.

And finally this month, the Office of Neighborhood Involvement — the city bureau that oversees the East Portland Neighborhood Office — elects to retain its earmark neighborhood grants program while slicing the graffiti removal budget in half. You’ll get your community fairs, but held in neighborhoods increasingly scarred by graffiti.

But first, the work to clean up a site for a park in Gateway ...

LEE PERLMAN
THE MID-COUNTY MEMO

Gateway Park moves forward
The new park site in Gateway — the former J. J. North’s Restaurant and Bingo Parlor property on Northeast Halsey Street and 106th Avenue, comprising about four acres — is a long way from being an actual park, but it has taken some steps in that direction.

Gateway Urban Renewal Program Advisory Committee Chair Bob Earnest announced last month that the Portland Development Commission has obtained a $300,000 grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency that will allow for the cleanup of toxic material in the soil at the southwest corner of the site, where a dry cleaners used to be and where chemicals were routinely disposed of. PDC also intends to demolish the vacant J. J. North’s building this summer to prevent it from becoming an attractive nuisance, Earnest said.

Linda Robinson, a member of the Citywide Parks Committee, said that for now the Parks Bureau is calling the site the Gateway Park property. The bureau has an elaborate process for selecting a name, which must have “something to do with the history of the area or a prominent deceased person,” she told the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association last month. “You can’t name it after an existing person or company unless they contribute a lot to the bureau.”

In fact, there have been some epic battles between the bureau and communities over park names, including Senn’s Dairy Park on Northeast Prescott Street at 112th Avenue a few years ago. Although this was clearly the locally favored name, the bureau resisted mightily and insisted it be called Prescott Park instead.

In other park news, Robinson reported that new facilities at East Holladay Park will soon be completed. These will include an off-leash dog area separated from other areas by a fence, a walking path and three benches.

Music in Ventura Park
Despite hard economic times that make it much harder to secure private donations, Ventura Park will host two free public concerts for the second year, Hazelwood Neighborhood Association volunteer Linda Robinson said. The concerts will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. August 19 and 26. The full program is unknown at this time, but the first group performing will play Russian gypsy music. The concerts are part of a citywide program co-sponsored by the Portland Parks & Recreation and local neighborhood groups. Last year’s Ventura Park concert series was the first for a park east of 82nd Avenue.

TriMet cuts service
The TriMet board proceeded last month with cuts to bus and light rail service. The cuts, as recommended by the agency staff and approved by the board without a change, were the same as noted in last month’s Memo. They include a cessation of service on line 15 Belmont/N.W. 23rd between the Gateway and Parkrose/Sumner transit centers, leaving this part of Northeast 102nd Avenue with no bus service at all. TriMet will also cut the frequency of Blue and Red Line MAX light rail service during off-peak hours, although this will be offset to some degree by the opening of the Green Line from Clackamas Town Center.

Planning processes
The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will air its recommendations for its East Side MAX Station Area Project at an open house from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 11 at the East Portland Community Center, 705 S.E. 106th Ave. Planners will recommend traffic and transportation improvements and some zone changes for the area within a half mile of six east side MAX stations, including 82nd, Parkrose/Sumner, 122nd, 148th and 162nd. The intent is to facilitate the kind of high-intensity residential and commercial development the city wants to see near these stations; however, there will also be some downzoning to provide a gentler transition to adjacent single-family homes. The project is also trying to make it easier and safer for people to get to the stations by bike or foot.

The day before the open house, also from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and also at the East Portland Community Center, the Portland Office of Transportation will show proposed changes to its Gateway Master Street Plan. The city is trying to provide for the creation of a street network to facilitate both development and transportation in the area. They will do this by reserving land for this purpose as development occurs. However, property owners have complained that the bureau has taken a heavy-handed approach, in places plotting future streets that would go through existing buildings. The revised plans take a more flexible approach by reserving land where roads are needed and where it is sensible, while trying to accommodate development.

Base to Butte is back
The Madison South Neighborhood Association’s Base to Butte benefit is back with a different starting point and slightly different format. On Saturday, June 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., participants can hike to the summit of Rocky Butte and back — a distance of about 3.5 miles — for free with a requested donation of $5. This fundraiser allows people to both get some exercise and enjoy this natural resource.

This year the hikes will start from the parking lot of the Asian-American Shopping Center on Northeast 82nd Avenue at Siskiyou Street. There will be a Community Village of food vendors, entertainers and other activities, and public and private agencies providing information; this will be open until 4 p.m. For those wishing to participate, Madison South Event Organizer Carter Cummings says that 10’ by 10’ spaces are still available for $10. For more information, call 971-222-8590 or visit base2butte@madisonsouth.org.

Adams thinks “Right” is right
Mayor Sam Adams agrees with Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Office of Neighborhood Involvement Executive Director Amalia Alarcon about what ONI’s budget should be. The mayor’s budget includes the so-called Right Budget for ONI, which cuts spending from 2008-09 levels by 10 percent. A draft proposal by the city’s Office of Finance and Administration would have cut the budget for the agency, which oversees and funds the East Portland Neighborhood Office, by 16 to 18 percent. The Right Budget makes cuts primarily to the central office in city hall. Although it cuts the appropriation slightly, it retains the popular Neighborhood Grants program. The biggest cut under the draft will be a 50 percent reduction to the Graffiti Abatement Program, which will no longer have staff to remove graffiti from public and private property and is restricted to directing volunteer efforts.

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