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, purchasing paint, and other expenses that will occur. The SNA and PSAA would be very appreciative of your contribution to our GoFundMe fundraiser. You can donate directly via https://www.gofundme.com/f/sunnyside-piazza or via the SNA website homepage. Follow the Sunnyside Piazza Facebook page for up-to-date details and ways to get involved.
Police Oversight, Building Design, and Welcoming a New Board Member
The April SNA general meeting continued last month’s discussion on building design and police oversight, endorsing documents on both topics. Johanna Brenner from the Portland Metro People’s Coalition and Sarah Kowaleski, Coalition Organizer at Jobs with Justice fielded questions relevant to their March request for the SNA to endorse a letter recommending specific language in the PPB contract. (Please see the related article in the March newsletter and read the letter at www.uniteoregon.org/policing. The SNA voted to endorse the letter. Heather Flint Chatto continued the discussion about building design in the neighborhood, especially along Hawthorne Blvd. and Belmont St. As in the March meeting, a principal focus was the PDX Main Street Design Guidelines, which you can find at www.pdxmainstreets.org/designguidelines. These guidelines are aimed at improving the fit between new infill and old buildings. Among Heather’s main points was that good design is key to increasing density. Buildings can be built taller when they fit in well with the existing pattern. The SNA voted to adopt the Hawthorne special buildings list and the Main Street Design Guidelines for Hawthorne. The SNA also endorsed a letter to the City Council advocating for Main Street design-specific standards and for parity in design review with downtown. An example of design parity is when a specific building height triggers design review. The board voted to elect Vincent Dawans as a board member, replacing Sunia Gibbs, who recently resigned. Vincent has done wonders as SNA Clean-Up Coordinator and we look forward to working more with him. We thank Sunia for her service. Please note the announcement of our Annual Board elections on July 8th and consider running.
SNA Annual Board Election July 8th
The Annual Election for SNA Board members will be held July 8, 2021 at 7 p.m.. Like last year, we will be outside SE Uplift (3534 SE Main St.), both masked and physically distanced. Board terms are 2 years, with about half the seats open each year. Five of the nine board seats are open and at least one current board member is not pursuing reelection.
Membership is open to anyone 18 years of age or older who is either: 1) A legal resident of Sunnyside, 2) An owner of real property within Sunnyside, or 3) The designated representative of a business, school, church, or non-profit in Sunnyside. All members can vote and serve as board members. Members may declare their own candidacy or be nominated by another member. Those that declare or accept nomination by June 10th – the meeting prior to the annual meeting – will be announced to the membership by the Board of Directors. Nominations can be made from the floor at the Annual meeting provided that the nominee is a member and is willing to serve if elected. You have to be present at the Annual meeting to vote (secret paper ballot) but need not be present to be elected. Candidates will briefly introduce themselves before the vote.
The Other Emergency, an earthquake, that is…
For many of us in the emergency preparedness world, this pandemic is ‘practice’ for the BIG ONE. That is not to downplay in any way the seriousness of our current world issues. This is to say that, due to our training, both as professionals and volunteers, we were a bit calmer at the onset of the pandemic as we reviewed and revised our own preparedness efforts to meet the current challenge. This work and planning is ongoing. In the big picture, it is best to prepare and then improvise as needed.
Working at the micro-neighborhood level, it’s my job to get my neighbors as prepared as possible, having offered training, materials, workshops and tips over the years. This is hard work, but worth the effort.
Let me walk you through a very good scenario that I hope can take place after a major disaster in my neighborhood. After the event, when I have made sure my home and family are okay and it is safe to do, I plan to walk through my neighborhood and check in on my neighbors. I know most of them by name and by sight, and know they have enough food and water to last for two weeks. They all have a shelter-in-place plan that is activated and are keeping themselves as safe as possible, knowing that it is possible that we will be without any emergency services for the immediate future.
As we are able, neighbors help neighbors nearby.
Those with radio communication skills like ham operators will be able to share news and critical information when cell phones and the internet are down. There are many licensed ham operators in the Sunnyside neighborhood.
We are calm and do the best we can because we all prepared ahead of time.
We prepare, and then we improvise.
Where are you on the preparedness continuum? Start where you are and keep going!
Q&A with Timoney Korbar and her mom Barbara Korbar
Timoney Korbar, who runs Amazon Prime’s X-Ray international division, moved to Portland in September from Santa Monica, California. She found a house in Sunnyside that also had space for her mom, Barbara, who she moved here from upstate New York a month later. After scoring a vaccine appointment for her mom, she launched Portland Vaccine Helpers, a volunteer-led effort to get Oregon seniors their vaccine appointments. I talked to her about how she fell into vaccine work, her job as a television producer, and why she loves Sunnyside.
When did you settle in Sunnyside?
I just moved in September from L.A. I rescued my mom from upstate New York during the pandemic. We pandemic-moved! She was in a senior apartment complex, and they were not taking COVID seriously. I also had trouble getting her groceries. Luckily, Nextdoor helped me in that time. I joined Nextdoor for Ellenville, NY. A week later, a retired corrections officer offered help. She got her groceries until I moved her to Portland.
Tell me how Portland Vaccine Helpers started?
Once I secured an appointment for my Mom to get vaccinated, I saw how hard and complicated it was. I posted on Nextdoor, “I know how it works if anybody needs help.” The response was overwhelming.
Hundreds of people reached out to me via Nextdoor. I created the back-end to collect information. A week later, I brought in five volunteers to help call people, book appointments and do more back-end work. Luckily, we were able to get appointments for all the seniors. We ended up booking close to 300 people. I myself booked 186 people.
It’s sort of like getting impossible concert tickets! (I used to work in the music industry, and I’m a huge Radiohead fan—I traveled the world to see them touring.) We’re winding down our efforts now. We decided that our main focus was to help seniors and the need from seniors is waning.
And you also have a full time job?
I do. I’m a television producer. I am in charge of X-Ray international premium content for Amazon Studios. I work on a lot of bonus content—the making of, interviews with directors, and so on.
Up until recently my work has been mainly focused in India. I would say my favorite show that I’ve produced content for is called Made in Heaven. It’s about these two people who run a wedding planning business. You get exposed to all the different religions and all the different specifics that go into different types of Indian weddings. It has one of the first gay characters in Indian television. They wrote it when it was still illegal to be gay in India!
I also have a Schitt’s Creek inspired AirBnB downstairs called The RoseBud and Barkfest.
What do you love about Sunnyside?
I looked all over Portland and I really wanted something that was walkable. Eventually, post-pandemic, I want to be able to do fun things like sitting outside and having a beer somewhere, grabbing a bite to eat. I like having the Bagdad Theater down the street.
What attracted me to Portland was that it has a big city feel but you also feel like you’re in a neighborhood. Also, my best friend here is in Woodstock and close family friends are in Northeast. I’m perfectly in the middle of those two. I was looking on the other side of the river, and my friend Erika, in Woodstock, was like, “No! We’ll never see each other.” I also found a house that has an apartment for my mom downstairs. And a bonus AirBnB! So it was the perfect storm.
So I take it you own? Yes. I bought my first house. It’s an amazing feeling but there’s always so much to do.
What is one thing you’d like to see change about Sunnyside?
I can’t really think of anything I’d want to change outside of the potholes. Because I haven’t been here very long, I haven’t really been able to experience as much of Sunnyside as I would like to. It is hard to see the homeless struggling so much in our area.
In a recent Oregonian article dated April 3, 2021, Steve Duin introduced us to Frank Moscow, the founder of Adopt One Block.
“When Moscow (…) moved into downtown Portland in 2016, he was both frustrated and insulted by the trashing of the city. ‘Two motions are involved in cleaning up the city: getting it clean and keeping it clean,’ Moscow says. (…) ‘There has to be a repetitive motion for keeping a place clean. That led me to Adopt One Block. It enables people to care for the block they love the most, with cleaning materials we supply. That means no meet-up. No driving to volunteer. No organization to join. No fundraising. We supply the tools and the support.’
Adopt One Block launched six months ago. More than 2,200 city blocks have been adopted. Once you enlist at adoptoneblock.org, Moscow delivers the grabber tool, the heavy plastic bags, the red bucket for used needles, and the work gloves, all for free. The initial clean-up may take several hours, the subsequent sweeps far less time.”
As of April 23, 2021 more than one third of the blocks in Sunnyside have been adopted through Adopt One Block, as you can see on the attached map. The areas in grey have been adopted; thin white lines around grey areas denote known adopters; areas in black still need adoption. Check sunnysideportland.org for an updated map.
When adopting a block, you are adopting a roundabound route around the block, staying on the same side of the street. Other adopters will clean the other sides of each street on your route. The website will also let you reshape an adopted route in order to accommodate more complex areas that are missing cross streets. If you decide to adopt and need help reshaping your route on the website, contact the SNA Cleanup Coordinator for help.
Adopt One Block (adoptoneblock.org) is a charitable endeavor and is entirely free to adopters. As an adopter, you can request free supplies through your account including a trash picker and bags.
If you are an existing adopter or decide to adopt a block after reading this article, our Cleanup Coordinator would love to hear from you (if he hasn’t yet)! For privacy reasons, Adopt One Block is not authorized to share this information directly with us. Getting this information from you and maintaining a list of adopters within Sunnyside will let us improve collaboration and coordination among adopters as well as offer local support. So far, about 10 adopters have made themselves known but we would like to hear from more. On the map, the blocks of known adopters are identified with a thin white line around their adopted block (grey areas). Your adoption information will not be shared publicly, but knowing about you will allow our Cleanup Coordinator to privately connect adopters of neighboring blocks if they both choose.
How often you clean your route depends on its location and how quickly litter accumulates. Most residential routes might only need a monthly cleaning, but routes near commercial corridors often need more regular cleanings – weekly or “every 2 weeks”. Making yourself known to the SNA Cleanup Coordinator as an adopter also presents an opportunity for us to help you connect with nearby neighbors in these higher need areas if they are willing to take turns on these more frequent routes.
To enlist or manage your block adoption (including adopting a second block or releasing your block if you can no longer cleanup), visit adoptoneblock.org.
To make yourself known to the SNA as an adopter, or if you ever need help with disposing of excess trash, dealing with larger items that have been dumped, needles or biohazard cleanup, please contact Vincent Dawans, SNA Cleanup Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.