News from the President

Happy Spring, neighbors! Flowers blooming, some sun high in the sky and longer days welcoming us all outside into the neighborhood. Count me as a YAY!

Our March meeting featured an interesting presentation from the Metro Climate Action Team about their efforts to turn Portlanders towards more sustainable methods of cooking our food, and heating our homes and water. We learned about the benefits of installing heat pumps and induction cooktops – such as greatly improved in-home air quality, the potential for reduced utility bills and knowing that we are doing our part to reach our community’s climate goals. The federal government, through the Inflation Reduction Act, is offering tax credits and rebates for the purchase of heat pumps, energy efficient windows and induction stoves. Efforts are also proceeding to ensure that all new construction doesn’t utilize gas hookups. There’s going to be a lot of new construction in and around Portland over the next decade, and I’m hoping that we can use this opportunity to improve the environment rather than locking in new neighbors to dirty, unhealthy energy. To learn more about the Metro Climate Action Team visit The IRS has an FAQ page up about the available credits and rebates at

The April board meeting will be a busy one! We will be discussing the new committee charter that the Land Use and Transportation Committee has been working on as well as planning our May elections. With that in mind, I am taking this space to officially announce that our elections will be held at our May 11th meeting at 7 p.m. You will be able to participate in-person or on-line, but you must be at the meeting to vote! We have four board seats on the ballot this year and officers will be elected by the board over the summer. If you are interested in learning more about being a member of the SNA board or any of the officer positions, please reach out to us at [email protected]. Any of us would be happy to discuss the roles and our experiences working for the community.

If we don’t see you in April, then I look forward to seeing many of you in May and around the neighborhood in between! If you have anything that you would like the SNA to tackle, please reach out to us at any time.

Annual Meeting and Board Elections May 11th

We hope you will join us for our annual election and consider running for one of our open Board positions on May 11th, 7 p.m. at SE Uplift (3534 SE Main Street). No experience is required, and our fun and friendly Board will help you figure things out as you learn on the job. It’s a great way to get involved in your community and amplify our voice to other community groups, and local governments.

Anyone who lives in the Sunnyside neighborhood (our boundaries are 28th, 49th, Hawthorne and Stark) is eligible to run. This year we are looking to fill one- and two- year terms. Meetings are on the second Thursday of each month. Commitments vary depending on your interests and passions.

Serving on the neighborhood association board can be rewarding and very educational. You will be among the first to know when things are changing in the neighborhood and get to meet and work with all kinds of other committed neighbors and community advocates. If you would like to send in a brief candidate’s statement to post to our website and be made available at the election, please email us at [email protected].

Sunnyside Neighborhood Community Cares Updates

Instead of our SNACC meeting this month, a few of us from the Sunnyside Shower Project participated in a lively policy conversation on houselessness and public safety sponsored by Portland Forward, an intergenerational organization that envisions a Portland that works for all. Leaders from Street Roots, H4All, and other organizations were present, as were the D.A., a former mayoral candidate, and several singers (one of whom has a singing telegram company). We came up with some big ideas that included increasing pay for social workers, ending the commodification of housing stock, and using Neighborhood Associations as a way to build community amongst unhoused and housed neighbors. Our next SNACC meeting will be on April 20th at 6:30 p.m.

Get to Know Your Neighbors – Ben Wyatt, Multnomah STEP Court Program Coordinator

Q&A with Ben Wyatt

Born in San Diego, Ben Wyatt grew up mostly in Salem and Jefferson, Oregon, before relocating to Dallas, Texas, at the age of 12. He returned to Oregon in his late 20s to be closer to his extended family after the tragic death of his mother and uncle in a plane crash. In 2020, he, his wife Petrina, and their then 11-year old son moved to a house in Sunnyside, where they’re happy to be setting down roots. Ben even joined the board of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association in 2021, where he is serving as Secretary. Trained as a mental health and substance use disorder therapist, he is now the Program Coordinator for Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s new STEP Court, which helps people convicted of a crime access behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment instead of receiving a lengthy prison sentence. 

How long have you been in Sunnyside and what brought you here?

Ben: My wife, son and I moved to Sunnyside in the summer of 2020, right at the height of the pandemic, from the Buckman neighborhood. We had a little condo and with two dogs, a cat and the three of us it just seemed little much for 700 square feet.

You moved to Dallas, Texas when you were 12. Dallas strikes me as stereotypically opposite from Portland. Would you say that’s true?

Ben: When I moved to Portland it was during the George W. Bush presidency and there was a lot of political tension. In Portland, whenever I told people I was from Dallas, they didn’t really talk to me. It was kind of hard to make friends at first. I was working at REI in Dallas—which is about the most liberal place you can work there. Then I transferred to an REI out here and people would find out I came from Dallas and they would … um …

They would judge you.

Ben: Yeah, they would judge me.

How did that manifest?

Ben: Here in Portland we recycle. In Dallas there wasn’t as big a focus on it. One time when I was working in an REI bike shop in Portland, I came back from lunch to see that my co-worker had all my garbage from lunch strewn out on the counter where he worked on bikes and he goes, “I know your mother just died, but that’s no excuse for not recycling.”

Wow … That is some Portlandia stuff right there.

Ben: I know, I was like, “Welcome to Portland.” 

Continue reading our Q&A with Ben Wyatt

Critic’s Corner: Pizza Picks

My favorite pizza place is Straight from New York on Hawthorne. I like it because they make very thin slices and they make them very big. Pepperoni is my favorite. My second favorite is Ranch Pizza. They have all the favorite toppings that I normally like, like pepperoni. I like the square shape and the crust is sooo good. My third favorite is the pizza from my school – Glencoe. On Thursdays, the lunch menu is pizza and I like it because it is greasy and has pepperoni.

Straight from New York, 3701 SE Hawthorne and 3330 SE Belmont.
Happy Hour slice is $3.25

Ranch Pizza, 2239 SE 11th Ave.
They also have fancier pies like the #4: aged mozzarella, red sauce, sausage, ricotta, with calabrian chilies, pecorino, and basil. 

Please submit ideas for Critics Corner to Hannah at [email protected]