On April 8, hundreds of children gathered for Concordia’s annual Spring Egg Hunt in Fern Hill Park.
Chilango PDX – Restaurant serves food, values
The sentiment “Be the change you want to see in the world,” attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, sums up the latest business venture by Chilango PDX owner Vanessa Arochi.
Instead of a “restaurant,” Arochi refers to Chilango PDX, 2217 NE Alberta St., as a “project” and wants this project to change the world from the inside out.
Chilango PDX’s business model includes paying employees, who she refers to as “collaborators,” a living wage of $20 per hour plus tips, cross-training staff on all aspects of the business from cooking to serving, fostering a non-toxic work environment using nonviolent communication, sharing 30% of the business profits with staff, celebrating Latin American culture and creating a space free from stereotypes of Mexico.
The restaurant is “about all of us, building together with each brick,” Arochi said.
Savanna Carillo, one of Chilango PDX’s collaborators, used the words “amazing,” “home” and “supported” to describe working there. “I have the utmost respect for Vanessa,” Carillo said.
Arochi, originally from Mexico City, has a background in biochemistry with a focus on food science. Prior to moving to the United States, she had a career in developing new food products for companies in Mexico. After coming to the United States, first to San Francisco and then to Portland, she considered different career options before trying her hand at restaurant pop-ups, a food cart and eventually Chilango PDX.
Arochi brings a deep love of developing complex and delicious flavors and textures in her food creations. She also brings a passion for veganism, which she has been practicing for seven years. “I believe in a world without violence or suffering and animals are a part of that world,” she said.
She also noted that the restaurant “demonstrates that you don’t need meat to create good food.” Carillo says “vegan food gets a bad rap” and encourages people to “give it a try.”
“Chilango” is slang for someone who is from Mexico City. Arochi is proud of her Chilango roots and honors her heritage through artwork on the walls, including a mandala of giant metal luchadores, or Mexican wrestlers. She sees this image as a metaphor for “fighting together” to create a better world.
Chilango PDX will host a Cinco de Mayo neighborhood party from 3–7 p.m. Friday, May 5, with live music. CNA Social Committee will meet there prior to party, at 2 p.m.
Nota del editor: El artículo está disponible en español, ConcordiaPDX.org/Chilango.
Jordana Leeb is a longtime Concordia resident who i s passionate about the neighborhood, its people and trees. She lives with her partner and newly adopted special needs dog. You can see her recent film about Concordia at TinyURL.com/DiaryOfAStreet.
Social column – Hunt a success; Cinco de Mayo event set
I want to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who lent their time and support to Concordia’s Spring Egg Hunt.
On April 8, the Concordia Neighborhood Association hosted a double event, a neighborhood clean-up followed by our annual egg hunt, and I am happy to report that both events were a resounding success!
I want to give a special shout-out to all those who helped fill the eggs. Your hard work and dedication brought smiles and happiness to hundreds of local kids.
I want to especially thank James, our youngest volunteer, 5 years old, who coordinated with his parents and showed up at 10 a.m. sharp to help hide the eggs. He was more interested in setting up for other kids than he was in finding eggs, and for that, he earned one of the gift cards from Gabbiano’s and a special thank you from the neighborhood.
Another big thank you to Darcy Gabriel and her husband Sam, who showed up and helped during setup. They earned the second gift card from Gabbiano’s.
I also want to recognize Gina Levine, who helped with the neighborhood cleanup and made sure that Concordia is a bit cleaner. Levine also helped stuff thousands of eggs with her children and other young volunteers, earning her a gift card from The Knock Back for her time and efforts. The second Knock Back gift card was earned by Sigrid Casey, who donated her time and truck to pick up large items of trash from our streets.
We hid around 6,000 eggs and gave away around 10,000 pieces of candy and an assortment of prizes. Thank you to POP Cart, who was there with music and helping us direct the event.
Thank you to Flour Market for the delicious pastries for our volunteers, and to Kiss Coffee for their donation of coffee for the clean-up and 100 hot chocolate coupons for the egg hunt!
I also want to give a big shoutout to the board members who helped so much. Brittany Van Der Salm, our vice chair, and her husband Paul were instrumental in taking charge of the lost and found, bringing a lot of peace of mind to our neighbors. Rich Bruton, chair of our Land Use and Transportation Committee (LUTC), helped set up the borders of the hunt according to ages. Astrid Fustner, our board member for East 2, and her family took charge of the prize booth. Megan Gobble, our board member for SW2, gathered her family and made sure the park was ready and clean for the event. Patricia McMahon, AL2, was there setting up and laying eggs, and helping with the pickup. John McSherry, AL3, helped with release forms and picking up. Heather Pashley, our treasurer, helped with the cleanup. Kieran Lee, our chair, brought tables to set up.
To all of the other volunteers, too many of you to name here, my most heartfelt thanks for your time and effort.
On a separate note, I want to share when the social committee will be meeting and how you can get involved. Starting in May, we will be meeting on the first Friday of each month, and we will be rotating locations. Please email me at Social@ConcordiaPDX.org or call/ text me at 503-343-5561 for locations.
Our first meeting takes place at 2 p.m. Friday, May 5, at Chilango, 2217 NE Alberta St. Members of the social committee will each get a free taco. Speaking of Cinco de Mayo, Concordia residents are in for a treat: Chilango, a vegan Mexican restaurant, will be hosting a special party that day from 3–7 p.m. The party will kick off after the social committee meeting. Attendees can indulge in the restaurant’s delicious tacos while enjoying live entertainment. Chilango [See related feature Pag
e 5] has been a part of the community for many years, and this event is an excellent opportunity for residents to celebrate the culture and diversity of their neighborhood. Don’t miss out on the fun and festivities!
Javier Puga-Phillips holds the Southwest 1 position on the Concordia Neighborhood Association (CNA) Board of Directors, manages rentals of the McMenamins Kennedy School Community Room and chairs the CNA Social Committee. He is a real estate professional locally, and he is a published author and motivational speaker in Latin America and Spain.
Concordia Tree Team – New trees replacing median’s dying ones
By Jim Gersbach | Concordia Tree Team
I am often asked by property owners and passersby between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Fernhill Park when a tree that has died or blown down in a storm will be replaced.
Although a different Portland city bureau actually owns the land in the Ainsworth median, Portland’s Urban Forestry section with the Parks and Recreation Bureau has been kind enough to handle removals and pay for replacement trees.
In the past couple of years, two old Norway maples that were in slow decline finally blew over—one in the middle of the block between Northeast 16th and 17th avenues, and another further east around Northeast 26th. A third tree on the east end of the intersection at Northeast 33rd was struck by a car, revealing serious inner rot. That tree was cut down as a precaution against falling into traffic.
In order to replant, the city must first grind out the stump. With many trees downed in the late April snowstorm of 2022, Portland cleanup crews had their hands full grinding stumps all over town.
At the start of this year, they were finally able to grind the stump between Northeast 16th and 17th. That allowed for the planting of a replacement tree this winter. Urban Forestry plans to stump grind the remaining two downed trees by this end of this year, permitting planting of their replacements in 2024.
Because maples—especially the invasive Norway maple that has dominated the median since the post-World War II years—are seriously overplanted in Portland, Portland Urban Forestry picked a species that was added to the approved street tree list only in the past decade and has not been readily available in a size large enough to plant. That tree is a California interior live oak, Quercus wislizeni. This evergreen oak has small, leathery leaves that are dark green above and toothed somewhat like a holly. New leaves emerge a bronze to reddish color.
Hardy enough to survive a typical Portland winter, California interior live oak grows between the borders of Oregon and Mexico, in both the Coast Range and Sierra Nevada, where it can be found at elevations up to 6,500 feet.
Interior live oak is quite tolerant of drought and heat, as one would expect of a tree from inland California. It should fare well in future extreme hot-weather events. Interior live oak can grow as tall as 60 to 75 feet in good soils with adequate moisture. Its acorns take two years to mature, providing food for squirrels and birds when they do.
The odd-sounding botanical name honors German-born army surgeon, explorer, botanist, and plant collector Frederick Adolf Wislizeni [1810–1889]. Wislizeni opposed monarchical government and eventually had to flee to Switzerland before emigrating in his early 20s in 1834 to the United States. He traveled widely in the American Southwest and Northern Mexico, where he was imprisoned for a time during the Mexican-American War.
Jim Gersbach has been a volunteer tree planter and tree pruner for more than 30 years with Friends of Trees. He has worked for Portland Urban Forestry and as a member of the Concordia Tree Team, has helped inventory the neighborhood’s street trees and advises homeowners on site-appropriate tree options.
Day Center – HIV shelter offers respite
By Jordan Bowen | Social Work Intern – HIV Day Center
On an unseasonably cold morning, a well-tailored man entered the basement of Ainsworth United Church of Christ, 2941 NE Ainsworth St. He asks to be called Jon and is one of dozens of members of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon’s Day Center. The drop-in shelter has served people living with HIV since 1990.
The organization says it is the country’s oldest standalone, communitybased center of its kind. When the Day Center is open, Jon drops in between errands around the city. Unlike many center members, Jon has secured affordable housing. The stability allows him to advocate for others and be involved in the community.
Jon takes the bus from downtown Portland to the Concordia center multiple times a week. “I make friends here,” he says. “I do like it here. I enjoy the place. My friends come here. And the food is decent.”
The Day Center serves as a kind of post office, dining hall, laundromat, pop-up health clinic, and social club. Surrounded by the quiet, tree-lined streets of Concordia, it is a refuge from Portland’s bleaker scenes. The walls are lined with comfortable chairs where some members can take a much-needed nap after a hard night on the street. One morning, waves of laughter could be heard through the basement as the movie Death Becomes Her played on a screen.
I first met Jon through my internship at Portland State University’s Master of Social Work program. He has a quick wit, is far more fastidious about his clothing than I am, and often gives me nutrition advice.
Others at the center need more help than Jon does to navigate life with HIV. Together with staff, interns and local volunteers serve meals, coordinate laundry and showers, show movies, and sometimes go on outings to art museums. We help people get IDs, groceries, or a bus pass, or connect them with housing services like the Cascade AIDS Project.
Recently, I sat in on a support group for long-term survivors who wrestle with the weight of surviving the AIDS era and aging with the virus. Project Coordinator Chautauqua Cabine, who grew up in northeast Portland and went to Concordia University, lost a cousin to AIDS more than 20 years ago. Her job goes far beyond paperwork and case management. People sit by her desk in her small, shared office, sometimes only to talk and be comforted.
“Everybody ha s different needs,” Cabine says. It’s kind of like a friendship. There’s trust.”
The center helps bolster members’ selfworth, she says. “When they’re not here, they tell me they don’t feel seen. When they’re here, they feel like they’re part of society. They don’t feel invisible.”
The Day Center largely depends on federal grants to operate, but Program Manager Taylor Silvey says inflation has outpaced funding, especially when it comes to the cost of food. The Day Center must stretch its limited resources to meet needs. In January, the organization had to begin closing an hour early, close altogether on Wednesdays and lay off two part-time staff to make ends meet.
Meanwhile, more Portlanders with HIV need help with finding food, work and shelter. According to the CDC, BIPOC and low-income people are now significantly more likely to be diagnosed with HIV, and many who come to the Day Center have lost jobs or housing since COVID-19.
This summer, the annual Dining Out for Life fundraising event will encourage Portlanders to pitch in at restaurants, bars, and cafes. From June 20–22, participating venues choose to donate 10% of proceeds or $500 to the Day Center and OHSU’s Partnership Project. McMenamins locations such as the Kennedy School in Concordia are participating, along with other venues around the city.
“HIV is still prevalent in our community, and unfortunately there’s still stigma associated with it,” says Silvey. “Dining Out for Life gives us a chance to talk about HIV, support people living with the virus and have some fun over a shared meal.”
The EMO Day Center is always grateful for volunteers and donations of food and clothing. It also encourages more local restaurants and bars to participate in this year’s Dining Out for Life. Please visit HIVDayCenter.org or email email@example.com to help your neighbors who are living with HIV.
Jordan Bowen is a freelance writer and former broadcast news producer who is pursuing a Master in Social Work at Portland State University
CNA Needs a New Board Chair
Area resident is accomplished poet
Nancy Flynn grew up on the Susquehanna River in northeastern Pennsylvania, spent many years on a downtown creek in Ithaca, N.Y., and has lived near the mighty Columbia River in Northeast Portland since 2007.
She attended Oberlin College and Cornell University and has a master’s degree in English from SUNY/Binghamton. She is a former university administrator, and her writing has received an Oregon Literary Fellowship and the James Jones First Novel Fellowship. Flynn’s recent publications include the poetry collection Every Door Recklessly Ajar.
Flynn says she loves living with her retired forest pathologist husband, John Laurence, “in a village of awesome neighbors down the street from Alberta Park.” She is especially proud of their platinum-level Backyard Habitat, which now boasts a wild beehive in a bigleaf maple. “And she grows way too many dahlias in their front yard for her beloved pollinators,” her biography states.
CNews is sharing an example of her most recent work, inspired by Portland’s wintry weather. To learn more about her work, visit NancyFlynn.com.
Record-breaking Winter Storm Tableau
late February 2023
By Nancy Flynn
It bore the ice, later snow,
that terracotta table of stone.
Became perch for chickadees,
bushtits and meadowlarks before
their launch to suet, to safflower seed.
Even the hummingbirds gave up
their rivalries, took civilized turns
sipping at the iridescent ruby
bottle I took in after dark
so it wouldn’t freeze then break.
The previously perky hellebores
collapsed under eight inches
of weight. One afternoon, sleet
fell slick, thickly dimensional,
bouncing from the wind chimes,
from lustrous camellia leaves.
Now finally today—
a temporary melt, no trace, no figment
of the thing that dazzled yesterday.
The neighborhood murder of crows
is back from what seemed like days
in their downtown overnight roost.
There’s a junco spilling the birdbath,
a plash of oars, a gaiety and every tulip
has emerged, doubled in height
despite an unseasonable, lingering
chill. Inside, I raise the thermostat
one more degree, study the fleeting
return of the sun. The world it glares,
for a moment all shimmer and drip,
while waiting for the next inevitable
cloudburst to thunder down from
a heaven like a tent. We are blanketed
by our selfishness, our apathy, our sin.
We are footprints in our downfall—
watch them drift.
The italicized lines in this poem are from Emily Dickinson’s poem #257, “I’ve known a Heaven, like a Tent” written in 1861.
Paige Wright – Local artist offers classes
By Kathy Crabtree | Contributing writer
If you are looking for a creative solution for a curious student who is struggling in a mainstream learning environment, Paige Wright, a local clay and ceramic artist, might have a suggestion for you.
Wright admits that she was not stellar at academics but found success and a tool to express herself in clay. That experience built confidence in her ability to become better at reading and writing skills, as well as a reason to study them.
Her sculptures are eclectic collectives of creativity. She has an appreciation of multi-faceted incongruent busts. Her “kiss-kiss” bust consists of a male head encased in a helmet covered with flowers. Her works have been professionally showcased at various venues in the Portland area.
Inspired as a 9-year-old art student of Margarita Leon, a noted art educator in Northwest Portland, Paige continued her ceramic studies in high school, mentored by Cindy Irby. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Montana, followed by a two-year residency at the University of Washington, and earned a master’s degree with an emphasis in ceramics.
“My mission is to make space so that people can build a relationship with their creative practice,” she said. “It takes time to see what is inside one’s head and to react to what one can create from that.”
She offers art lessons for students between the ages of 7 and 16 who desire a greater art experience than their current school offers. Adult classes will be offered for those seeking to refresh their creative practice by expanding their ideas with exposure to clay and three-dimensional building. Small group classes are scheduled weekly, and private lessons and special project sessions can be arranged. Group parties are ideal for birthdays or corporate team building.
Along with her classroom offerings, Paige is a full-time multi-disciplinary artist, currently available for commissions ranging from portraits in ceramics, house-number tiles, drawings and paintings with experience in production pottery and large-scale murals. Consultation in ceramic professional practices, glaze formation, documentation photography and technical envelopment are also available.
Interested students can find her Lil Studio Classroom, 3522 NE Liberty St., adjacent to her home. “The studio-classroom designation offers a two-fold purpose,” Wright said. “A studio calls to action the art of creating while a classroom offers a space for growth.”
She also plans “U-paint” group fun creative classes, summer art camps and figure-in-clay workshops with dates to be announced.
Classes are forming now and are two hours long and sold in 10-class bundles on a rolling basis, ongoing so a student can re-register.
Kids (7-16) Art Lessons: Sundays, 1–3 p.m. or Tuesdays, 4:30–6:30 p.m.
Adult Art Lessons: Mondays 1–3 p.m.
Registration applications can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information, call Paige Wright at 406-544-7472. Kathy is a recent transplant from the Midwest and, as she reports in CNews, things are a lot different here.
Social Column – Volunteers needed for April 8 Egg Hunt
Greetings to all Concordia residents! We want to start by expressing our gratitude for the amazing feedback we have received. It is always our pleasure to hear from you and learn how we can make our community better. We value your input and look forward to continuing to serve you.
As we move forward, we have some exciting events planned for the coming weeks.
We are thrilled to announce that the Spring Egg Hunt is finally here! On Saturday, April 1, at 10 a.m., we will meet in the community room at Kennedy School for the “fill the eggs” event. We are looking for volunteers to help us with this fun-filled event. It’s going to be a blast, so bring your friends and family along! Then on Saturday, April 8, we will host the neighborhood clean-up in partnership with SOLVE and the actual egg hunt.
The clean-up will run from 9 a.m. to noon at Fernhill Park, and we will be setting up in the area by the track. Please make sure to register for this event at SolveOregon.org.
We are looking for volunteers, preferably with a truck, to help take the supplies from the community room to Fernhill Park by 9:30 a.m. We also need help setting up the eggs, starting around 10 a.m., and assisting with picking up after the event.
After the clean-up, we’ll be kicking off the Easter weekend with an exciting egg hunt at noon. Don’t forget to bring your baskets!
Our proposed schedule for the egg hunt on April 8 is as follows: We will meet between 9:30 to 10 a.m., set up the eggs from 10 a.m. to noon, and the egg hunt will begin at noon. It’s going to be a fantastic day, and we can’t wait to see you all there!
Speaking of community involvement, we want to give a special shoutout to Megan Gobble, our SW1 representative and the head of our official walking club. Megan is a passionate walker and a member of the Columbia River Volkssports Club (CRVC). We’re thrilled to have the CRVC as one of our community partners, and we encourage everyone to check them out at Walking4Fun.org.
Cinco de Mayo
Finally, mark your calendars for our upcoming Cinco de Mayo party at Chilango’s, 2217 N.E. Alberta St. Our newest vegan restaurant, which is Latino-owned, will be hosting this year’s celebration from 2–7 p.m. Friday, May 5. Come join us for delicious $3 tacos and entertainment as we celebrate our community’s diversity.
Thank you for being part of our community and supporting our events. We look forward to seeing you soon! Please stay in touch, follow us in Instagram & Facebook @CNAPDX.
CNA news – General meeting draws speakers
By Brittany van der Salm | CNA board vice chair
The Concordia Neighborhood Association’s general meeting March 1 drew a number of speakers addressing a variety of topics, including the following:
Neighbors for Clean Air [NCA]
Morgan Towle noted NCA has been operating in Portland for 12 years. “Big diesel” is a major pollution issue for Portland, she said, and Multnomah County is one of the top five counties in the country for high diesel pollution.
NCA claims that 65% of this comes from construction and off-road equipment. Diesel vehicles used in construction release particulate matter into the air that causes health issues, Towle said.
Towle said that Oregon House Bill 2396, the Indirect Source Bill, is up for consideration in the 2023 legislative session. If passed, the bill would regulate indirect sources of diesel pollution. HB 3158 uses state funding to incentivize transition away from diesel.
Oregon Community Solar Program
Sean Micken, who works for Oregon Shines, said the OCSP was written into state law in 2016 and allows anyone who buys power, regardless of where they live, to purchase solar energy that is harvested right here in Oregon. Subscription costs vary by use and type of plan. Customers of PGE, Pacific Power and Idaho Power can receive utility-bill credits in exchange for buying or leasing part of a community solar project here in Oregon.
In a followup email from Oregon Shines, Field Manager Don Evans noted: “[The Oregon Community Solar Program] was created to ‘make solar energy available to customers across the state who previously did not have access’ by connecting PGE and Pacific Power customers to solar energy projects without having to install panels on their own roofs.
“You can rent or own your home, and there is no cost to sign up, to participate or to cancel. There is no change in billing, and by law, consumers are required to be incentivized for participating. The credit creates a guaranteed 5% savings on subscribed energy while low-to- moderate income residents will save 40%!
“Oregon Shines connects residents, businesses, municipalities and other organizations to community solar projects, in their utility territory, allowing them to save money and gain access to clean energy. For more information, and to sign up, visit OregonShines.com.”
Brittany is a board member of the CNA, and has lived in the neighborhood since 2019. She works as a Medicaid disability policy consultant with a national nonprofit firm. Brittany loves to bake and bird watch.