Welcome back Neighbor,
I’ve been asking myself: As a community so far from the world stage, can we really make a difference? Considering even our legislators can’t agree on the time of day much less promoting goodwill abroad, I wasn’t so sure. But then I took a close look at our community and realized we can have an impact in the world just by being friendly and approachable. We can start with the foreign-born students attending Concordia University; they are our portals to the Middle East, Asia, South America and beyond. These students should be our ambassadors, telling the real story of America upon returning home.
So I ask you, what would happen if each one of us extended ourselves to these visitors in the same way we do with those who live here? You might ask how we do this. The answer is to just say “hi” and smile. A smile is the same in any language, the rest will follow. It is a start and if we do it enough, we can positively impact the world.
Paid, Part-time staff for Concordia News
Now back to business matters. At its last general meeting, the CNA board was presented with the concept of paying for professional assistance in producing the Concordia News. The board agreed to do so, starting with the July issue. I for one strongly support the idea of part-time, paid staff people, as I believe the Concordia News is the single most important avenue of communication within our neighborhood.
CNEWS is looking good now, due to the efforts of professionals who have been volunteering over the last several months. And, over time, it’s projected to pay for its production costs. But I believe the newspaper will cease publication if we do not retain the skills and time dedicated by professional staff. Visit www.concordiapdx.org/get-involved/ open-staff-positions for information about the available positions.
New treasurer needed
Also high on the CNA agenda is our search for a new Treasurer to replace Robert Bowles, our outgoing Treasurer. He has served for much of the past decade. As modest as we are, CNA actually has a rather large budget compared to most other Portland neighborhood associations. Robert has done a wonderful job shepherding our finances, but he’s moving on to new challenges. If you, or anyone you know, have basic accounting skills and a few volunteer hours to devote to your neighborhood, we’d love to hear from you.
Bighouse site talks break down
Lastly, the ongoing discussion with Ascend Holdings, the developer of the Bighouse site at NE 30th & Killingsworth, has hit an impasse. (See article by Spencer Parson’s on page 7 for more information.) The developer’s representative recently told the CNA Land Use & Transportation Committee (LUTC) that Ascend is moving forward on construction of a 4-story apartment building, as submitted originally, to the Portland Bureau of Development Services. The rub is that LUTC had made suggestions to make the project more “neighborhood friendly.” The developer, however, had issues with the suggestions and would not provide a response to LUTC, nor did Ascend want LUTC to have any formal say in its plans.
I became involved in the LUTC/Ascend Holdings issue after their communication broke down. I cannot go into specifics, but I do know there was no one bad guy involved. I am hoping the developer will come back to the table to consider our concerns as a model of how to work with a community. It could be a re-start, but our experience is telling us that CNA – and the City – must provide all developers with not only the building code, but also a profile of neighborhood sensitivities. Doing so would be a positive approach to avoiding problems in advance of final plans.
While we are a diverse community with a variety of people and opinions, we expect compromise. We are not looking for an “I win – you lose” situation but for win-win. The only way that happens is by talking to each other. I will continue my discussion with Ascend and keep you up to date. Or come to CNA Land Use Committee meetings and follow along.
Chair/Concordia Neighborhood Association