Summit Recap – Foster’s Built Environment: Streets, Sidewalks and Beyond

By way of follow-up to February 15th's Foster Summit event, we've asked a couple of the attendees to share a summary of topics and ideas from the breakout session they attended. We will publish these, along with the 'butcher paper' notes in the weeks to come.

Today we've asked Mike Caputo, who facilitated our discussion of transportation infrastructure, to contribute his thoughts on the discussion that took place. Mike is a founder of the innovative company What Would You Like to See?, which uses crowdsourcing to bring the public into the process of creating the next generation of our built environment.

Were you were there? What did Mike 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_348The built environment is something that impacts us all in a myriad of ways. Buildings, streets, and sidewalks do not change often – careful consideration should go into their creation, because they will impact an area for decades or more.

In the Foster-Powell, Lents and Mt. Scott-Arleta areas, pedestrians, motorists, and bicyclists all have a number of issues that the community is trying to address together. These are issues that have accumulated over a long period of time; and though they will take time and energy to address, the communities involved are prepared to roll up their proverbial sleeves and take action to improve their surroundings.

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Book Reading Tonight: From Animal House to Our House

 

AnimalHouse

Seeing as we are neighborhoods full of old houses and renovations, tonight's book reading is sure to resonate with our neighbors.  

February 24th 6:30 pm at Holgate Library  

Award-winning writer and DIY expert Ron Tanner will offer a comic monologue about his funny, heart-warming book From Animal House to Our House: A Love Story. Combining romance with history and humor, Tanner tells the true story of how he and his wife bought condemned property -- a wrecked former frat house -- and restored it to its original Victorian splendor. They knew nothing about fixing up houses when they started. Tanner's talk includes an impressive slide show.

See the event listing at the Holgate Library website

Foster United is always looking to expand our efforts to cover the events and goings on in the Foster neighborhoods. We'd love to reinstitute our events calendar, but we need help. If you're the kind of person that likes to stay in the know and would like to join our team please contact us at info@fosterunited.org

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

fill_the_hill

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…)

The Best of Lents

LPDCIn case you missed it, the most recent Willamette Week featured a scathing review of the PDC’s performance in Lents when it comes to the success of urban renewal efforts. In “Razed and Confused,” they explored a list of failure after failure of misplaced priorities, what they call the “Cockroach Plaza”, and half-baked, half-executed ideas. The article is eye opening to the challenges of the last 15 years.

But in their effort to slam the PDC, I worry that they’ve inadvertently included Lents itself in the line of fire. In truth, there is a lot of good happening in Lents, and almost all of it was left out of the WWEEK narrative. The following list is meant to highlight some of the great things that have happened in Lents.

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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…)

Meet your Neighbors: Foster Row

1486757_1438208816393362_662153319_aMeet the folks behind Foster Row, coming to our fine road in 2014.

Who are you?
Mark Pendergrass is a Woodworker from Kansas. He moved to Portland in 2006 to pursue a career in furniture design and manufacturing. Jennifer Erickson is a textile weaver. She moved to Portland in 2007 from Minneapolis, MN.

What do you do?
Foster Row is a place for creative entrepreneurs to work alongside each other and be a source of inspiration and collaboration. Based in the historic YMCA building, Foster Row includes a full woodshop, textile studio, and retail showroom. As the neighborhood moves through a period of redevelopment Foster Row aims to serve as a hub for community events.

What is your inspiration? (Why do you do what you do?)
Our goal is to create a communal working environment for our businesses and other small businesses to grow together. Rather than hiring employees, we will collaborate with other skilled entrepreneurs to create our unique line of home furnishings. We will also host events to draw attention to our businesses and establish Foster Row as a permanent fixture in the community.

What brought you and/or your business to this fine community?
We are excited about the direction we see this neighborhood moving in, and appreciate how down-to-earth everyone is here. There is a strong sense of pride that folks feel for the Foster neighborhood and the dedication to continue to build community.

3 Ways to unite the Fine Folks of Foster and it’s neighboring communities
1. We want to offer our 5,000 square foot space for hosting community events
2. We really like the idea of a Foster Card system to tie together local businesses.
3. Beautify the neighborhoods and encourage pedestrian traffic

How do you envision the future of your neighborhood?
We see our neighborhood drawing in more community and family-oriented businesses/organizations.