News from the President

Hi neighbors! I hope that you are enjoying your Oregon summer—getting out into nature, scarfing down local produce, and enjoying all the festivals and events that Portland has to offer in the sunny season. Our neighborhood main street festivals are coming up, with the Hawthorne Street Fair ( on Sunday, August 27th and Belmont Street Fair ( on Sunday, September 9th.

The SNA board has been taking time this summer to get ourselves organized. We lost a ton of experience and history this year with three people deciding to leave us: longtime board member (and former president) Matt Lembo, treasurer Vincent Dawans and at-large member Emily McCadden. Thanks to all three for their service to the community! Luckily, several new folks have gotten involved. I’d like to welcome all the new board members and officers: Kendra Hansen (treasurer), Eric Miller (secretary), Andru Morgan, and Mike Thelin. I’m excited to have everyone on board! Please, if you see these folks around Sunnyside stop to say hi, thank them for their involvement, and let them know about issues you’d like the SNA to tackle.

One issue that I hope we can continue to advocate around is pedestrian safety and traffic calming. As many of you know, on July 15th a woman was tragically killed on Cesar Chavez Blvd. near the library. An allegedly drunken driver lost control and flipped their car, striking the woman who was simply waiting for a bus. We all know that the Sunnyside-stretch of Cesar Chavez has some of the narrowest, least protected sidewalks and that drivers frequently drive recklessly through this area. As of this writing, we don’t have many details about this particular crash, but we do know that the road design encourages high-speed driving and that there is very little buffer between the sidewalk and the travel lanes. As with anything around transportation, change will take time and money, but if we start now, maybe we can get a better, safer street.

As always, if you have issues that the SNA can take on, or projects that we can help you with, please reach out. You can contact us at [email protected] or you can reach me directly at [email protected].

Newsletter Delivery Help Needed

Have you ever dreamed of having your own paper route? Join the newsletter delivery team! Each month, about 60 dedicated volunteers deliver the neighborhood news to every household and business in Sunnyside. When a volunteer moves away or gives up their route, we add these blocks to the “Gap Map,” which is printed on the back of each issue, showing where we currently need delivery help. 

It’s a great way to meet your neighbors, get some exercise, and give a little bit back to the community. Most routes cover one or two blocks and take about 20 minutes to deliver. The newsletters will be delivered to your door. If you’re interested, please contact Diana Deumling at [email protected]. 

Thanks to all the volunteers who bring this newsletter to our doorsteps! 

Berry Delicious

It’s berry season. Here in Oregon, we are fortunate to have a wonderful variety of berries and cherries that are available in the summer to enjoy. They not only come in a beautiful array of colors, but they are delicious and incredibly good for you. Both berries and cherries are often referred to as superfoods. Berries are a low-sugar fruit and they are a great source of flavonoids, which are plant chemicals that can help reduce or inhibit inflammation, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer. Anthocyanins, one of the compounds in berries, are a great contributor to the reduction in inflammation. One study showed that blueberries could turn off the expression of inflammatory genes. Another study showed that blueberry powder can increase killer t cells and reduce the stiffness in our arteries. Strawberries have been shown to help with pain in osteoarthritis and another study showed that increasing your intake of berries may reduce the rate of cognitive decline as you age and improve memory. Strawberries may also improve cognition in both adults and children. (For links to these studies, view this article on the SNA website at

Reading those studies definitely has me sold. When I can, I also like to go out with my family and pick the berries myself. (My little nephew loves to come along.) There are some great farms on Sauvie Island. There are a couple of farms that I love to support in the Canby/Hubbard area, including The Schmid Family Farm ( and Morning Shade Farm ( If you pick more than you can eat, you can freeze them and use them all year long. 

Berries can be used in all kinds of fun and tasty ways. Eating them raw is amazing, of course, but they are also great in smoothies, oatmeal, muffins, pies, salads and even soup. I recently made a yummy Raspberry Gazpacho and a Berry Cobbler. I also love making what is often known as Nice Dream, which is a mix of frozen bananas, frozen berries and plant milk blended to resemble a nice soft serve ice cream. Of course, you can add chocolate, nuts or nut butter, or other ingredients. A mix of blueberry, banana, plant milk and mint is super refreshing.

Below are a couple of great recipes using berries.

Get creative and enjoy the beautiful and nutritious berry.

Berry Brain Food Oat Bowl

1 cup rolled oats (can use less)
1 banana
1 cup (or more) of berries (if frozen microwave for 1 minute)
1 Tablespoon of ground flax seed
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch cinnamon
1 cup (or more) of your favorite plant milk
2 Tablespoons of walnuts (optional) 

Throw everything together in a big bowl or container. Let sit for at least 15 minutes so the oats can soften. Enjoy!

Tip 1 – You can cook this like oatmeal, but I like to eat the oats raw. They soften quickly. You can also assemble this the night before and leave it in the fridge.

Tip 2 – Walnuts and flaxseeds are great ways to add omega 3 to your diet. However, if you want to lose weight, skip the walnuts. Flaxseeds also add calories, but they are a great source of fiber and healthy nutrients.

Tip 3 – Berries of all kinds are a healthy brain food. They have amazing plant compounds called anthocyanins that are anti-inflammatory and have great antioxidant effects. And they are super yummy! Whenever possible, eat your berries.

Bursting with Berries Cobbler

A wonderful recipe from the Forks Over Knives website.

Getting to Know Your Neighbors

Q&A with Lydia Kiesling

Writer Lydia Kiesling moved to Sunnyside in September 2019 from the Bay Area with her husband and two young daughters. Her articles have appeared in The Atlantic, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Cut, The New York Times Magazine and many other publications. She’s the author of The Golden State, a 2018 novel about early motherhood, set in a fictional town in northern California with an active secessionist movement. Her new novel, Mobility, debuts on August 1st. 

Mobility begins in 1998 at the American embassy in Azerbaijan. That’s where bored teenager Bunny Glenn endures a summer with her father, who is posted there as a public information officer with the U.S. Foreign Service. Bunny, who reluctantly learns about oil and geopolitics that summer, is modeled after the character of the same name from Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel Oil!, one of Kiesling’s main influences for Mobility. The novel follows Bunny into adulthood; she takes back her full name, Elizabeth, and she ends up in Texas working in the oil and gas industry herself. The book is about one woman’s life and her choices when faced with climate change, her trajectory through the prism of her upbringing, the political currents of the time, her class and even her character. 

Mobility draws on Kiesling’s own experiences as the daughter of a Foreign Service official in the 1990s. No spoilers, but the Sunnyside neighborhood also makes an appearance in the book! 

Where did Bunny emerge from in your imagination? 

Lydia: I think everyone who writes a novel has one central image or idea that they are interested in conveying. Mine started out as thinking about my upbringing, which was in the Foreign Service. Then from there, I just started thinking about the larger systems and currents of that moment and when I was a teenager. As I was researching, it really seemed like oil and gas were the story of the time. It was also this pivotal moment when the Cold War was over and the War on Terror was about to begin. That was also very significant for American ideology and ideas. That really inflected my young adulthood. I wanted to write about that. 

At an early age, Bunny gains this understanding that democracy is actually capitalism. You can see that throughout the book. Was that your understanding as a young person watching the machinations of the Foreign Service?

Lydia: I was completely oblivious. One thing that I find remarkable is that I did have a lot of exposure to complex situations and adult conversations. I waskind of like, ‘I don’t care about any of that stuff.’ I remember it used to m ake my parents crazy because they would be like: ‘This is important, you have to know about these things.’ My dad is no longer in the Foreign Service; he left to protest the Iraq War. He had his own ‘What am I doing?’ moment. When I think back on that time, I’m so grateful for that upbringing and for those experiences. 

It seems to me that you really wanted to write something about climate change, too. So how did you balance that? Not wanting to come off as a polemic, but also giving people a story that is about climate change? 

Lydia: It’s sort of a backdoor entrance to the issue of climate change. What I really wanted to talk about at first was oil, because it is incredibly rich. There is this narrative excitement and glee that feels a little perverse around it. Then I just got completely overwhelmed because it is such a huge story, so I had to scale it back. I was fixated on showing how interconnected and massive the systems around fossil fuels are. That’s why Hurricane Harvey is only told in one sentence in the book, and Bunny is not even there when it happens. It’s something that she knows was awful – it’s just a horrible thing that happens that doesn’t seem to affect your life directly. So that’s how Bunny treats a lot of aspects of climate change.

That’s why I jumped the plot into the future. The book was well underway and then we had the heat dome in Portland, and I was like, ‘Well, here we go.’ The feeling of the heat dome, I definitely pressed into the book toward the end.

What attracted you to Sunnyside?

Lydia: When we knew that we were going to move to Portland, we spent a weekend and looked at a lot of different houses and a lot of different neighborhoods. In Sunnyside, it was pretty clear that a lot of the houses were out of our price range, but there was one house we saw that had been sitting on the market for a really long time and the price kept being reduced, and we couldn’t really understand why. The listing pictures did not do it justice and it needed a fair amount of cosmetic work, which must have turned people off. This was incredibly lucky for us. We are fixing it up slowly. As soon as we saw the neighborhood, we thought this was an ideal place for us to live. When we moved here, we didn’t have a car and we didn’t want to have one. And the fact that you could walk to grocery stores and businesses and preschool…. I still can’t believe that we live here. It feels really special to be able to do that.

Did you start writing Mobility when you moved to Portland?

Lydia: I had written about a quarter to a third before we moved here. It got its second wind after we moved and settled in. In the fall of 2019, I started going to Albina Press on Hawthorne and working on it again and really hit my stride. Then the pandemic happened and I took many long breaks from it. In the high Covid times I didn’t write at all. I have two little kids. So I was dealing with that and I was prioritizing freelance writing projects that were short that I knew I would get paid for. When I’m working on a book and the schools are open and I have childcare, I try to spend two hours before noon. I used to go to coffee shops, but now I go to a workspace and I try to put some time in there. But I know from the process of writing this novel that sometimes you can go six months without working on a project and you just have to come back to it when you can.

Are you a cat or a dog person?

Lydia: I’m the proud owner of two cats: Big Ed and Nadine. They are 14 years old. Big Ed has a lot of health problems. But I love my neighborhood so much because I have several people on my block who now know how to inject a cat with insulin and take care of Big Ed when I go away. I love my supportive cat community.

Hear Kiesling in conversation with fellow Portland writer Omar El Akkad at Powell’s on Burnside on August 1st at 7 p.m.