Since 2001, Sunnyside neighbors have come together to re-paint a sunflower at the intersection of SE 33rd and Yamhill. Sunnyside Piazza is Portland’s second oldest intersection repair project, which was organized by residents, originally in partnership with City Repair. Being neighbors of the intersection, Portland Street Art Alliance (PSAA) has managed the annual repainting activities since 2012. This year, the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association (SNA) is partnering with PSAA to spearhead the project and carry the torch for bringing back the neighborhood landmark. We are asking our community to help support the framework of this project by applying for the permits, purchase of paint, and other expenses that will occur. The SNA and PSAA would be very appreciative of your contribution to our GoFundMe fundraiser. Please follow along with the Sunnyside Piazza Facebook page for up-to-date details and ways to get involved.
This meeting is open to the public.
Times are approximate. Agenda items subject to change.
This meeting will be conducted via Zoom. All attendees will be muted upon entry into the meeting. In order to ask a question or make a comment, please use the “Raise Hand” feature. If accessing the meeting via computer, tablet, or smartphone app, you can do so via the “Raise hand button” in the “Participant” menu. If you are calling in to the meeting via phone, please dial *9. You can learn more about how to use this feature here: https://www.techjunkie.com/zoom-raise-hand/
Meeting ID: 890 2890 7258
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To learn more about the work of the Oregon legislature, visit
www.oregonlegislature.gov. These are direct links to the representatives whose districts cover the Sunnyside neighborhood:
Senator Kathleen Taylor (District 21)
Representative Rob Nosse (District 42)
Q&A with Mark Usher
When did you settle in Sunnyside?
Why did you choose Sunnyside over another part of the city?
I seen the gathered people—the homeless area—and so I blended in. Tried to! I first went to Laurelhurst and then we got swept. We were forced to move down here.
What led you to become homeless? (If you don’t mind talking about it.)
I had transferred from the Newberg Fred Meyer store to the Clackamas store because my buddy Adrian was running the meat market there. But before I started, he went to selling insurance, because he could make more money. I had a heck of a time getting on back there in any departments.
So because you didn’t have a job you weren’t able to pay your rent.
You went up to Sandy yesterday to visit your daughter. How did that go?
I knocked a couple trees down for the doctor I work for, at his house on Mount Hood. (He also has a place on Burnside.) He was afraid they were gonna drop on his house. While I was up on the mountain, I seen my daughter. Then, I dropped by to ask him, I was like, “When you want me to do them?” and he said, “Right now’s a good time!” I said, “Oh no!” I said to him, “I’m not gonna buck ‘em and limb ‘em, I’m just gonna drop them.” He can go out there anytime with a chainsaw and do the rest. I had to catch my bus back to Portland.
I don’t know all this lingo. Can you explain?
I used to work for Brandon Logging in Sandy—I ran the landing. That’s when log trucks park and they load the logs on the truck. You “limb it,” which means you cut the limbs off. Then you “buck it”—cut it into sections.
You do other work for this doctor, right? You’ve mentioned he also has a place on Burnside.
He has properties all over the place and I go in and put new fixtures in: sinks, toilets and stuff like that. He rents them out. Sometimes we’ll remodel the whole thing—we’ll do everything from the hardwood floors to painting. He was my neighbor up on the mountain for about ten years. He helps me out a lot. I can go charge my phone at his place. I house sit for him when he takes off for Texas or Indiana to visit his kids.
What do you like most about Sunnyside?
It’s quiet down here. Probably having the church here helps keep it quiet. And it seems like the people are nicer here! (Laughs.)
What’s one thing you would change about Sunnyside, if you could?
They got an outhouse right there. That’s nice of them. But they don’t put enough of them. For 15 people, that’s good. But for 30 people—one outhouse gets trashed. That would be an improvement. And keep up the good work on the Neighborhood Association!
Can you explain to housed neighbors what it’s like to be houseless?
The uncertainty on where do you go? Anywhere you go, they don’t want you there, which I can see. If you have a nice home at Laurelhurst, you don’t want to be up in the morning looking at your window to see that. But we don’t camp across from their houses now. But still, it’s a burden. People come down there and go, “Look at that. It’s messy!” I don’t know what could make people change their minds on having people camping across from them.
How long have you been on the list waiting for affordable housing?
Over a year. I don’t mind them giving whatever comes available to women and children first. We just need a place to go where we know our stuff will be there when we’re back from work, you know?
Building Design, Police Oversight, and Homeless Camps
The March SNA general meeting hosted Heather Flint Chatto, who spoke about building design in the neighborhood, especially along Hawthorne Blvd. and Belmont St.
Complete with photos and illustrations, Heather explained the PDX Main Street Design Guidelines www.pdxmainstreets.org/designguidelines which are aimed at improving the fit between new infill and old buildings. Heather showed how structures built at different times and with different styles could fit together harmoniously. At the April general meeting the SNA will consider whether to adopt the guidelines which have been adopted by eight Neighborhood Associations (NAs) and business districts for 12 southeast main streets, including Hawthorne Blvd.
Building design has long been an interest of SNA. For history and context, please search our website (sunnysideportland.org) using the term “land use docs”. I especially recommend reading Adopted Sunnyside Neighborhood Plan-1999. This is far from a dry planning document; rather, it is a rich combination of history, architecture, and neighborhood aspirations. Proposed building projects above a certain size are required to notify the appropriate neighborhood association and although NAs do not have approval authority, the SNA generally asks builders to present their project designs at our general meeting. They usually seem open to questions and suggestions, which could include design guidelines.
Johanna Brenner, next spoke on the topic of increased civilian oversight of the Portland police. Johanna advocated that the SNA endorse a letter recommending specific language in the PPB contract (please see related article in this issue). The SNA encourages neighbors’ emailed opinions on the potential endorsement.
Taking up the final topic of the evening, the SNA continued its pursuit of pragmatic solutions to homelessness by endorsing the Committee on Safety and Livability to respond to the Joint Office of Homeless Services’ request for programmatic qualifications (http://ahomeforeveryone.net/news).
Both Heather and Johanna are scheduled to continue their respective topics at the April SNA general meeting. I hope to see you all there. Stay safe.