Last Month’s News. This Month’s Plans.

We kicked off the first SNA meeting of 2022 welcoming new members and taking time to get to know one another by sharing what we’re looking forward to in the year ahead. There was a good amount of optimism for better days ahead in regards to dealing with Covid and folks wanting to get more involved within the neighborhood. 

We currently have two open positions: Land Use & Transportation Committee Chair, and Newsletter Communications & Advertising Lead. If you would like to learn more about these positions and how you can get involved, please email [email protected] for further details. 

The group then brainstormed fundraising strategies to generate incoming revenue to sustain the neighborhood newsletter. In the past, a large portion of funding was provided by a communications grant from SE Uplift. As the community needs have shifted to reflect appropriate equity, assistance grant funds have scaled back. We need to generate $5,000 yearly to continue publishing our monthly newsletters. This publication reaches nearly 3,000 households and 8,000 people in the Sunnyside neighborhood. We are adding a donation link to the SNA website ( for folks to make personal contributions. We are also planning an outreach advertising campaign to local businesses within the Belmont and Hawthorne districts and establishing package rates to advertisers for an extended amount of time. If you would like to get involved or have fundraising ideas, please reach out to the SNA at [email protected]. We look forward to your support. 

The SNA hosted Josh Rolls, from Portland’s Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Pedestrian Advisory Committee, to speak on behalf of reinstating the traffic calming program. While the group did not support the proposal for residents to self-fund speed bumps, the SNA did support the idea of alternative traffic calming solutions that are more cost-efficient and provide a call to action for safety. Ideas proposed were to paint traffic control signage around crosswalks, stop signs, and schools as well as to install planters and trim back landscape overgrowth near stop signs to help create clearer visibility. The SNA encourages continued conversation with the PBOT Pedestrian Advisory Committee with hopes that we can still participate in welcoming back this necessary program for public safety. 

We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming February meeting on Thursday the 10th. The general meeting will be dedicated to learning what our neighborhood would like to see more support towards. The SNA Board is curious about how we can build a stronger community for local residents, business owners, and members of local worship. Meeting details and the agenda will be posted on the SNA website ( on Tuesday the 8th. The General meeting is held 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. with the Board meeting to follow directly after from 8:00- 9:00 pm. We encourage you to participate in local civic service and join us in making Sunnyside and Southeast Portland a thriving community.

The Four Phases of Emergency Management

In the e-prep world, where I live a lot, these phases are ones that I am familiar with. It’s safe to say that in today’s world, all of these phases are happening somewhere around the globe. For the past four or five years I have been focusing on mitigation and preparedness in my role as a Sunnyside Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) member.

Mitigation – Preventing future emergencies or minimizing their effects

Includes any activities that prevent an emergency, reduce the chance of an emergency happening, or reduce the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies. Buying flood and fire insurance for your home is a mitigation activity. Mitigation activities take place before and after emergencies.

Preparedness – Preparing to handle an emergency

Includes plans or preparations made to save lives and to help response and rescue operations. Evacuation plans and stocking food and water are both examples of preparedness. Preparedness activities take place before an emergency occurs.

Response – Responding safely to an emergency

Includes actions taken to save lives and prevent further property damage in an emergency situation. Response is putting your preparedness plans into action. Seeking shelter from a tornado or turning off gas valves in an earthquake are both response activities. Response activities take place during an emergency.

Recovery – Recovering from an emergency

Includes actions taken to return to a normal or an even safer situation following an emergency. Recovery includes getting financial assistance to help pay for the repairs. Recovery activities take place after an emergency.

Early on, I went door to door with my neighbor Karen and her girls passing out materials to help neighbors get, and be, prepared. With the help of some neighbors on SE Taylor and Yamhill, I created a neighborhood list for those willing to share their phone numbers and email addresses. Sometimes I put on my NET vest and pick up garbage on SE Taylor, especially the day after garbage, recycling and compost have been picked up. I periodically check the storm drains for clogged leaves on the northeast and southeast corners of Cesar Chavez and report the need for them to be cleared, if necessary.

It’s important to mention that I am not the only one doing work to keep our neighborhood safe. Others are cleaning up around Walgreens and reporting stolen cars and keeping their sidewalks and stairs clear for pedestrians, bikers, and essential workers who deliver food and other essential items to our front doors.

It takes all of us to be active members of our community and keep each other safe. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Step up, step up, step up.

Thank you.

Questions? Comments? Need support in getting prepared? I have the time and the resources to support you. Email me: [email protected]

Sunnyside Neighborhood Community Cares (SNACC) Committee Updates

The SNACC committee discussed high level findings from the December 2021 Needs Assessment survey done at the Sunnyside Showers. The team will be conducting interviews with some participants and wrapping up analysis of results over the next few weeks. Then we will share the results with participants and committee members and discuss how to implement feedback. We also discussed the ongoing trash removal services at various high-need areas in the community. A weekly trash removal will occur at SE 36th and Hawthorne on Mondays at 11 a.m. Finally, we began logistical planning for regular outreach to our houseless neighbors. The intention of this outreach effort is to build and strengthen relationships between housed and houseless folks in Sunnyside and connect houseless folks to resources when possible. Those present and able to volunteer divided up the neighborhood and will begin monthly walk-arounds in February. We will continue planning for supplies that volunteers can bring as well as training that volunteers might need in order to meet the needs of the community.

We encourage anyone who is interested in these efforts to attend our next SNACC meeting on Thursday, February 18th at 6:30 p.m. Meeting details will be posted on the SNA website Monday, February 14th.

Sunnyside Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Committee Update

While the DEIA committee work has proved valuable to start important conversations, we feel this work should be incorporated into the core of the SNA organization. We want to grow as a community and apply best practices to ensure everyone feels they have space and access to contribute towards the organization. Therefore, we are disbanding the DEIA.

One of the first initiatives we’ll look to build as a group is a Culture Statement for the Sunnyside neighborhood. While we understand the DEIA work is a continual process, the group wants to ensure this is a collective commitment by our neighborhood. If you have ideas on how to incorporate DEIA practices into the General meetings please reach out to [email protected] to start the conversation.

Getting to Know Your Neighbors

If not for a chance encounter at a mutual friend’s birthday party 30 years ago, Hani and Hoda Khouri may have never met. This would’ve been a serious bummer for the rest of us. For if they hadn’t met, the Sunnyside neighborhood wouldn’t have been home for the past 23 years to what is quite possibly the best Lebanese restaurant in the country.

Located at SE 34th and Belmont, Hoda’s Middle Eastern Cuisine & Catering builds on a rich and storied family tradition of delicious food and warm hospitality.

Hoda, co-owner and culinary master, is a second-generation Portland restaurateur who grew up in Beirut on the highest quality Lebanese cuisine. After immigrating to the U.S. in 1984 she attended Portland State while her parents opened the now-legendary Nicholas Restaurant which still operates two locations. Hani, also from Lebanon, came to Portland around the same time and also attended Portland State.

Nicholas ultimately passed his family business on to one of his other daughters to run. Lucky for us Sunnysiders, this freed up Hoda and Hani to create Hoda’s Middle Eastern Cuisine, which they opened in 1999. Hoda’s received Rising Star recognition from the Oregonian in 2000. Since then, Hoda’s Middle Eastern Cuisine has been featured in Sunset Magazine, Plate, and Willamette Week.

When you visit, start with the grilled halloumi spinach salad with pine nuts and the Sambousek—three crescent-shaped pies stuffed with seasoned grass-fed beef, onions and toasted almonds with feta. The Vegetarian Mezza—tabouleh, hummus, falafel, spinach pie, baba ghanouj and zaatar—makes a fantastic entrée. You will not be disappointed.  

Hani and Hoda also own and operate Cape Horn Estate, a stunning wedding and event venue in the Columbia Gorge (

What did you first think when you saw Hoda 30 years ago at your friend’s birthday party?

Hani: I thought, I’m interested in this young lady so I asked one of her friends for her number. I called soon after.

Well, that worked out! When you landed in Portland to attend PSU, what did you think of the town?

Hani: When I got here in 1984, I was studying marketing and management and lived on the PSU campus. My first impression of Portland? It was nice. It was a smaller and cleaner town. I thought that the people were nice.

What did you think of the food scene at that time?

Hani: Back then, there weren’t many options, but there were a lot of Chinese food restaurants.

Why did you two start Hoda’s?

Hani: We always wanted to do something on our own. In 1999 we were driving up Belmont Street and saw the “For Lease” sign. It was meant to be. 

I also started and helped run my family’s small business. It’s often torture. What keeps you going when things are tough? What keeps you from quitting?

Hani: We’re blessed to have good staff, and it’s survival mode for us. If you quit, you are admitting that you lost. I’m not being philosophical about this.

What do you like about the Sunnyside neighborhood?

Hani: It’s a great area. It’s probably one of the few neighborhoods left in Portland. We have customers that have been coming here for 23 years—since we opened. Our family lives in Happy Valley. We can’t afford this area.

What’s a fun fact about you and Hoda?

Hani: Well, she’s the more serious type—I don’t think that is necessarily fun. I’m serious, but not that serious. I really like to have fun. Another fun fact, when someone visits Hoda’s, they’ll pretty much always be able to see one of us two owners at the restaurant. So you can nearly always visit with the owner when you come in.

* Go support Hoda’s restaurant by getting a meal or by ordering catering from them! Hoda’s is located at 3401 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214