News from the President

Happy Holidays Sunnyside! 

The SNA met on November 10th for our bi-monthly meeting. A big topic of conversation was Mayor Ted Wheeler’s new plan to open large designated campsites across the city and to gradually ban unsanctioned camping by Portland’s houseless residents. Sam Adams, from the Mayor’s office, kicked off a series of meetings with neighborhood stakeholders on November 9th to discuss their vision. The pilot site would open with space for up to 150 people. They eventually expect to have six sites, with space for up to 250 people at each site. The mayor’s office says that each city-owned site would be managed by a private contractor, providing two meals, heated tents and access to service providers, like mental health, housing coordinators and drug treatment. The camps would be fenced and would have security, including in the 1000 feet surrounding each site. There are still many details to work out, including site selection and finances. Many meetings with the mayor’s office will continue over the coming months. They hope to be off the ground within 18 months.

We also had a presentation from Quiet Clean PDX (QC PDX). This organization is working towards a future where Portland would be free of gas-powered leaf blowers, as they greatly decrease air quality, cause extensive noise pollution and may present particular health hazards to their operators. This was an educational presentation and we may look at endorsing their campaign in the future, if the neighborhood is interested.

In other news, Portland voted for a new form of government with multi-member districts, proportional ranked-choice-voting, and a city administrator to manage bureaus! This is a big change for our city, and Portland needs you to stay involved. Over the coming months there will be many opportunities to participate in shaping the new government. Keep an eye on https://www.portland.gov/transition for opportunities to serve your community by making this change a reality.

The SNA board will have its monthly meeting on December 8th and we will return for our next general meeting in January.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season filled with friends, family and bright tidings for the coming new year. And I hope to see many of you at Sunnyside’s brightest tradition – the lights on Peacock Lane!

Celebrate the Holidays on Peacock Lane

Greetings! The residents of Portland’s beloved “Christmas Street” are pleased to announce the schedule for this year’s Lights on Peacock Lane Event. The lights will be on daily every night from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. starting on December 15th  and ending on December 31st.

Returning this year are the Hot Cocoa Booth and pedestrian-only nights! 

The Hot Cocoa Booth provides hot cocoa and cider (free of charge) to the public during the event. Donations are, of course, accepted and help defray certain costs, but they are not required. The booth runs from December 15th – 24th, while supplies last.

We’re delighted to announce the return of pedestrian-only nights, which will take place on December 15th, 16th, and 17th!

During these nights, the Lane will be closed to vehicle traffic, which means the public may walk on the Lane itself for an even better view of the lights. On December 18th, pedestrian-only nights end and vehicles can drive down the Lane, though we recommend planning ahead as traffic will get heavy. 

And, of course, Peacock Lane is always free!

Emergency Preparedness is a (Community and Individual) Act of Kindness

The ways in which we are kind during, and after, any type of weather-related emergency also manifests itself in many big and little ways.

Give yourself credit for the invisible and visible ways that you are kind on a daily basis. 

The other day I had the opportunity to hand deliver about forty SNA newsletters. On the north side of SE Taylor and the south side of SE Yamhill, from Cesar Chavez to SE 42nd Avenue, and on the east side of SE 42nd Avenue between these two blocks. There was a lot of climbing up and down the mostly uneven stairs with many not-so-stable handrails to guide me. It was a sunny day with no snow or ice – just a few damp leaves and branches scattered about. 

I share this story with you so that you consider making it safer for those who deliver mail and other items to our homes every day. Making it easier for people to navigate to our front doors would be an act of kindness.

As winter comes (well, it feels like it’s already here), let’s keep the streets and sidewalks in front of our homes free from leaves, garbage, ice and snow so that it’s safe for all of us to get around by car, bicycle and on foot.

Be prepared, not scared.

Sunnyside Neighborhood Community Cares (SNACC) Committee Updates

The Sunnyside Shower Project and SNACC are hosting their 3rd Annual winter gear and clothing drive. We will be collecting donations at Southeast Uplift (3534 SE Main Street) from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturday December 10th. We primarily serve adults. We are in need of a range of winter weather items in all sizes, such as:

  • New socks and underwear
  • Winter hats
  • Gloves 
  • Sweaters and sweatshirts 
  • Long and short sleeve t-shirts
  • Sweatpants and long underwear
  • Jeans and pants
  • Boots
  • Rain resistant outerwear
  • Blankets
  • Sleeping bags
  • Tents
  • Hothands

If you are unable to drop off donations on December 10th, donation drop offs can be arranged by emailing Hannah Wallace at [email protected] We are also in need of volunteers and financial donations to support both the event and the long term operations of the Sunnyside Shower Project. Details about volunteering and how to contribute a tax-deductible donation to the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association Community Cares Committee to support the Shower Project can be found at https://sunnysideportland.org/donate-snacc.

Getting to Know Your Neighbors

Q&A with Marshall Livingston

You may have seen him sweeping the sidewalk across from the library or helping to collect trash at the Belmont Street Fair. Marshall Livingston, a Sunnyside resident for the past four years, has a wild mane and a helpful, can-do attitude. A regular guest at the Sunnyside Shower Project, he also helped us raise money to fix the broken windows at the Sunnyside Methodist Church by donating half of the proceeds from his colorful tie-dyed T-shirts, which he hand dyes himself. We spoke to Marshall about Sunnyside, what can be done to improve the houselessness crisis, and his idea for a CSA/community garden. 

What do you like about Sunnyside? 

I got involved with Sunnyside because of Pat (Schwiebert). I had someone tell me about her weekly suppers [Schwiebert ran the Hard Times Supper at the Sunnyside United Methodist Church for over 35 years]. I went there and I liked it. It was a much better environment for my wife. Less chaotic; fewer crackheads floating around; less agitated. 

My wife, Laura, was highly social. She wanted to be around people so she could be more accepted. Because of her mental health issues a lot of people shooed her away. She wanted to be involved, but she wasn’t stable enough. Pat’s meals were excellent, healthy meals. She also served lunch during the day.

What do you think could be improved about Sunnyside?  

What couldn’t be improved? The shower project is better than nothing. People with a Neighborhood Watch-like attitude can be hostile. When you play the game of whack-a-mole, the next crew of moles may not be as nice. You don’t want it in your backyard, which means we are in someone else’s backyard. 

What do you think could be done about the houseless crisis? 

There is no one single answer. But, there are multiple opportunities. There needs to be a location that’s feasible—a place where they wouldn’t sweep. That would take out the problem of the sidewalk. That would be a temporary solution. The ultimate goal would be to find reasonable accommodation for the individual. A homeless shelter is similar to a county jail. No one wants to live in that scenario. There’s an increased risk of assault and of illness. You always have someone who thinks they’re your lord.

Most people who are on the streets are either borderline mentally ill or have addiction issues. Other people have addiction issues and get wrapped up in mental health issues. Then you have people like my wife who were born with mental health issues.

The point of having an intake center is to evaluate individuals and figure out what is best suited for them. The point is, you don’t tell them what to do. That creates rebellion. But by listening to them you can figure out the pros and cons—you can guide them. Gentle persuasion. It’s what you do with children. You don’t tell them what to do. You guide them. 

It doesn’t take $17,000 a year per individual. You can take a person from their situation and help improve it. It’s a hand-up, not a hand-out.

So maybe tiny house villages, like what Beacon and WeShine have created? 

They do fit some people, but it’s not a Band-Aid for everyone. 

There’s an assumption amongst housed people that houseless folks don’t want to live in a home.

I don’t have kids. I don’t have a wife no more. (Marshall’s wife died while she was at Unity Center for Behavioral Health in 2019.) I don’t have a need for a home. A house for me would take resources away from those who may need it more. What’s more beneficial to me would be a small one bedroom apartment. What I would be happy doing is to get my vehicle back in condition and travel. But there may come a time in the future when I may need four walls. I could have a stroke. Or a heart attack and survive it. Those are both high probabilities.

You have a lot of entrepreneurial ideas, particularly the community gardening project.

My intent is to take some land—currently public property—and I’d like to build a raised bed garden on it and create a small market. A craft market. Something that could help benefit the area. There could even be a CSA and a small coffee kiosk. It would be staffed by people who are in need of mental health therapy and healthy food. 

In Sunnyside?  

Sunnyside doesn’t really have any public land.

Would you sell the produce?  

Yeah, and what is not sold you would use at a soup kitchen. The object of the garden would be to create revenue, so you can create other opportunities. Anyone who has an interest in gardening could be involved. It doesn’t mean they have to have a green thumb. 

* Soon after we wrapped this interview, Marshall got on the waitlist for the soon-to-open Menlo Park Safe Rest Village in Southeast Portland. If anyone knows of land that might be available for Marshall’s gardening project, contact Hannah at [email protected]