Bellrose Station Volunteer Build Day – This Saturday!

We’ve talked about this before, and the day has arrived: ROSE Community Development is bringing the southeast community together to build a new playground in the Lents neighborhood!

The reasons are many –we all know that kids in East Portland don’t have access to the parks and playgrounds they need. Too many of them play in parking lots, or just don’t go outside at all.

But this Saturday will be a chance for neighbors to pitch in to help by building a playground from the ground up, all in one day! (more…)

TOMORROW – Your Last, Best Chance to Shape Your Neighborhood

The City of Portland is hosting a SUPER OPEN HOUSE tomorrow night to share and gather information about two major plans going on along Foster Road. We know these are kind of boring, and we know you have other things you’d rather do, but if one day you look out your window and see stuff you didn’t like, don’t tell us we didn’t warn you.

Here’s a sneak peak of what you’ll talk about: (more…)

Public Comment Period Now Open – Metro Holds Public Hearing on Regional Flexible Funds

Last night, Metro held a public hearing that could have a big impact on funding for the long-delayed Streetscape improvements to Foster Road.

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The 90-minute meeting of JPACT –the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation –was held to hear from the public on a proposed list of projects being considered for the upcoming round of federal transportation dollars –a.k.a the “Regional Flexible Funds” for fiscal years 2016-18. (more…)

Kickstart the Neighborhood and Your Farmers Market

Over the years, neighbors in the Foster area have come together to show what can get accomplished if we all chip in. Social fundraising and organizing platforms such as Kickstarter or Fundly provide a platform for people with more ideas than money to make a pitch to get “investors” on board.

So far, the Foster hoods have made an admirable try at these opportunities. Check out some great examples of neighbors coming together, pitching in a few bucks, and making great things happen. (more…)

Bus Riders Unite! calls 82nd & Foster one of the Worst Bus Stops in Portland

Last week, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon and Bus Riders Unite! led the final meeting of their East Portland Bus Stop Prioritization project. The result was a list of the three worst bus stops in the City –a short list that includes one busy and chronically bad stop at 82nd and Foster.

portlands_worst_bus_atop_1The two-year long project involved an extensive public process, described as “Survivor-style” by the seriously great portlandafoot.org blog. The end result was that a broad group of transit users identified the East Portland bus stops in most need of upgrades.

On that short list: the sliver of sidewalk on the north side of Foster where hundreds of riders get on or off every weekday.

BRU! activist Eavan Moore told me that the stop’s heavy usage easily justifies a shelter, but there isn’t space to accomodate one given the narrow sidewalk there.

“Widening that sidewalk, by extending it into the street and/or by extending it into the adjacent parking lot, is a critical first step to making other improvements,” she says. Eavan would also like to see a garbage can, a posted schedule and better lighting too, but everything hinges on finding a way to create more space in the substandard sidewalk.

Purchasing part of the Wells Fargo parking lot to expand the sidewalk and bus stop is possible, but acquiring privately-owned right-of-way can be expensive, and hasn’t been something that’s been discussed so far by PBOT’s Foster Streetscape committee.

That’s not surprising, given the meager resources the City has allocated to that 2+ mile project.

Similarly, there’s a lot of competition for space within the existing roadway — making expansion there problematic too. The current configuration includes four auto through-lanes plus a center turn lane. The City’s 2010 Bike Plan anticipates bike lanes being added to the mix, and the 2009 Streetcar Plan includes a future Streetcar line here as well. So far, the Lents Neighborhood Association has opposed any reduction in auto lanes in the area.

It’s possible that the ongoing Foster Streetscape project could take these improvements on, but time is running short. None of the eight different possible street profiles considered by PBOT and the Streetscape committee for this area have included plans for expansion of these sidewalks beyond the current 5-foot width. (See http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/425424 at pp.9-11)

Other options could include requesting funds for improvements from Tri-Met or the PDC, but either of those paths could take years to see results on the ground.

But the activists working on the East Portland Bus Stop Prioritization Project expect to be involved for the long haul.

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OPAL Executive Director Jonathan Oster told me that the project is intended as a first step, enabling “the people who actually ride the buses in East Portland to identify, assess and prioritize the most important bus stops that warrant improvements in terms of amenities and infrastructure.” He says that the project screened more than 150 bus stops to identify 20 for further assessment. Of those, riders from the community chose the top 3 in need of immediate help.

The other two stops on the “3 Worst” list are both on SE Powell Boulevard: One is at 122nd and the other is at 127th. Both of those locations have similar issues to Foster and 82nd: inadequate space, poor lighting and amenities and terrible access for people with disabilities.

People looking to get involved in the movement for better bus stops or other aspects of advocacy for transit riders should get in touch with Bus Riders Unite! here.

Open for two years, The Porch still feels like a secret

The South Tabor neighborhood is a great family-oriented area that is long on charm but short on places to walk for coffee or conversation.

But four (or five) mornings a week, tucked away on Kelly Street near 67th, there’s a great place to get caffeinated, muffined or wifi’d.

discovery_church_67th_and_kelly (more…)

Could Your Alley Be This Awesome?

AA_onBlackFor the last few months, PSU grad students have been working hand-in-hand with Foster area neighbors in Lents, Mt. Scott-Arleta and Foster-Powell to learn about the struggles and benefits of living next to an alleyway. They’ve gathered your stories, concerns and ideas, and explored what opportunities existed to build on the strengths and overcome the problems. What they’ve come up with might knock your socks off. Check out some of the ‘visions’ they’ve created as inspiration: (more…)