Monday, February 20th, 2017
5:15 PM – 6:45 PM
Kennedy School Community Room
- Begin Planning for Spring Egg Hunt scheduled for April 15
- Discuss Fundraising Strategy for Concerts/Movie in Fernhill Park
- Elect Social Committee Chair for 2017
By Daniel Greenstadt – Concordia Neighborhood Association Board Member
It seems that breaking with political and social norms has become an American trend lately, and your neighborhood association is keeping up with the times. So, beginning with this issue of Concordia News, we’re casting tradition aside and turning “Chair’s Corner” into “CNA Voices” where, instead of hearing only from the chair, we’ll offer the perspectives of Concordia Neighborhood Association (CNA) board and committee members.
CNA is led by many dedicated souls who show up to lead the board and to staff and support the various committees, where the real work gets done. Together with you – residents of Portland’s greatest neighborhood – we’re building a better community.
And just how much better? Well, the dawn of a new year calls for a quick review of 2016 accomplishments so we can be sure to outdo ourselves in 2017. Here are some of CNA’s community-building events:
Can we top all that in 2017? Let’s!
By Nancy Varekamp, CNews Editor
Editor’s note: The February 2017 CNews published a short report on how increased tensions in a divisive political climate are being experienced in Concordia. Unfortunately, a short newspaper story cannot offer many details. This is a longer version of that printed story but – to repurpose a phrase – it isn’t “the rest of the story.”
Increased tensions across the country are causing people to think about how they relate to each other, even here in Concordia.
That’s why the Concordia Neighborhood Association Board of Directors wrote a letter of support to community members. People from across Portland are talking more about how to support each other, and parents find themselves tackling tough subjects with their children.
“You should’ve known we’ve got your back. It’s should’ve already been out there,” Ben Preacher tells his customers and friends. The Wilder Bar & Café publican believes people in the community have always supported each other and will help if anyone feels marginalized or that their safety is threatened.
“In America, it’s impolite to speak of politics and religion,” Ben has learned in his six years in Portland. That’s the opposite of his native Ireland. He encourages his customers and friends to keep talking, and to join him engaging in political and social action.
Customer and friend James Armstrong agrees. “We live in this progressive bubble out here and there’s a significant part of the country we don’t relate to.” He said he’s nervous about changes to come in social service and health policies, and he’s looking for ways he can make a difference.
Complex issues aren’t new to him as president of Alberta Main Street. “In recent years, we’ve been heavily focused on what lots of Portland is focused on – equity,” he said. “Living in a gentrified community, acknowledging the faults of the past is not enough. We’re making it clear that moving forward, our organization is an ally to the entire community.”
Co-owner of Alberta Eye Care, he also keeps pulse on healthcare issues. “There’s a huge unknown there. Already, in recent years, our patients have been paying increasing premiums with higher deductibles and fewer options.”
He’s concerned that won’t ebb.
Children have fears too, according to Claire LaPoma Faubion Elementary School counselor and Trillium Family Services therapist. Children – and parents – have her ear and her shoulder daily.
Children are like sponges, according to her, and they pick up on their parents’ concerns – and on their calmness. “The bigger picture stuff can feel pretty heavy to adults and to kiddos,” she said. “As adults, we have fully-cooked brains, reason and life experience to find our own sources of resiliency.
“For kiddos, their developmental level can make it challenging to cope with change.” According to Claire, the bigger picture can overwhelm them
She encourages tackling their concerns and fears as a family. (See the formula Claire calls SELF to help direct family discussions.)
“Bring it home,” Claire said. “I urge parents and children to talk about what they can do within their families and the communities to maintain a sense of safety.”
Talking can be therapeutic – and it can lead to action.
“We’ve always wanted to be known as the place you can talk about things,” Ben said of his neighborhood meeting place. And that was made evident by the dramatic shift in business in November. Neighbors sharing concerns and opinions filled Wilder.
There’s already a somewhat formal start on sharing concerns on a citywide basis. A meeting in late November – dubbed “What Now?” – drew hundreds of people. Several human resources agencies in attendance reached out to individuals and other groups for volunteers, advocates and support.
“There was this massive momentum, with all of us like-minded people sharing our frustrations and our hope,” Ben said. “It was a strategic planning meeting for strategic planning.”
It may be too soon – in what’s been described as a divisive climate – for specific action to assure the safety of marginalized populations, healthcare and other issues on the political horizon.
James, already active in local political issues, is keeping tabs on opportunities to help make a difference. “It’s a little bit of a no man’s land right now, with the accusations of Russia hacking the election and the country’s leaders being named.
Watching, listening, talking – and caring for each other – are the frontrunners to action, James said. “Getting together to make things better by tackling difficult, complex issues require people from all backgrounds.”
Beneficial insects work around the clock to protect your garden from pests. Meet the diverse cast of predators that provide free pest control, discover plant types and management practices that provide food, water, and shelter to attract and sustain beneficial insects that help your garden thrive.
Register online at: www.emswcd.org/workshops
Date: Wednesday, March 15
Time: 6:30 – 9:00 pm
Location: McMenamin’s Kennedy School, Community Room – 5736 NE 33rd Ave, Portland
For more information call 503-222-7645
Download the flyer (pdf)
By Nancy Varekamp, CNews Editor
Last spring’s reports about lead in the water at local schools heightened awareness about lead poisoning risks.
But exposure from lead solder in home plumbing systems is more likely to appear in homes built after 1970. The threat in the older housing stock in Concordia – and an estimated 80 percent of Multnomah County – is from lead-based paint that wasn’t banned until 1978.
“Homes built before 1940 have a 90 percent chance of containing lead-based paint,” estimated Sherrie Pelsma, Community Energy Project (CEP) program director. The nonprofit organizations works to empower people to maintain healthier, more livable homes.
CEP offers workshops year round to help Portland-area residents understand the risks and reduce of lead exposure.
Children from the womb to age 6 are especially vulnerable because lead in the blood can affect brain development. Recent studies concluded lead-related cognitive decadence in children can lead to:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 535,000 of the country’s children ages 1-5 have lead poisoning. Blood tests are recommended for children ages 6 to 12 months and again at 24 months.
Lead settles anywhere
According to Pelsma, lead dust – from paint and even gasoline fumes prior to 1986 – can settle anywhere. From paint, that’s most likely below a roof’s drip line, and from gas fumes it’s in gardens near street curbs. In the soil, lead never breaks down.
Newer paint wears through at points of friction, like double-hung windows. Even mini blinds manufactured before 1997 contain lead and shed the dust as they deteriorate.
“Lead that is inhaled, is absorbed at 100 percent strength by children and adults,” Pelsma said. “If consumed – in foods or liquids – adults absorb 10 percent and children 50.
“The only way to be sure of recent lead exposure is to have your blood tested.”
Lead workshops abound
CEP delivers about 80 “Lead 101” workshops per year and 15 “Lead-Safe Home Projects” sessions for do-it-yourself remodelers. (Workshops open to the public can be found on the events calendar.)
They cover much more than lead poisoning risks. They feature detection, prevention, and basic lead-safe work practices. They also introduce the several organizations that partner to help residents and businesses mitigate hazards.
Check back with CNews next month for details on tips and services to help you curb lead in your home.
Here’s help for you and your home
Community Energy Project
Multnomah County Health Department
Oregon Health Authority
Portland Water Bureau
Alberta Main Street’s Equitable Placemaking Historical Marker Outreach Project is seeking stories that document the history of the African American community on Alberta Street.
Stories will be included on the Alberta Main Street website, and selected stories will be the basis of historical and cultural markers on Alberta Street between 10th and 31st avenues.
If your story is selected for a historical marker on Alberta Street, you will receive a $500 stipend to participate in the marker design process.
Business owners, residents, and visitors are all invited to submit stories. You may submit a written story, photographs or other documents: on AlbertaMainSt.org, send them to Stories@AlbertaMainSt.org or 1722 N.E. Alberta St., 97211. All stories require a signed Life History Form and Informed Consent and Copyright Permission Form, available at AlbertaMainSt.org.
Oral Histories may be recorded at a Wednesday, Nov.9, community meeting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Cerimon House, 5131 N.E. 23rd Ave. RSVPs may be made at AlbertaMainSt.org. Other oral histories may be uploaded electronically at AlbertaMainSt.org or by scheduling an appointment by calling 503.683.3252, ext. 2.
For details and/or to ask questions, Kenya Budd, Alberta Main Street Equity and Engagement coordinator, may be reached at that phone number and at Kenya@AlbertaMainSt.org.
Contributed by Alberta Main Street
By Carrie Wenninger, CNA Media Team
This month’s featured mural is unusual because its canvas is not the side of a building, but the blacktop!
Mural location: Intersection of Sumner Street and 32nd Avenue
Artists: This mural was created in conjunction with the Village Building Convergence (VBC), part of the City Repair Project. Good neighbor Taylor Nehrling spearheaded the effort, bringing the community together to paint a tribute to Brook Irwin, who lost her fight with cancer the year prior, and to honor Brook’s husband and son, who reside in the family home at the corner of this intersection.
What the artwork represents: In a word: community. The design was inspired by the things that Brook loved… from stones for her affinity for geology, and hibiscus and waterfalls representing her affection for Hawaii. Even her name runs through it as moving water. The dragon motif evolved spontaneously as neighbors worked together on the design.
Age of mural: It was painted in spring 2015 with donations from VBC, Concordia Neighborhood Association, local realtor Mark Charlesworth and neighbors.
Fun fact: The stepping stones running through the brook offer both the idea of safety as well as a playful, skipping opportunity for passersby.
By Riley O’Boyle
Living in Portland for two decades, photographer Geoffrey Hiller rarely rode the bus until last year.
When he lived in New York back in the 1980s, he had worked on a photo essay featuring the A-Train. But it wasn’t until returning home to Portland from a 2015 trip to Myanmar that he really noticed Bus 75.
“I wanted the energy from the trip to keep going, so I began The Hidden Portland project, which captures life along the 75 route, and it developed organically,” he said.
In May 2015, Geoffrey boarded the 75 – the bus closest to his home – getting on and off at different stops to strike up conversations at various businesses, as well as focusing his camera on the cityscape.
With a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, he produced a blog and exhibit, featuring locations within a city block of the bus route, a 20-mile stretch between downtown Milwaukie and St. Johns. That includes the length of Concordia neighborhood on 42nd Avenue.
Hiller brought on board writer Tom Vandel to contribute text to the work, and the pair published an illustrated post every Monday on Bus75.org.
“While I certainly acknowledge there’s an aspect of the project that focuses on the disappearing Portland, I didn’t intend to make overt commentary on it,” Geoffrey explained. “A lot of people are trying to pick up on the gentrification aspect of the project, and we can’t deny that. We know it exists. We allude to it.
“But at the end of the day, we are trying to get at something beyond that,” he added. “I’m looking for a different angle, something that will fill in the blanks between the story of gentrification and the celebration of the old Portland.
“There are ideas and themes that a photograph can hint at, even when words fail to describe them. That’s what I seek out.”
The project blog will continue until the end of December. The Hidden Portland exhibit is on display in the George R. White Library Learning Center at Concordia University through Dec. 18. It includes several photos that never made it into the blog.
Riley, certified engineer in training, graduated from Oregon Institute of Technology with a degree in civil engineering, with an extracurricular focus and interest in community engagement through written and visual media. New to Portland, he pursues a career in stormwater management, while he continues the practice of written and visual media production. Contact him RSOBboyle13@gmail.com.
THE AUGUST WILSON RED DOOR PROJECT GIVES PORTLAND STUDENTS A SHOT AT BROADWAY
The August Wilson Red Door Project is thrilled to announce the re-launch of the August Wilson Monologue Competition, which gives Portland-area high school students, grades 10-12, the opportunity to perform monologues from African-American playwright August Wilson’s plays and compete for a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to New York City for the National Finals. So much more than an acting competition, the AWMC is a transformational journey of self-discovery and an opportunity to engage directly with the most urgent and fundamental issues in our society. As a playwright, August Wilson gave voice and value to populations who were previously absent from American stages. Wilson, the first person to put the African-American vernacular down on paper, put forth the idea that this way of speaking should be celebrated and exalted, instead of ignored, corrected or cleaned up. In the words of Red Door’s founder, Kevin Jones, “What’s unique about the AWMC program is it meets students where they are with powerful stories straight out of African American culture and history.”
Applying for the competition is the first step of a six-month journey that will push students to discover their own talents and gifts and hold them accountable for their own success. The August Wilson Red Door Project team will be there to support students at every stop of the process, from selecting a monologue from Wilson’s catalogue, working on memorization, script analysis and character building. At the heart of completion is a series of six weekly intensive masterclasses, where students selected for the competition work on their pieces with help from leading professional theater artists from Portland and beyond. For two finalists, this journey will culminate with a trip to NYC and the opportunity to perform in the August Wilson Theater on Broadway.
There is no cost to apply for or participate in the AWMC. If you are a teacher or work with youth, we are offering an in-class recruitment presentation through Nov. 30, which gives a bigger picture of August Wilson’s work, his impact on American theater and contemporary society, and how his work directly connects to themes of gentrification, incarceration and social justice that are so alive in our current times. While we are actively looking for students of color, we encourage students from all ethnicities, backgrounds and experience to apply online by November 30 at reddoorproject.org.
Key upcoming dates for the Monologue Competition
Application Deadline: NOVEMBER 30, 2016
Orientation: DECEMBER 30, 2016
Preliminary Auditions: JANUARY 7, 2017
Callbacks: JANUARY 8, 2017
Master Classes: JANUARY 14, 21, 28 and FEBRUARY 4, 11, 18 2017
Regional Finals: FEBRUARY 27, 2017
National Finals: APRIL 28-MAY 2 2017
For more information, please visit http://reddoorproject.org/awmc.
By Doug Decker, historian
The question: The building with a flagpole on the east side of 33rd near Alberta looks kind of out of place for a house, but too residential to have been a commercial building. What’s the story there? – Bianca Karjalainen, 32nd Avenue
The historian reports: Good eye. The building in question – 4828 NE 33rd Ave. – is the current home of the Oregon Stamp Society (OSS) but was originally constructed as a fire station, home of Engine Company 34, built in 1928.
The station was opened and dedicated Nov. 1, 1928, with Captain Dan Shaw in charge and R. Mitchell as junior captain. Over the years, the station also served the neighborhood as a polling place, toy drop-off during holiday charity drives, and the focus of summer community barbecues and open houses.
During the teens and 1920s, a series of similar small fire stations – that each typically housed just one engine and were known as “three-man stations” – were constructed in the heart of Portland’s residential neighborhoods. They were designed to fit in. Have a look at similar stations at 2200 N.E. 24th Ave. and at Southeast 13th Avenue and Tenino Street which, incidentally were also decommissioned in the late 1950s.
Portland Fire Chief Lee Holden (1925- 1927), who was also an amateur architect, designed these stations. Holden’s attention to details – the choice of red brick, the wide and inviting gables and exterior columns, the operating multi-pane casement windows, the interior boxed-beam ceilings and classic interior wood trim –all speak to popular residential design elements of the period.
Much of the original station interior on 33rd Avenue has been remodeled to serve the needs of the stamp club, but there are clues to its earlier life:
Mechanical systems, according to OSS president Eric Hummel, have been replaced several times since the society acquired the building in 1960.
The original garage door for the fire engine was on the front right of the station, but a casement window from the south side was put in its place when the opening was bricked over in the early 1960s.
The station was functional until August 1959, when fire operations for the area shifted to the new station at 19th and Killingsworth (more on that in a moment), and Engine Company 34 was sent to serve the St. Johns neighborhood.
The closure was the result of a reorganization of the Portland Fire Bureau by city commissioner Stanley W. Earl and a $3 million bond measure passed by voters in 1957 to build seven new stations across the city.
The OSS purchased the decommissioned building in 1960 for $13,500. Reportedly, a church was vying to acquire the building as well.
The neighborhood mounted a major protest in 1959 when city council chose the site across from Vernon School as the location of the new fire station. Any CNews readers remember that uproar? We’re also looking for any photos of the old station during its years of operation. Stay tuned for details in a future column.
Have a question for the neighborhood historian? We love solving mysteries. Send your question to CNewsEditor@ConcordiaPDX.org and we’ll ask Doug Decker to do some digging.