News From The President

Greeting Sunnyside! Another year has passed and that means we had an election at the SNA. We had an excellent turnout at our May meeting for the elections and elected three new and one returning board member for two-year terms. Congratulations to our current VP Hannah Wallace and our new board members  Daniel Mandel, Kendra Hansen, and Mike Thelin. Welcome to the board! We are excited to have your energy and ideas in service to the community. If you see them in the neighborhood, please share your ideas for the association with Daniel, Kendra, and Mike and thank them for stepping up to the challenge.

One of the things we did at the May meeting was to review some of the actions the SNA has taken this year–our ongoing projects and the discussions we highlighted for our community. These included:

• Holding an informative debate about the charter amendment that Portland passed last year;

• Learning about the environmental and health effects of gas-powered leaf
blowers and yard tools, and their alternatives;

• Relaunching our Land Use & Transportation committee with a new
charter that puts the needs of renters, who make up most Sunnyside residents, in the foreground;

• Bringing services to our neighbors living on the streets with the continued efforts of the Sunnyside Shower Project and the SNACC committee;

• Saving the cute painted planting barrels that were part of the Sunnyside Piazza, but were deemed a nuisance by PBOT, and moving them to the Sunnyside Environment School where children can use them for gardening projects.

• Bringing this newsletter every month to the entire neighborhood to help keep you informed.

The new board will be seated at our June board meeting which will mostly focus on organizing ourselves for the coming year. If you’d like to bring anything to our attention for action, please don’t hesitate to reach out to [email protected]. Please, also let us know if you have a community event you’d like to highlight on either our calendar or Facebook page.

Stay cool out there Sunnyside!

You Can Help Oregon’s Foster Care Crisis

On any given day, there are about 6,000 children in Oregon’s foster care system. Many of these children come from situations of abuse and neglect only to find themselves facing uncertainty and instability once they enter foster care.  

Boys & Girls Aid, a nonprofit founded in Portland in 1885, wants to change that. We are looking for compassionate people to help improve the lives of children in foster care.  

A good foster home is often the first place a child in foster care has felt safe in a long time. Foster parents help children build trust in adults and provide a supportive environment where they can thrive.  

Boys & Girls Aid supports foster parents with responsive program staff available 24/7, ongoing free professional training, and generous monthly, tax-free stipends ranging from $1,200 to $3,500 per month. There are options to fit every family, from full-time placement to relief care a few days a month. 

Fostering children might bring life changes and challenges, but it’s a great opportunity to make a  difference in a child’s life — and in your own life, too. 

“It’s worth it to get to know these kids,” said experienced foster parents Jen and Chad. “It has enriched our lives a lot.” 

To learn more, visit our website: or contact Hallie Campbell at 503-544-7003 or [email protected].

SNACC Update

Starting in June, we’ll be moving our SNACC meeting to the first Thursday of the month. Rather than one committee chair, we now have two co-chairs: Josette Hodge and me. Josette has been working with the Sunnyside Shower Project since the summer of 2021 and is an integral part of the leadership team. Having lived on the streets herself, she is an invaluable source of wisdom and also knows when (and how) to set boundaries. Josette is a Certified Recovery Mentor and has helped us connect with Oxford House (where she used to work) to get Narcan training for our volunteers and furniture for some of our recently housed guests. 

At our June 1st meeting we will discuss the pros and cons of incorporating as a nonprofit and the latest grants that we are applying for, in the hopes that we can more permanently staff the Sunnyside Shower Project. Anyone who knows of a good grant for the SSP, please email Hannah at [email protected]. 

Let’s Get Moving

Spring is here and it’s a great time to get moving and head outdoors. Having good cardiovascular health and being fit and strong are two of the main pillars of good health. In fact, lack of physical activity is now considered the fourth global cause of death just after high blood pressure, smoking and high blood sugar. A recent study from Kaiser Permanente’s Family Foundation has found that today’s youth spends an average of seven-and-a-half hours of screen time a day and only seven minutes outside moving. In a study published in JAMA Network Open, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found that not exercising may be worse for your health than smoking. 

If that doesn’t persuade you, exercise also has amazing health benefits. Number one is brain health. Two of my favorite brain and Alzheimer doctors, Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, authors of The Alzheimer’s Solution, argue that exercise is even more important for brain health than heart health. It is amazing for learning, memory, focus, anxiety and mood. It does this by greatly increasing blood flow to the brain and increasing endorphins and neurotransmitters such as dopamine. It is also fantastic for the immune system. Even just 10 minutes of movement can increase infection-fighting immune cells by up to 50%. Weight bearing exercise is awesome for bone health and keeping our muscles strong, specifically leg and core muscles, which helps prevent falls as we age.  

Exercise can also increase energy. Think of the law of physics. An object in motion stays in motion and an object at rest stays at rest. If you are feeling exhausted and unmotivated, just get up and try a little movement for five minutes, a walk around the block or do a few stretches. See if you can get that object (yourself) in motion.  

 It’s important to find the exercise that works for you and that brings you joy.  Walking is great. As I write this, spring and its beauty are bursting forth—trees are blooming, daffodils, trilliums and tulips are blossoming. I love smelling jasmine trees and hearing the songbirds on my walks with the dog.    

Maybe for you, it’s grabbing a friend and going for a hike in Forest Park or hopping on a bike to take the Laurelhurst Park loop or the Springwater Corridor. Find what works for you. So put that screen down, boost your energy (and your mood), and let’s get moving! 

Sunnyside Neighborhood: Getting to Know Your Neighbors

Q&A with Sam Rosenthal

Sam Rosenthal is musician and label producer — his band Black Tape for a Blue Girl has been producing its signature ethereal darkwave and goth rock sound since 1986, and his associated record label Projekt Records turns 40 this year. The label has produced over 300 releases, and Rosenthal himself continues to produce his own music year after year. 2023 also marks 10 years of Rosenthal living in Portland after spending most of his life in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Brooklyn—almost all of his time in Portland has been in the Sunnyside neighborhood, just off of Hawthorne Boulevard. 

How long have you lived in Sunnyside? 

Sam: I’ll have lived in Portland for 10 years at the end of July. Brooklyn, NY was the last place I lived. When I moved to Portland, I moved into a month-to-month apartment downtown. I moved myself and my business, so there was a lot to move. I was fortunate enough to buy a house when things were still “reasonable,” especially compared to Brooklyn at the time. 

What was the draw? Why did you settle on Portland?

Sam: The number one thing was to move out of Brooklyn. I was on tour and had friends in Portland who suggested moving here. It’s a very small town compared to Brooklyn or L.A., but it’s got the cool parts of Brooklyn. 

Do you think you’re going to stay in Portland for the foreseeable future?

Sam: My partner lives here; I’m staying here. I really like living in—for lack of a better term—“blue bubbles” and Portland is a nice one. People were moving to Austin or Portland ten years ago but I never thought of living in a “red state” for any reason. Portland feels like a really good spot to be. 

What do you love about Sunnyside? Do you normally stay in the neighborhood or do you venture out much? 

Sam: When I was living in Brooklyn, my son was in elementary school. Each day I would walk, pick him up and walk back home…. It was a very small neighborhood. I love that [Sunnyside] is a walkable neighborhood…. You really don’t have to drive that much here. Bars, food, and whatever convenience you need is right around here. I work from home, and I can stay at home all day, but it’s nice that there are these places right there. After ten years, I ended up in my little one mile square area.

When you do go out, where do you like to go?

Sam: Reel M Inn. Hat Yai on Belmont. Tov Coffee. I used to host a film series called Movies in the Dark at the Hollywood Theatre and at Clinton Street Theater, but not since the pandemic. I’m COVID-cautious, as my partner’s mom is immunocompromised; I’ve eaten in one restaurant since February 2020, and haven’t been to any clubs or bars. So I’m not the most aware of what’s new in the restaurant or bar scene here. But I have gotten much better at baking bread! 

Are you involved in the local music scene much? 

Sam: The music I produce isn’t related to Portland—the artists are from around the world. There are a lot of Italians and Australians on the label right now. Ash Sain’s band Trance To The Sun and Soriah are my friends; they were the people I knew in Portland who I visited before deciding to move here. Because of COVID-cautiousness, I don’t see any shows, local or national. The last show I saw was Projekt artist Aurelio Voltaire at the Star Theater in February of 2020. 

As a lifelong resident myself, I’ve seen the neighborhood change a lot. But it’s probably changed the most in the decade you’ve been here. Is there anything about these changes you don’t like?

Sam: The things that have changed in Sunnyside are the things that I might be missing soon. The amount of small, weird businesses that are being replaced by condos are kind of a drag. 

If you could change something about the neighborhood, then, what would it be?

Sam: A lot of the problem is capitalism; the thing that gets the most complaints is the homeless problem, but the problem is capitalism. I don’t have an answer for that, but I do think it’s part of the problem. We are more than our labor. It’s not a “Sunnyside issue.” How do you fix the issue within the system that is the cause of the issue? 

Finally, cats or dogs?

Sam: I’m a cat person! My current cat, Nova, is 18. I adopted her when she was 14. Our new album is coming out soon. 

A collaboration album with your cat?

Sam: Yeah, I record her purrs and extend it and add ambient music to it. It’s our second [album]. Most of what I release is digital, so it’s easy to make an album with a cat. The new one is more music and not just purring.

To hear Rosenthal’s cat albums, go here: 

His most recent Black Tape for a Blue Girl Album, The Cleft Serpent, is also on Spotify: