Summit Recap – Innovative Appoaches to Housing for All

By way of follow-up to February 15th's Foster Summit event, we're running summaries of topics and ideas from the Summit breakout sessions. We will publish these, along with the 'butcher paper' notes in the weeks to come.

Were you were there? What did we miss? Even if you couldn't attend the event, we hope you'll share your take on these important community issues.

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fostersummit_332We had a diverse and great group for the Foster Summit breakout session on housing.

Portland's hot real estate market of a few years ago gave way to a real estate crash in 2009, which is now being followed by a comeback of sorts. If these tribulations have buffeted the middle class, they've been devastating to low income Portlanders --many of whom are not Portlanders anymore.

Much of the housing discussion at the Foster Summit focused on ideas for how we, at the neighborhood level, could try to stem the negative impacts of these changes.

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Franklin High School Renovation Raises Controversy

benjiSaturday morning more than 100 staff, teachers, students and community members took part in what was billed as a "Schematic Design Workshop" for the new Franklin High School. Franklin is undergoing a "full modernization" as a result of the $482 million school facilities bond measure approved by voters in 2012.

As it turned out, however, the event was less a workshop than a town hall in which dozens of attendees voiced complaints about the allocation of classroom space under the new design.

At issue was the proposed design's reliance on shared, flexible classroom space, rather than on dedicated classrooms assigned to specific teachers.

In sometimes emotional comments, teachers and students talked about the impacts of moving teachers and teaching materials from room to room, moving desks, and removing materials from walls and blackboards each period, which teachers said would impact instructional time and their ability to build relationships with their students. (more…)

This Week: Get Your Green On!

smokestackWhat's more important than passing on a healthier planet to our kids and their kids? This week there are two pretty easy ways to help do just that.

Neighbors for Clean Air has looked at state data and found that right here in Portland there are 17 cancer-causing toxics that exceed health based standards from 10 up to 800 times.

The group has been working with local communities, state regulators and elected officials to reduce the toxic emissions that impact the health of every Portlander every day.

Tonight, Neighbors for Clean Air is hosting a public meeting to talk about real, practical ways that people at the neighborhood level can identify polluters and get them to reduce the toxics they're putting into our air.

That meeting takes place tonight, at the SE Uplift office, 3534 SE Main, from 6 to 7:30 pm.

Closer to home, the Foster-Powell Community Garden is putting out a call for help this weekend.

The garden is getting a shipment of native plants on Saturday, and they need help building the retaining wall and dirt hill where the new plants will go.

Their "Fill the Hill" work party event happens Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. Organizers say they'd LOVE to see some new neighbors come out to help --and as an extra incentive they say that this weekend's volunteers will get to the front of the line when garden beds become available this spring.

The Community Garden is located at the southwest corner of 62nd and Powell. For more info, email them at 62ndgarden@gmail.com

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Mount Tabor’s Maple Entrance: Neighbors Ask for Long-Delayed Southern Park Access

tabor_2Mount Tabor Park is indisputably one of Portland’s crown jewels, a stunning ancient volcanic cone that’s home to some of the most beautiful forest, wildlife and views the city has to offer.

Initially proposed by the famous Olmstead Brothers, the pioneering designers of many of the nation’s great parks, Mt. Tabor is one of the most popular parks in the city.

Beginning as a Water Bureau facility –which it still is, in part –the park was designed by one of Portland’s first Parks directors, the landscape architect Emanuel Tillman Mische, in 1929. Mische began his career with the Olmsteads before coming to Oregon, where he was part of the team that created Crater Lake National Park, among many other iconic northwest parks.

Within Portland Parks and Recreation’s designation system, Mt. Tabor is a “metropolitan park,” meaning it is intended to serve the citizens of the entire city. And residents to the west, north and east have easy access to its charms.

Those to the south, not so much.

But it wasn’t supposed to be that way. Mische’s original park plan included the “Maple Entrance,” a major park entryway from the south at Division and 64th Avenue. (more…)

County Moves Forward on Wikman Building; Redevelopment Remains an Option

ArletaExterior1963

A 1950s photo of the Arleta Library at SE Holgate and 64th Avenue.

The former Arleta Library, known as the Wikman Building, moved one step closer to disposition today as the county re-opened the property for potential sale to a private developer.

By a 5-0 vote, the Multnomah County Commission moved to reissue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the property. Although the terms of the RFP have not yet been determined, demolition and/or redevelopment remain in play.

The 1918 building was an original Carnegie library and was built on property purchased with contributions from local residents. (more…)

Preview of Big Fish River, the New Game from Foster’s Red Castle Games

red_castle_1Red Castle has been selling games and hosting tournaments on Foster since March 2010. Now they’re moving into publishing their own games, starting with Big Fish River, a great board game for kids and everybody else.

They’re currently running a kickstarter campaign through January 17 to raise the funds to bring the game to market, which they expect to happen in May.

Co-owner Matthew Mičetić was kind enough to sit down and play a few rounds of Big Fish River with me. (more…)

Introducing Oregon’s newest State Senator, Michael Dembrow

A couple of weeks ago, Michael Dembrow was appointed to the Oregon State Senate after three terms in the House.

Earlier this year, when Senator Jackie Dingfelder stepped down from the Legislature to work for Mayor Charlie Hales, Michael sought and won the appointment to serve the remainder of her term in the Senate.

senatordembrow2014In the process, he inherited about 60,000 new constituents, including almost all the residents of South Tabor, Foster-Powell and Mt. Scott-Arleta, plus a sizable chunk of Lents.

He was kind enough to talk with Foster United about what motivates his political involvement, where he sees this part of Southeast Portland going, and how he intends to engage with 60,000 new constituents who may not know him yet. (more…)