Meet Ed Shiang, Board Co-Chair

I joined the Board last year and I love it. Why? Besides meeting dedicated neighbors and increasing my feeling of community....one of the main reasons to be honest is....I feel there is no pressure to do anything. Yes, I try to show up at a 2 hour meeting every month and I do initiate things...but that's it. I can do whatever I want on my time...when I have time. Oh - and there is support within the Board and Community and even the city of Portland for my favorite ideas, which is very cool. What are my favorite ideas for this year? I'd have to say...a dog park, neighbors entertaining neighbors, skill sharing, pot lucks, entrepreneur club, neighbor happy hour, and the Last Wednesday Social. Speaking of the Last Wednesday Social! January 28th, from 7-9 PM Tesoaria Wine Bar (4002 N Williams). 15% will be donated to the Boise Neighborhood AssociationCome on down for some great wine and donate to a great cause. And - I am charged with recruiting 4 new board members this year...as I said, it's fun to be involved, so feel free to email me about this or any idea or come to the social and let's meet!

Thanks! Ed Shiang - shiang2034@gmail.com

Want to get involved in the affordable housing conversation in your community?

January’s meeting of the Boise Neighborhood Association was joined by Jes Larson and Cameron Herrington of North/Northeast Neighbors for Housing Affordability (NNNHA), a grassroots volunteer organization formed a year ago comprised of N/NE residents and handful of professionals who work in the housing and social justice sectors.

Jes and Cameron spoke to the neighborhood association about the key work and priorities of the NNNHA:

  • Livability within a neighborhood comes from a balanced mix of different kinds of housing that leads to a healthy and viable community, but Portland is lacking thousand of units of needed affordable housing. Jes, as co-chair of NNNHA and leader of the Welcome Home Coalition, is gathering up region­wide housing advocacy efforts to focus on new ongoing revenue for affordable housing, likely gearing up toward a ballot measure in 2016. They have a fiscal sponsor under Oregon Opportunity Network and have a steering committee with members from regional non­profits.

  • Priority policies for this year will be inclusionary housing and ICURA (Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area) commitment to affordable housing (Portland Housing Bureau has set aside $20M).

  • The board of the Boise Neighborhood voted to endorse a letter drafted by the NNNHA that calls for Portland Housing Bureau to use $20M to purchase land rather than subsidizing affordable housing right now. This “land banking” is a long-term strategy for creating substantial affordable housing in the coming years that recognizes gentrification displacement patterns.

  • A bill to repeal Oregon’s ban on inclusionary zoning will be introduced in the legislature. Portland City Council has endorsed this bill and NNNHA will advocate for it and drum up endorsements. If the ban gets repealed, NNNHA hopes to be part of the conversation about how to implement it.

Are you interested in joining the conversation on affordable housing? Here are some ways to get involved:

  • Check out the NNNHA on Facebook!

  • Anyone can join the NNNHA advocacy group! They meet the first Wednesday of the month, at 7PM at the office of the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (4815 NE 7th Ave).

  • On March 11 and May 13, the group will be travelling by bus to Salem to advocate for a suite of policies, the topmost being inclusionary housing and increasing budgets for affordable housing. 

  • On January 28, City Council will hold an open meeting to discuss the N/NE Housing Investment Strategy.

It's almost January and we've got tools, money and ideas: What will we accomplish together in 2015?

My first job out of college was working for an urban planning and design firm, though I had no background in it. Since then I've had an amateur interest in city planning, placemaking, and community spaces. Last year I started looking into City Repair, a local non-profit that helps communities become more resilient and connected through placemaking project support - they call that annual program Village Building Convergence. So on a rainy Thursday evening this December, I biked over to Ex Novo Brewing in Eliot neighborhood for an event hosted by City Repair, to hear people from a distant SE neighborhood tell the story of how they came together over several years to build a tight-knit community in the face of an established culture of isolationism and fear in their crime-ridden neighborhood. After holding several fundraisers such as plant and rummage sales, they raised enough money to paint two large mural art pieces on two major street intersections.

The story was inspiring. They moved themselves from a place of helplessness to empowerment, and turned their social isolation into social capital. Embodying the tenets of permaculture and the Transition movement, they saw the potential in their social capital to create positive change. The traditional paradigm of our age lies in power structures, entertainment, advertising and other forms of material capital. These aspects do not address real challenges that communities face - as one person put it, "banks fund isolated landscapes". By coming together to work on placemaking projects, the community successfully banished the daily drug and crime that isolated them in fear, and created lasting connections with each other, new community traditions like BBQs and gardening with kids. As VBC says, "community ownership and empowerment is what makes resilient places". By making your community more livable, it also gets safer and stronger.

After the presentation and Q&A, City Repair volunteers asked everyone to read through their 2014 placemaking toolkit, design cheat sheet, and application. Here's how it works: Every year, City Repair solicits ideas from communities that want to work on a placemaking project of some kind - and there are a LOT of different kinds.  (You can download the packets here.) City Repair reviews the applications and works with the organization to figure out the best way to go about it - they help figure out how much it will cost, if they need to modify the idea to make it more workable, how many people and committees they might need, etc. They basically empower and educate people on how to do what they want to do. The applications are due January 22, with the application fee, which goes toward the project. However, they are flexible with the fee - it can be paid later, or with money from another grant. They do have scholarships for those with financial constraints but given that they are almost 100% volunteer-driven, the application fee helps them produce this incredible service to community members for affordable rates and prompt payments keep it logistically simple for the small core volunteer organizers. All of the projects that are accepted will get done during this year's "Village Building Convergence", May 29 - June 7.

Potential Ideas:

In the past couple of months, I've heard of several great ideas for projects from various community members. All of them would qualify for the application, and potentially others that are also due in January.

  • An outdoor clothes/blanket closet made of reclaimed materials (one exists in front of Community Supported Everything's Guild Hall on Alberta and 16th)
  • An outdoor trash burner that produces clean gas (Community Supported Everything has a prototype)
  • Benches, signage and fencing for an off-leash dog park area and community garden
  • Alleyway beautification through vertical gardens, kinetic and visual art with pollinator habitat
  • Wall murals on commercial buildings facing areas with pedestrian traffic
  • New trash cans for Mississippi and Williams Avenues incorporating reclaimed materials

Other ideas from the VBC:

  • Rain garden
  • Pallet garden
  • Cob bench
  • Free library
  • Mosaic wall
  • Trumpet rain catchment

grant opportunities:

The Village Building Convergence isn't a grant - but we could pay for the project using grant money from somewhere else. These are the two opportunities that I know of:

The Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) is also looking for grant applicants for projects that address watershed health and also meet community needs. Their pre-application is due Feb 6. Examples that could apply to our neighborhood would be alleyway cleanups, and planting in alleyways or dog park area.

The Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods will also release their annual community grants on January 5, likely due in February. The recipients are always community-building projects, usually by established non-profits, usually including diversity outreach components.

I'm inspired. Now what?

If you are interested in working together with other community members to make one or more of these projects a reality, then let's do it! Email me at katyewolf@gmail.com, and I will set up a meeting time where we can talk further about what projects we're most interested in and how we'll move forward to get our applications done.

Community Unity Jam - August 23

Last Wednesday, August 13, several neighbors got together at Lompoc Sidebar in the evening, to brainstorm projects to work on together. We discussed events, reaching out to businesses, churches and schools in the neighborhood to work together, and long term projects like the Trash Can Project. We were delighted to meet Robin Franklin, who is a pastor at neighborhood church Hughes Memorial United Methodist Church, which is on the corner of Failing and Rodney on the border with King neighborhood. She came not only to promote an upcoming event and ask us to pass it along, but to make a permanent connection to our neighborhood association, as she is interested in continuing the tradition of being a part of the neighborhood and working together with neighbors on projects. She told us all about the great things her church is doing and some of the history of the church, such as that the church was mostly African-American for many years, but now it has a mixed demographic congregation.

In the recent past, members of the church have offered crafts at neighborhood events at Unthank Park and helped out at the Spring Cleanup, and they would like to continue to do so. The church has a vegetable garden where they invite anyone to participate, plant and harvest. Robin said they still have veggies coming in, and so far this year have given food to 55 groups. They also offer their building as a community space. They share their church space with another congregation, Bright Star, where J.W. Friday is the minister. In February, the church hosts a Black History Celebration which they invite speakers to. This summer, a PSU History professor is teaching a summer kids camp on civil rights history (specifically for the 50th anniversary of the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1969) for neighborhood kids.

The big event Robin came to tell us about is next Saturday, August 23 from noon to 5 pm. You may or may not have heard about the recent rash of gang-related killings in Portland this summer. Several protests have happened around North and Northeast to bring attention to this and promote community fellowship and unity in place of violence. The event is called Community Unity Jam 2014 "Stop the Killing". Minister-turned-MC J.W. Friday will be spinning tunes (apparently he has his own internet radio show called "The Groove Factor"), and there will be a clothing donation and closet, doll making, community prayer, free hot dogs, live gospel music, and community unity speakers. The Facebook event page is here.

Hughes Memorial UMC/Bright Star church has a Facebook page, but it's in need of some help, and they have no website, as Robin told us. If anyone has an interest in helping them with their social media presence, it would help them spread the word about their offerings.

Hughes Memorial UMC: (503) 281-2332

Bright Star Ministries: (503) 208-1867

Hughes Memorial UMC has been featured as part of past North Portland Gentrification Tours offered by Know Your City, which offers tours year round of Portland's multicultural historical areas. The BNA is interested in having Know Your City do a historical walking tour of our neighborhood highlighting it's diverse multicultural past in the future again.

Pictures from National Night Out - Aug 5, 2014

Boise Neighborhood's National Night Out party - Aug 5

Nikki Brown Clown

Nikki Brown Clown

Boise Neighborhood's annual National Night Out event will be held at Unthank Park on Tues Aug 5, 6-8 pm. To let me know how much food to buy, I'm asking people to RSVP on this EventBrite invite. The invite also has information on what National Night Out is and what we'll have at this event.

Next Wednesday July 30 at 6 pm I'll be having a volunteer party at Ecliptic Brewery (beers on them, appetizers on the Neighborhood Association) so the people that are helping to put together our National Night Out event can meet each other and distribute responsibilities. Anyone interested in coming to the event is invited to volunteer, and of course, to the volunteer party. I'll bring over fliers for the event and a map of the neighborhood, so we can all divvy up the fliering territory. I'm working on getting a graphic artist to do the flier design for free (fingers crossed). We'll talk about who is bringing what - BBQ, tables, music/speakers, etc.

We'll also be handing out fliers for Get Ready Portland, a natural disaster preparedness event put on by NW Natural with lots of other sponsors, which will also be at Unthank Park on Sunday Sept. 6. 11 - 1pm. They will provide a free lunch and 100 free emergency kit giveaways as well as other materials and items. No RSVP is needed.

If you have any questions or want to get involved in National Night Out volunteering, please contact me (Katy Wolf) at 208-870-2446 or katyewolf@gmail.com