SNA March Notes and April Plans

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 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 ( 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 (

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.

Dave Boush