Getting to Know Others on Your Block / In Your Neighborhood

It’s probably easiest for those who own dogs and can chat/walk/visit with other pet owners on their multiple daily walks. 

And for neighborhood moms and dads as they walk their kids to and from the neighborhood schools. 

Maybe also for friendly types who make a regular effort to smile at their neighbors and stop to chat and listen deeply to the stories others want to share.

It’s a great feeling to walk about and say hello to the new parents on the block, the mail person who is a friend of mine, or to ask a neighbor for the name of the great crafts people who recently completed a fab roofing project or beautiful stone masonry work. 

Or to compliment newish neighbors about their ‘teachable’ garden where kids and parents who walk down the block can stop and point out the thoughtfully labeled flowers, trees and shrubs in their front yards. 

Imagine that. 

A teaching garden that is public and accessible just by walking by. 

Or when you are going out of town, notifying neighbors so they can watch over your home, and maybe ask someone to come and pick up your mail. 

Or maybe organize a block party and really get to know your neighbors. 

Imagine that.

Want some help organizing a block party or some tips on how to do neighborhood outreach?

Email me at [email protected] and let’s get this started. 

Being Prepared, and Maybe It’s Enough

What does that mean for emergency preparedness? Well, it depends – it’s all about feeling ready enough for any disaster. Earthquakes, extreme heat or extreme cold, loss of power,  smoke from wildfires, downed trees and powerlines … fill in the blank.

When I get on my soapbox about e-prep, I usually get one of two responses: “Yes, I am prepared enough.” or “No, I haven’t thought about it and I don’t have the time to do anything about it right now, but thanks for the reminder.”

Our choice to live in this most beautiful part of the world means that there are weather and climate-related issues to know about, and plan for. 

Questions? Feel free to email me : [email protected]. Let’s start a conversation. Wherever you are is the best place to begin.

Sunnyside Neighborhood Community Cares (SNACC) Committee Updates

The SNACC committee met in-person to discuss working with other neighborhood associations to support our houseless neighbors. We are hoping to attend Laurelhurst’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee meeting in May. We also reviewed the needs assessment findings and recommendations. Slides are available here. Jes will be creating a summary of findings and recommendations which will be distributed to shower guests and volunteers. We also continued our conversation about other potential projects. We talked about the gap in services created when Beacon Village moved to Montavilla and a desire to replicate some of what they were doing last year. We hope to discuss with our shower volunteers what capacity people might have to provide rides, assistance navigating services, and other support. We also discussed some potential ways we might optimize use of the showers – expanding to offer a mobile unit, setting aside time for walk-ins and having volunteers doing outreach during shifts to help facilitate people getting to appointments or coming in during walk-in hours. Many of the projects we discussed are long term. We also debriefed Monday’s community listening session on the City budget, which Cole and Jes attended. They each gave testimony asking the City for funding for the Sunnyside Shower Project. We are going to reach out to volunteers to see who has capacity and interest to submit written testimony as well.

Join the Reparations Underground Market

Two years ago, after George Floyd’s murder, I felt angry and helpless about the continuing racist society we live in. I educated myself, marched, and vowed to make a difference. However, I felt there weren’t concrete, practical ways to integrate racial justice into my daily life. That’s why I created the new Reparations Underground Market (www.rumpdx.com).

The Reparations Underground Market (RUMpdx) is a Craigslist-style website for services, but instead of money being exchanged, it all goes to reparations. In each transaction, the Vendor chooses from eight different direct aid choices where half the money goes, and the Buyer chooses where the other half goes. Vendors volunteer their time and professional expertise – things like writing, editing, handyman services, and financial coaching. Buyers purchase what they normally need, but know all their spending goes to reparations. 

If you want to integrate racial justice into your daily life too, offer your professional expertise and skills on RUMpdx.com or buy something you already need on the Market. Either way, you are diverting some of your consumption towards justice. 

We can emerge from crises, pandemic and George Floyd, either better or worse than before. It is up to us to choose. We didn’t create the world we live in, but unless we actively do something, we will perpetuate it for our children. A more just and equitable world we want in our hearts is possible. 

If you have questions about RUMpdx, email [email protected].

The Leroy Blocks

Leroy Sly Scott, who passed away two years ago in May, now lives forever as part of our neighborhood. You may have known Leroy as a charismatic fellow who told a joke or sang a song from his stoop behind the Belmont Market. For years Leroy would sleep on (or nearby) his daytime throne on 34th Street before he got housing for what turned out to be his final year on Earth after 34 years of living outside. This stoop continues to be a place of gathering of all sorts of neighbors in Sunnyside. Now as you sip your coffee from Stumptown or walk your dog down to the playground, there is an image of Leroy there to greet you and to remind you that “All around the world, people are singing the same song.”  (A shortened version of this was Leroy’s favorite expression, inspired by the Digital Underground song.)  

The Portland Street Art Alliance and a group of local artists and community members came together last December to create a mural to honor Leroy. Thanks to artists Kyra Watkins, Caleb Ruecker, Sarah Farahat and Tammy MacKinnon who together designed and painted the mural, and to Tony Booone, a community member and Street Roots vendor who helped out. 

In the coming months visages of some of Leroy’s friends and community will be painted above the Tao of Tea and “The Leroy Blocks” will be complete. If you would like to contribute to this entirely community-generated and community-supported art, please do so here: https://leroymural.causevox.com. A big thank you to the Portland Street Art Alliance for their dedication, care, and skill in beautifying our neighborhood with the history of its neighbors.