Getting to Know Your Neighbors

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. 

Introducing Adopt One Block to the Sunnyside Neighborhood

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 dawansv@gmail.com

SOLVE Clean up on SE Hawthorne

After a successful clean up along Belmont in January, Sunnyside residents joined volunteers from Richmond and other nearby neighborhoods to give Hawthorne a good cleanup on March 13, 2021.  The event was hosted by Vincent Dawans, SNA Cleanup Coordinator in collaboration with Richmond resident Beth Nesser from Inner South East Action.

The 34 volunteers were divided in teams of 4 to 7 assigned to 6 different sections along both sides of Hawthorne from SE 28th to SE 49th. State Representative Rob Nosse was among the volunteers. Together we filled a entire pickup truck worth of bags that were dumped in a nearby construction dumpster in which space was donated by Richmond resident Dan Beard of Beard’s Restoration & Remodeling (www.beardsrestoration.com) 

As of publication date, a follow-up maintenance cleanup is planned along the same route on May 2, 2021. If you are interested in volunteering in future cleanup efforts, please contact Vincent Dawans, SNA Cleanup Coordinator at dawansv@gmail.com

Are you interested in Oregon’s legislative process?

To learn more about the work of the Oregon legislature, visit
www.oregonlegislature.gov. These are direct links to the representatives whose districts cover the Sunnyside neighborhood:

Senator Kathleen Taylor (District 21)
http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/taylor

Representative Rob Nosse (District 42)
https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/nosse

Getting to Know Your Neighbors

Q&A with Mark Usher

When did you settle in Sunnyside?
Last April.

Why did you choose Sunnyside over another part of the city?
I seen the gathered people—the homeless area—and so I blended in. Tried to! I first went to Laurelhurst and then we got swept. We were forced to move down here.

What led you to become homeless? (If you don’t mind talking about it.)
I had transferred from the Newberg Fred Meyer store to the Clackamas store because my buddy Adrian was running the meat market there. But before I started, he went to selling insurance, because he could make more money. I had a heck of a time getting on back there in any departments.

So because you didn’t have a job you weren’t able to pay your rent.
Right, exactly.

You went up to Sandy yesterday to visit your daughter. How did that go?
I knocked a couple trees down for the doctor I work for, at his house on Mount Hood. (He also has a place on Burnside.) He was afraid they were gonna drop on his house. While I was up on the mountain, I seen my daughter. Then, I dropped by to ask him, I was like, “When you want me to do them?” and he said, “Right now’s a good time!” I said, “Oh no!” I said to him, “I’m not gonna buck ‘em and limb ‘em, I’m just gonna drop them.” He can go out there anytime with a chainsaw and do the rest. I had to catch my bus back to Portland.

I don’t know all this lingo. Can you explain?
I used to work for Brandon Logging in Sandy—I ran the landing. That’s when log trucks park and they load the logs on the truck. You “limb it,” which means you cut the limbs off. Then you “buck it”—cut it into sections.

You do other work for this doctor, right? You’ve mentioned he also has a place on Burnside.
He has properties all over the place and I go in and put new fixtures in: sinks, toilets and stuff like that. He rents them out. Sometimes we’ll remodel the whole thing—we’ll do everything from the hardwood floors to painting. He was my neighbor up on the mountain for about ten years. He helps me out a lot. I can go charge my phone at his place. I house sit for him when he takes off for Texas or Indiana to visit his kids.

What do you like most about Sunnyside?
It’s quiet down here. Probably having the church here helps keep it quiet. And it seems like the people are nicer here! (Laughs.)

What’s one thing you would change about Sunnyside, if you could?
They got an outhouse right there. That’s nice of them. But they don’t put enough of them. For 15 people, that’s good. But for 30 people—one outhouse gets trashed. That would be an improvement. And keep up the good work on the Neighborhood Association!

Can you explain to housed neighbors what it’s like to be houseless?
The uncertainty on where do you go? Anywhere you go, they don’t want you there, which I can see. If you have a nice home at Laurelhurst, you don’t want to be up in the morning looking at your window to see that. But we don’t camp across from their houses now. But still, it’s a burden. People come down there and go, “Look at that. It’s messy!” I don’t know what could make people change their minds on having people camping across from them.

How long have you been on the list waiting for affordable housing?
Over a year. I don’t mind them giving whatever comes available to women and children first. We just need a place to go where we know our stuff will be there when we’re back from work, you know?