Happy Holidays, Sunnyside! I hope this special time of year finds your family full of light, warmth and joy. In that spirit, please come out to our neighborhood’s celebration of the season at the annual festival of lights on Peacock Lane! The displays will be up from December 15th–31st. The first weekend is car-free. The cocoa booth will be serving up warm drinks and there will be plenty of cheer to go around.
Onto the SNA news…
We had a busy November General Meeting! First, we had representatives from both of the Portland Police Bureau precincts that serve Sunnyside. Here are a few things that we learned: the Traffic Enforcement division is back; there are continuing staffing challenges (there’s a backlog of students at the Police Academy in Salem); and the East Precinct’s
very successful Stolen Vehicle Operation has led to a 30% reduction in stolen vehicles so far in 2023. (For data on crime stats, police staffing numbers, etc. see portland.gov/police/open-data). It has been a long time since we had police officers join us and we are excited to
renew our relationship with PPB. We
will have regular updates from them at General meetings going forward and hope to bring in other public safety agencies as well, such as Portland Street Response, so that we can all be informed on the best ways to keep ourselves and our neighborhood safe.
Next was a presentation from Multnomah County and their architecture team about the exciting changes that will be coming to the Belmont Library. The expansion will more than double existing space and provide new opportunities for learning and engagement. You can read more about the plans in Hannah’s write-up below.
Finally we heard from Cascadia Action about the fight to clean the air that we all breathe here in Portland. Unfiltered diesel engines and industrial pollution make Portland’s air dangerous, particularly for people with asthma or other respiratory problems. Because of our proximity to the river and the prevailing west-to-east winds, Sunnyside is right on the edge of some of the worst of this particulate pollution. Cascadia Action is asking us to sign on to over 10 letters drafted by other neighborhood associations and civic groups to fight those responsible for this pollution and to bring cleaner air to everyone. The Board will be voting on support for these letters at our December Board meeting, so please be in touch ([email protected]) if you have opinions on this issue. We will also appoint a liaison to Cascadia Action to help in this cause.
On the continuing efforts to make Cesar E. Chavez safer for pedestrians and transit users, there have been a couple of developments. First, the traffic diverter that I mentioned last month was installed at Chavez and Taylor in mid-November. This will prevent left-hand turns at this intersection – a leading cause of crashes at that spot. Second, after hearing from Sunnyside resident Mary-Ann Schwab about the inadequate time provided by the walk signal at Taylor (five seconds of solid light, 10 additional of blinking), the SNA reached out to PBOT to inquire about extending those signals, to better ensure safe crossing for those who may not move as quickly across the wide, busy street. PBOT reported back that the signal call-boxes at both Taylor and Main are slated to be upgraded this winter. In light of community feedback and understanding the constituencies for these lights (e.g. bus and library users) PBOT will examine the light timings during the replacement project with an eye towards increasing the walk time. While this is not a done deal and we will have to continue to hold PBOT to its Vision Zero commitments, it is a positive “signal” for pedestrian safety. I’ll keep everyone posted as further developments occur.
That’s it for now. Have a wonderful holiday season and we will see you in 2024!