News from the President

Hi neighbors and happy summer! I hope you all are getting out and enjoying all that Sunnyside, Portland, and Oregon have to offer during this most wonderful season. The SNA is on a summer recess for general meetings but the newly elected board is getting to know each other; we are organizing ourselves and looking at topics that are important to inform you all about and take action where we can. The Land Use and Transportation Committee is busy working on issues surrounding vacancies and redevelopments in the southeastern section of Sunnyside. Sunnyside Community Care Committee (SNACC) continues to do outreach and aid to our less fortunate Sunnysiders.

While the board works out agendas for upcoming meetings – the next general meeting is on Thursday, September 14th – we want to hear from you! 

  • What should we be addressing? 
  • What do you want to hear about? 
  • What projects do you have brewing where the SNA can help out?

    Please reach out to [email protected] with your ideas, concerns and questions!

We’ll see you soon!

SNACC Update

At our June SNACC meeting, we had a robust discussion about whether or not the Sunnyside Shower Project (SSP) should become a nonprofit in the near future. Hannah had attended an informative talk by nonprofit lawyer David Atkin called “So, You Want to be a Nonprofit?”.  During it, she asked Atkin if any foundations discourage smaller organizations that don’t have nonprofit status from applying. He said foundations are used to having fiscal sponsors, which lend credibility to your project. Later during that talk, Nanci Champlin, Executive Director of Southeast Uplift (SNA’s fiscal sponsor) offered that she wanted to dispel the myth that you have to be on a path to becoming a 501c3. Sometimes, an organization is so small that it doesn’t have the resources to run payroll, submit taxes, and do all the other things a nonprofit needs to do.  

At the SNACC meeting, Josette said that we’re still in our infancy—we’re still figuring out our “Incident Protocols” and other basic policies for how we run the Shower Project. Hannah pointed out that the grants she and Diana are currently applying for—the Collins Foundation and an Oregon Community Foundation grant—are fine with fiscal sponsors. We decided as a group not to pursue nonprofit status for the time being. We are grateful for all SEUL does for us!

Devin Lee suggested we keep a sewing kit at the SSP so we can help guests mend buttons and holes while they wait for their showers. [Another volunteer has already supplied this.] In the coming months, we hope to solidify our Incident Protocols, develop a consistent way of onboarding new volunteers, and launch a digital sign-in process for our guests. We also decided that SNACC will meet every other month. We hope to see you at the next SNACC meeting which will be held on Thursday Aug. 3rd at 6:30pm at SEUL’s conference room. We will start planning our winter clothing drive, so please join if you’re interested in helping out! 

Preventing Prediabetes and Diabetes

Disclaimer: This article is not medical advice. It’s not recommended to make any changes without consulting and being under the watchful guidance of your health care provider. This is especially important if you are diagnosed with a condition and/or on any kind of medication. 

According to the CDC, 415 million people worldwide have diabetes as of 2022 and it is predicted that over half a billion people will have diabetes by 2040. If trends don’t change, one in three adults could have diabetes by 2050.  

Diabetes and its complications cost the U.S. about $327 billion annually. Around 38% of American adults have prediabetes, which is around 96 million people, and about 5-15 percent of those will progress to diabetes per year. Diabetes doubles the risk of heart disease and stroke, and is the leading cause of blindness, end stage renal disease and amputations. It makes up 17 percent of all deaths for adults 25 or older.  

Obesity Is a major risk factor for diabetes. Nearly 70 percent of adults are overweight or obese and around 85 percent of people with diabetes are overweight or obese. Losing weight would significantly lower the risk of diabetes and reduce the social and economical costs. 

Now for the uplifting part: you can prevent type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. 

Often the conversation about diabetes focuses on high blood sugar, which is definitely  important. However, high blood sugar is more of a symptom than a cause. The main cause of diabetes and prediabetes is a condition called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs from an accumulation of excess fat in certain tissues that are not meant to store a lot of fat, specifically the muscle and liver cells. 

An accumulation of fat can clog up the cells and turn off the ability to use insulin. Insulin is what opens up the cells to allow the sugar from the blood to enter. As a result, glucose gets stuck in the bloodstream and one gets high blood sugar and all the problems that go along with it.   

There are a lot of variables to consider that influence one’s blood glucose. Generally speaking, you should avoid refined carbs (white bread, sweets, sugary drinks) and eat a nutrient-dense diet with lots of complex carbohydrates and healthy fats (monounsaturated fats like those found in avocado, fish, nuts, and olive oil and polyunsaturated fats like those found in tofu, nuts, and seeds). Adding some activity in there will also make a huge difference.  

Making a diet or lifestyle change can be powerful—but it’s often hard to do on your own. Fortunately, there is support out there. If you have prediabetes or are at risk for type 2 diabetes, you may qualify for the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), which is covered by both Medicare and Medicaid (as well as some private insurers). The DPP was launched by the CDC after a multi-year study showed that it had great results. A year on the lifestyle program reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. Adults over 60 reduced their risk by 71%. For the study group that took Metformin instead, the risk was decreased by 31%. 

Weight loss was the predominant predictor for the decreased risk in developing type 2 diabetes. For every 2.2 lbs of weight loss, the diabetes risk decreased by 13 percent.  Participants who decreased the most fat intake in the diet showed the greatest decrease in risk for every kilogram of weight loss. There are two major goals for the participants of the program: 

1) If weight needs to be lost, losing 5 to 7 percent of the participants’ weight in the first six months, and 

2) Working in up to 150 minutes or more per week of moderate-intensity exercise. 

Portland has DPP programs and they are often covered by health insurance. Providence’s version, which is excellent, is called PREVENT. OHSU also offers a DPP program. The programs are fun, informative and offer a lot of support.

Getting to Know Your Neighbors

Q&A with Bill Oakley

Bill Oakley has been a professional screenwriter for over 30 years. Most famously, he wrote for The Simpsons with his writing partner Josh Weinstein. The two were set writers for seven years, and eventually showrunners for its seventh and eighth seasons, largely considered to be some of the series’ best years. The duo went on to write for Futurama, then created their own shows with, as Oakley puts it, “various levels of success over the next few years.” Oakley currently resides in Sunnyside and runs a wildly popular social media presence that revolves around niche fast food items. He hosts a tour of his sleeper hit series Mission Hill, screening remastered versions of the show’s single season at theaters across the country.  

How long have you lived in the neighborhood, and what brought you to Portland?

Bill: I’ve lived here for more than 14 years, and I’ve been in this house the whole time. We have friends who live near the Belmont Library. They had moved in the ‘90s and were evangelizing Portland. We visited and agreed it was a great place to raise a family, and it wasn’t so far from L.A. that I couldn’t travel down there. It took almost as long to fly to L.A. as it did to drive to Burbank from Santa Monica, and that became less and less necessary as time went on. I began doing more and more work online as we got closer to the pandemic, and now the work doesn’t even ask you to come to L.A. anymore. The last two shows I worked on didn’t even have office space; it was all online.  

Do you rent or own this house?

Bill: We’ve been renting it for over 14 years. I owned houses for 16 years in L.A. and I didn’t want to ever own a house again after that. 

What do you love about Sunnyside? 

Bill: When we were first considering moving to Portland we went on a driving tour of sorts through every neighborhood. It was the perfect neighborhood! You could walk everywhere. There are restaurants and stores and interesting things going on. It was the polar opposite from L.A., where, from our house, it was a mile walk 

to get anywhere – with no sidewalks. We found a house near Hawthorne, and when it came up for rent we were like, “That’s the house.” 

There have been about four incarnations of this neighborhood since we moved here…. There’s still plenty of interesting things to walk to. I love Sewallcrest Park. I love that I can walk down to Division. I love being able to walk up and down Hawthorne, which I do frequently. I can walk to grocery stores in less than ten minutes. I love going to Zach’s Shack. Quarterworld is terrific. I love Powell’s Books and the Bagdad Theater. There are good food carts, and the best cart pod in easy reach of us now is the Hinterlands on 50th. To sum it up: there’s a great mixture of interesting things and places to eat, all within a short walk. As far as any big American city, it’s relatively safe. 

What is one thing you would change about Sunnyside, if you could?  

Bill: I would add a few more useful things, like the Postal Annex on Hawthorne I go to literally every day. Some of the useful things that used to be here… a place to pick up a quick sandwich to go, or Noah’s Bagels. I’m not saying national chains—one thing I miss was the Dollar Scholar. I could send the kids over with a few dollars to buy balloons or sodas. It encapsulated the quirkiness of the neighborhood. Missing Link was another place; I would really love to have another store like that. If I could push a button and have one thing, it would be to have Bodega PDX open a spot on Hawthorne. I love the sandwiches and you can pick up whatever you need.

Final question: Are you more of a cat person or a dog person?

Bill: I have four cats. It doesn’t mean I don’t love dogs, I just don’t want to have to walk a dog. The cats are great pets, but while they don’t have quite the same enthusiasm for people as dogs do, they’re fun and have unique personalities. And, you don’t have to walk them. The cats are named Piper Po, Mochi, Scooter, and Kitty Bennet. These are not all my cats, but they all live here, and they’re each bonded to their particular human. I inherited Kitty Bennett, who is now attached to me. 

Follow Bill Oakley on Instagram & Twitter (@thatbilloakley) or Facebook to see his reels on the Heinz Remix Machine, Lay’s Mayonnaise flavored chips, and updates on Mission Hill screenings.