Neighbors and Transit Riders Work to Get Fred Meyer’s Hawthorne Pedestrian Entrance Re-opened

The Fred Meyer grocery has been an anchor on our vibrant Hawthorne Boulevard for over 70 years with a main entrance opening onto the street. But in the last 6 months the Fred Meyer Hawthorne grocery, owned by Kroger, has closed or restricted the use of its only entrance onto Hawthorne Boulevard.

As a “Transit Street Main Entrance”, these doors are required to be open onto the sidewalk (for entry and exiting) by Portland’s Zoning Code to “promote walking and the use of transit.”  The closure is burdensome for all users, but is especially inequitable and concerning for seniors and disabled people. The only entrance is now on the opposite side of the building–through the parking lot. In addition, this closed entrance has created a “zombie block” which significantly reduces foot traffic and has a negative effect on the vitality of the Hawthorne shopping district.

The city has notified Fred Meyer that this closure is a violation of city code and started fining them $700 a month since May. After the notice of violation, Fred Meyer submitted an application to permanently close the Hawthorne pedestrian entrance.

Inner Southeast Action (ISEA), a local community group focusing on land use, transportation, climate and equity, along with Oregon Walks, a state-wide pedestrian safety group, met with Fred Meyer local and corporate management about alternative solutions. One suggestion was to post a security guard at the entrance, but Fred Meyer insisted closure is necessary to stop theft and for “safety concerns”.  It is interesting to note that both the New Seasons and Safeway grocery stores have managed to keep multiple entrances open onto the Hawthorne sidewalk.

ISEA and Oregon Walks have launched an awareness and advocacy effort to persuade the city to deny Fred Meyer’s application to permanently close the pedestrian entrance and to persuade Fred Meyer to fully re-open this entrance. The groups have launched a petition to get the doors reopened. The petition has over 425 signers so far, and will be sent to the Mayor, Commissioner Ryan and the Director of Bureau of Development Services. You can add your name to it here: https://bit.ly/3CWjH2N

The Sunnyside Neighborhood Association will discuss the situation and a possible neighborhood response at their next meeting on October 14th.

Emergency Preparedness and the SNA Board Meeting

Emergency Preparedness for all Sunnysiders?    ?

Is there a ‘one size fits all’ for emergency preparedness? No, there is not. However, the advice remains the same–getting prepared is much much better than doing nothing and hoping that an earthquake won’t happen anytime soon. Hmmm….

There are multiple ways to make preparedness more appealing. In my mind, it is the ways that each of us can help to build neighborhood resilience
and a sense of place in Sunnyside that will result in all of us getting to
know each other better. And to help each other get ready…

Questions, comments? Weigh in please via email to jan@sunnysideprepared.com and thank you.

SNA September Notes and October Plans

Board Member Officer Positions Established,  Inner Southeast Action, and Community Engagement

On September 9th, the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association held its first meeting with newly elected board members. The board appointed new officer roles which you can see updated on the last page of the newsletter. The board appointed Emily McCadden and Chris Waldman to fill the vacant board seats. The board reviewed some operational workflow processes and held conversations on the organization’s endorsement process. The SNA will pick up on endorsement protocols for October’s meeting. During the General Meeting we had Doug Klotz from Inner Southeast Action! present information about their petition to Save the Fred Meyer Hawthorne Pedestrian Entrance! (Read more about this in a separate article in this newsletter.) The SNA is inviting Doug and the Inner Southeast Action! team back to the October meeting for further conversation and to answer any questions the Sunnyside community may have. We ended the General meeting with an open forum – speaking with attendees on efforts they would like to see the SNA work towards in the coming months. Topics mentioned included hosting more community events to connect on a local level with other neighbors and coordinating a neighborhood clean-up like we’ve held in past years. The SNA will reach out to the Richmond Neighborhood Association to see if they’d like to partner with us.

We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming October meeting on Thursday the 14th. Meeting details and the agenda will be posted on the SNA website (sunnysideportland.org) on Monday the 11th. The Board meeting is from 7:00-8:00 p.m. and is open to the public. The General Meeting follows directly from 8:00-9:00pm. We encourage you to join us.

Getting to Know Your Neighbors

Q&A with Amy Jones and Roger Robinson

Something unusual and delightful began popping up around the Sunnyside neighborhood as winter set in last year.

As COVID-19 continued its spread I began seeing a new contagion, one marked by joy and vibrant colors, spreading from tree to tree. On our evening walks, my partner and I began seeing it take hold on new streets. At first, we thought only trees were harbingers of it. And then we saw that the neighborhood Little Free Library was also susceptible.

Yarn bombing isn’t new but it is to our neighborhood. And it’s been a welcome surprise of color and joy during what’s been a monumentally challenging moment for Portland and our nation. This type of street art is referred to by many names: yarn or wool bombing, guerrilla knitting, urban knitting, and kniffiti. Whatever you chose to call it, it employs colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fibre rather than paint or chalk.

We became enamored with these mystery yarn artists. So I began asking around until one day I found out who they were.

Spoiler alert: The yarn bomber was not Banksy. It was—and is—Amy Jones and Roger Robinson, neighbors of ours from down the street.

When did you begin the yarn bombing project, how did it start, what keeps you going, and what do you love about it most?

Roger Robinson: We began in October 2020. Amy mentioned to me that she didn’t know what to do with the knit squares she makes to keep her hands busy, which reminded me of an example of knit bombing I had seen in Cincinnati, Ohio a few years ago. I asked her to give some squares to me and said I’d show her how we could use them.

So knit bombing came to Sunnyside! She continues to knit them and I sew them together and we bomb them together. I enjoy seeing the excitement on the children’s faces when they see the bombs, and especially when they hug them.

Amy Jones: I keep doing it because I like to knit and to see my work enjoyed by others.

How long have you two lived in Sunnyside?

Amy: 22 years

Roger: 3 years

What’s your background?

Amy: I was a Head Start teacher in Pittsburgh and Portland. I was born in Bronxville, NY. I love to read, and earlier in life I loved bicycling and hiking.

Roger: My longest career has been as an architect. I’ve also been a database designer and business partner. I enjoy playing piano and painting, and I was born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

What was the hardest part of the pandemic for you?

Amy: Not being able to work with the kids at Glencoe Elementary School and not being able to travel.

Roger: Separation from friends and family.

What’s one thing you would like to see change about Sunnyside?

Roger: Eliminate the 100+ degree days.

Amy: I’m pretty pleased with Sunnyside.

What’s a fun fact about each of you?

Roger: I hitchhiked across the country when I was a teenager.

Amy: When my daughter Anne, also a Sunnysider, was 8 years old, she was bitten by Norman Rockwell’s dog.

Survey Results: New public trash cans coming to Sunnyside and SE Portland

In Fall 2021, the City will be adding 182 new public trash cans throughout Southeast Portland. The city has been actively seeking feedback from people who live or work in Southeast Portland on where the new cans should (or shouldn’t) be located.

The Sunnyside Neighborhood Association conducted its own survey from May to July 2021. We collected feedback from 63 residents covering 31 intersections. The intersection with the most votes is SE Belmont St and SE 34th Ave with 10 votes. Second is SE Taylor St and SE Chavez Blvd with 5 votes. Detailed survey results are available on sunnysideportland.org under the Feedback section in the sidebar.