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.

Safety and Resource Fair at Grant Park Church

Safety and Resource Fair:

Learn how the government and other resources respond to and prevent sex offenses in the community
 

Wednesday, March 12th

6:00 - 9:00pm

Grant Park Church, 2728 NE 34th Ave.
www.portlandoregon.gov/oni/March12th

Bus route: 70.

Free parking in the lot to the west of the church or on the street.

Please leave children at home. Conversations at the event will only be appropriate for adults.

 

Workshop Information:

Recent months have brought distressing news about a variety of unrelated sexual offenses in North and Northeast Portland, including a serial flasher, public groping, and sexual assault.

This may have been weighing on your mind and leaving you with a lot of questions. How can I protect myself and my children? What do police do about these kinds of cases? Why do sex offenders do these things? Don’t they have to register? Is there anything I and my neighbors can do? How do I talk to my child about this?

Drop by to ask questions of experts such as: police officers and detectives, probation and parole officers, self-defense teachers, sex offender treatment providers, rape victim advocates, crime prevention coordinators, and more.

Experts will be tabling between the hours of 6:00-9:00pm, ready to answer your questions and pass out handouts. Foot Patrol informational session at 7:00pm.

Sponsored by: Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, Central Northeast Neighborhoods, and North Portland Neighborhood Services

Brought to you by: City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement and Portland Police Bureau
 

More information: 503-823-2030

www.portlandoregon.gov/oni/March12th

Crime and what you can do about it

broken-glass-on-the-street-act.jpg

If you check out the Portland Crime Map (www.portlandmaps.com) for our neighborhood, it's apparent that theft from cars and vehicle theft are two of the most common type of crimes in our neighborhood. It's also apparent when you're biking down a busy street and see a smattering of broken glass in front of you that you have to quickly zigzag around.

The issue of car break-ins was brought up at our February BNA board meeting by a long time resident who wondered what we could do about it. And unfortunately, a car owned by a person that came to our BNA meeting last night had their car broken into while they were there, and valuable items were stolen.

Here are some resources and tips for dealing with with robbery and car break-ins. First (and this may seem obvious, but nevertheless it’s sound advice), lock your car and if you must keep valuables in your car, put them in the trunk.

The Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) has a designated crime Prevention Coordinator for each group of neighborhoods. Ours is:

Angela Wagnon

503-823-4094

angela.wagnon@portlandoregon.gov

 

How to Report non-Emergency Crimes and Request Street Sweeping:

(Tip: Add these numbers to your cell phone so you can call them easily!)

  • Police non-emergency line: 503-823-3333

Website: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/cor/

  • Street Sweeping request line: 503-823-1750 (day) or 503-823-1700 (night)

Website: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/319704

The more reports are made to the police non-emergency line in our area, the more the police can become aware of crime trends, which gives us traction to request increased patrols. If they don't know about it, they can't address it.

Crime prevention is in the best interests of both residents and business owners. It is up to us to watch out for each other. Neighborhood involvement is the best way to prevent crime. Walk your street, smile and say hello to people, or at least look them in the face. Keep your porch light on to increase street illumination. If you're really concerned, you can form a Neighborhood Watch, Community Foot Patrol, or just ask your neighbors to keep their porch lights on and keep a watchful eye out. At this moment, I am the only person on the Safety and Livability Committee for Boise Neighborhood. If you're interested in forming a Watch or some other safety and livability initative, email me at katyewolf@gmail.com.

 

Stay safe,

Katy Wolf

Your Safety and Livability Chair

Opportunity to give feedback and ask questions to our North Precinct

Introducing Safety and Livability Conversations with North Precinct Command series at NECN and Police Bureau survey:
On Monday, February 24th at 6:30 p.m., North Precinct Commander Mike Leloff will join the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods' Safety and Livability Team (SALT) to kick off a series of public safety-focused meetings that SALT will host throughout the year. The first meeting is a chance for neighbors to share the topics they want to discuss with Command staff in upcoming meetings, such as crime prevention, traffic, and neighborhood response. Everyone is welcome!

When: Monday February 24th, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Where: Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, 4815 NE 7th Avenue, Portland, 97211
Questions? Contact Claire Adamsick, claire.adamsick@necoaltion.org or 503.388.9030.

In prep for the meeting, what services are most important to you when it comes to the Portland Police?
The Portland Police Bureau is seeking input from the community regarding policing services through a brief survey posted athttps://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SPVFPXH. The survey is available until March 1.