The members of the Piedmont Neighborhood Association began meeting regularly in 2021. In March we invited all members to join a Zoom Gathering to discuss what was our top priorities and where do we want to put our energies. A survey was sent out and the 3 top priorities for those who responded and attended the March Gathering were:
Houseless. Many members wanted to find our what resources the City provided to neighborhood associations to help with resources for the houseless and cleaning up houseless camp areas.
Building Community in Piedmont. Many members want to have potlucks, block parties, other celebrations organized in person. The idea is to get to know each other and find ways to create a more inclusive and active community.
Crime. Many members are concerned with the up-tick in crime and what we can do to prevent it.
Since March, the Piedmont Neighborhood Association volunteers have tried to address the 3 top concerns.
Actions we took: Houseless: From the March general meeting, we formed a smaller committee, (action team) to find out from City Officials what are financial and other resources provided by the City for cleaning ups the houseless camps and providing resources to the houseless community in our area. The action team met with a non-profit called Neighbors Helping Neighbors,(NHN). NHN is lead by Terrance Moses. Mr. Moses spoke about his organization and what they do to provide services to the houseless as well as clean up efforts. NHN offered to train anyone interested in helping with the effort to clean homeless camps and provide services to our houseless community. The most interesting information we found out was that the City does not provide any financial help to neighborhoods to help with clean ups, even when people volunteer their time to do the work. However, the City does have a plan to address the houseless issue, provide resources and more. Go to https://www.portland.gov/wheeler/tables for more information. After meeting several times as a small group and as well in the larger general meetings from March to May, we could not come to a consensus around how to start a houseless clean up project. Not only did we not come to an agreement on a plan, we lack funding, volunteer staffing and frankly, permission from the local governmental dept to move forward. As a result, at the June meeting it was decided that we focus on community building for the remainder of the Summer. We will have a block party August 19th to kick it off.
Crime: Piedmont invited a representative from the Portland Police Bureau to join our general gathering in May. Officer Israel Hill attended the zoom meeting. He gave us suggestions on what to do to report crimes without calling 911. Among the many suggestions Mr. Hill gave us, the most important one was for us to attend all the City Council meetings in Portland that we can. He suggested we organize a letter writing campaign to get the attention of our government leaders and bring our concerns to them. He suggested not only voicing our concerns, but praising our leaders for the work they are doing to improve our community.
Community Building: It was decided at the June PNA Gathering that we would skip the July Gathering…….(the 3rd Thursday in July) and have an IN-PERSON block party in August. Please mark your calendars for August 19th at 7 pm. The Block Party will be on Mississippi between Rosa Parks Way and Holman.
Community Outreach: At the June Gathering for PNA, we had two guest speakers, Pat Frobes with Friends of Peninsula Park Rose Garden ( https://penrosefriends.org ) and Fawn Aberson from the Soul District (https://www.nnebaportland.org ). The discussion with Fawn regarding all the work the Soul District is doing for improvement for BICOP is remarkable. We did not have a good turnout for the June meeting, and because Fawn had so much great information, we have invited her back in the Fall. Friends of Peninsula Park Rose Garden have kept our historical Rose Garden pristine for years now. We are so grateful to them. If you want to volunteer with a great group of people and learn more about roses, please volunteer. Friends of the Rose Garden do more than deadhead, they are now collecting stories of our park from all who have enjoyed it over the decades. The group is collecting history for us. Thank you! We will continue to invite community leaders to our meetings so that our members can learn what is happening in our neighborhood and perhaps get more involved in creating a more safe and livable neighborhood.
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