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

The Sunnyside Neighborhood Association met virtually in May to discuss the upcoming Board elections. The elections will be hosted in-person during June’s SNA meeting on Thursday June 9th from 7 to 7:30 p.m. in the SE Uplift parking lot (3534 SE Main St). Please join us and consider running for one of the five open Board seats. No previous experience is required and existing Board Members will help you navigate this role. It’s a great way to get involved in your community and have a voice. As a Board representing the neighborhood, it’s good to have different perspectives, so if you feel that something is missing from Sunnyside I encourage you to nominate yourself and partake in your local civic service. The role is a two year term and meets monthly. There’s no better way to create transformative impact than on a local level. 

The SNA completed the organization’s Community Agreements and will upload the document to the SNA website for folks to view by the end of June.
This document is an outlined code of conduct for our meetings and is meant to encourage respectful, inspiring, and curious behavior towards one another. The Board applied a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility (DEIA) lens when considering key focal points. The Community Agreements is an evolving document, so if you feel something should be added please join us at the July SNA General Meeting to discuss. 

Emily McCadden, the SNACC Co-Chair, shared the results of the needs
assessment report from the Sunnyside Shower Project (Instagram:
@sunnysideshowerproject) which is hosted at the Sunnyside United Methodist Church (3520 SE Yamhill St). The report provides an ongoing assessment that started in December 2021 and that the SNACC Committee has been actively working on. Some highlights include: individuals who use the program have asked for longer shower times than the allowed 30 minutes, more shower availability during the week, hotter water, and some hygiene resources. 

The Sunnyside Shower Program offers showers Tuesday and Thursdays from 1 – 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 2 – 6 p.m. The program is in need of more volunteers for the Saturday shift. If you would like to sign up for a shower shift please email Hannah Wallace ([email protected]). You’ll be partnered with another volunteer so it’s a great way to meet your neighbors while helping out your community. Double win! 

The SNA continues their gratitude for the May newsletter donations. We greatly appreciate your generosity and goodwill. Please keep the support coming so we can continue to publish our local newsletter. The donation link is on the SNA website for folks who would like to contribute to the newsletter’s expenses ( We also have available advertising spots if you have a business or want to spread the word about something. We’re still plugging along to reach our annual production costs of $6,000. You can follow our fundraising thermometer to see where we’re at with donations. 

June’s meeting will be held in-person on Thursday the 9th at SE Uplift. Meeting details and the agenda will be posted on the SNA website ( on Tuesday the 7th.

Sunnyside Neighborhood Community Cares (SNACC) Committee Updates

The SNACC committee met in-person again this month (although a few members joined virtually, including two new faces). Welcome to the neighborhood Ignacio and Eleanor! We discussed several updates on meetings our members recently attended, including LNA’s IDEA committee meeting and a community listening session about a possible tiny home village coming soon to Laurelhurst that will serve Indigenous houseless folks. We discussed planning a series of community meetings between our volunteers and guests at the Sunnyside Shower Project (SSP), as well as some fundraising plans to repair damage at the Sunnyside Methodist Church. This brought us to a discussion of our strategic vision for our committee’s work and the future of the SSP. 

June’s SNACC meeting will be devoted to a deeper dive into strategic planning, and we intend to host this meeting outside (location TBD) to make attendance more accessible. This will be the beginning of a multi-step process that engages housed and unhoused neighbors to set intentions for how we can bring our collective vision for this committee and the SSP to life.

Getting to Know Others on Your Block / In Your Neighborhood

It’s probably easiest for those who own dogs and can chat/walk/visit with other pet owners on their multiple daily walks. 

And for neighborhood moms and dads as they walk their kids to and from the neighborhood schools. 

Maybe also for friendly types who make a regular effort to smile at their neighbors and stop to chat and listen deeply to the stories others want to share.

It’s a great feeling to walk about and say hello to the new parents on the block, the mail person who is a friend of mine, or to ask a neighbor for the name of the great crafts people who recently completed a fab roofing project or beautiful stone masonry work. 

Or to compliment newish neighbors about their ‘teachable’ garden where kids and parents who walk down the block can stop and point out the thoughtfully labeled flowers, trees and shrubs in their front yards. 

Imagine that. 

A teaching garden that is public and accessible just by walking by. 

Or when you are going out of town, notifying neighbors so they can watch over your home, and maybe ask someone to come and pick up your mail. 

Or maybe organize a block party and really get to know your neighbors. 

Imagine that.

Want some help organizing a block party or some tips on how to do neighborhood outreach?

Email me at [email protected] and let’s get this started. 

Sunnyside Neighborhood Getting to Know Your Neighbors

Q&A with Casey Filice and Becky Straus

Casey Filice and Becky Straus moved to Sunnyside with their son, Forest, during the pandemic and they are so glad they did. Filice, who is a labor organizer for Service Employees International Union (SEIU, one of America’s biggest unions), has fond memories of living in Sunnyside in the ‘90s when she was in her early 20s. Straus, a legal aid lawyer at the Oregon Law Center, was living on Hawthorne and 44th when she met Filice in the early aughts. When I met them recently, their son, Forest, had just made his moms blueberry muffins for Mother’s Day—and I got to enjoy one with a cup of coffee on their front porch. 

How long have you lived in Sunnyside? 

Casey: We bought it in September, 2020. Before that, we’d been in Foster Powell. 

We both rented when we were younger. I’ve lived in 3 of the 4 quadrants, but mostly in Southeast. 

Does your son go to SES? 

Casey: He’s 4, so he’s in preschool. 

Casey, what do you do? 

Casey: I am a labor organizer in the property service division of SEIU Local 49. We mostly represent workers in janitorial, security and airport service industries.  

Becky, tell me a bit about your work. It has something to do with preventing evictions, if I’m not mistaken.  

Becky: I work for the Oregon Law Center, which is a nonprofit law firm. We provide free legal services to low-income people on a range of issues, not just eviction cases. Since the pandemic, I’ve focused exclusively on building out an Eviction Defense Project. Our offices have always done eviction defense cases—but the scale at which we are doing them now is pretty unprecedented. We’ve been able to get federal funds for new grants and money through the state, county and the city. We’ve hired a bunch of new lawyers and we’re trying to do a high volume eviction defense model. It’s a different model than what legal aid has done before. 

Are there other organizations doing this important work?  

Becky: From the standpoint of lawyers and eviction court, we are one of the primary ones. The Metropolitan Public Defender Community Law Program is doing some of that, too. They complement our work. And Portland Community College’s legal clinic just got in the game, too. Their work is a great model because they are utilizing law students to help support their case work, which is a really sustainable way to have these kinds of services. 

How big is your team now?

Becky: We have about 30 staff members on the eviction project alone, and that includes attorneys and paralegals. And, we’re still hiring.

What do you love about Sunnyside? 

Casey: I love the trees in this area. I really love that we can walk and bike to everything.  

Becky: I would add the community, as well. Once we moved here and we met people going to the playgrounds, we found meaningful connection with people really quickly.  

Casey: Houses I used to rent rooms in—the homeowners are still in the neighborhood. I have so many great memories of this area.  I am really happy to be able to raise my son here.

Becky: We really love Navarre (John Taboada’s Spanish restaurant) on 28th and Burnside. When we moved here and realized that we were within a short walking distance, it kind of shook our perspective a little bit. We had a moment of gratitude! There are so many reasons. The winter before last when it snowed and everyone was skiing down Salmon, I was like, ‘Oh yeah: we live on a bike avenue! Of course, this is gonna be the place where people ski…’

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

{Both are silent for a minute or so…seemingly, they can’t think of any critiques.}

Becky: I do feel that there’s a solutions-oriented mindset in Sunnyside. Of course there are the people who are not as engaged and don’t understand the complexity of the issues—they knee jerk to the easiest message. But most people are engaged. When we first moved here and we would go to Sunnyside playground—that was when we first learned of the work of Beacon. [Beacon now has a tiny house village at Bridgeport United Church of Christ in Montavilla.] 

There are people doing active, productive things.

Are you cat people or dog people? 

We have an eight year old dog, Gus. We have had him since he was a puppy and we think he is an Aussie-Shepherd mix, but we are not sure.