News from the President

Hi Sunnyside and welcome to March! We made it through the heart of winter and spring is on the horizon. Personal YAY!

In February we had a special off-cycle General Meeting to hear from our local state representative Rob Nosse. First, I would like to thank Rep. Nosse for taking time out of his busy short session legislative schedule to meet with us. I’m so glad that we were able to hear his thoughts on such important issues as reforming Measure 110, the governor’s housing plan, the chronic underfunding of Oregon schools and his own bill to improve arts funding. By the time you read this, we will know where the legislature landed on these issues. Rep. Nosse was inclined to support some form of re-criminalization of drug possession, while continuing a focus on getting people into treatment as an alternative to the criminal justice system. He also seemed in favor of the general outlines of the housing package, noting that Portland’s urban growth boundary would most likely not be affected. Instead, the boundaries around suburban and exurban locales such as Gresham and Sandy could expand to support housing development.

Also in February, we welcomed the newest member of the SNA leadership team! Nathan Broden has joined us as our liaison to the Sunnyside Environmental School (SES) PTSA. He teaches gardening at SES and is a Sunnyside resident. Thanks for taking the time to contribute even more to the community, Nathan!

In March, we will be hearing about an endorsement request from Inner Eastside for All which is seeking a change in the zoning of inner eastside neighborhoods, including Sunnyside, to enable increased denser development inside neighborhood borders. You can read more about this effort below. Please join us for this discussion. Bring your questions and help the SNA Board decide if this is an effort that we should support.

One final note, our annual Board elections are coming up in May! Do you think you might want to join the Board to help shape city policies, manage projects for the neighborhood and meet a lot of awesome people? Please join us! If you have questions or think you might be interested, you can reach out to us at [email protected] or directly to me at [email protected].

Inner Eastside For All

The Sunnyside Neighborhood Association has been asked to sign onto a letter supporting the rezoning of Sunnyside and other eastside neighborhoods to allow for more multi-family housing. The group requesting our support, Portland: Neighbors Welcome, is a volunteer organization that advocates for housing abundance and tenants’ advocacy. The “Inner Eastside for All” concept proposes to re-legalize a broader range of housing types, up to multi-family mixed-use buildings throughout the Inner Eastside beyond transit corridors. The suggested boundaries for this rezone run from SE 12th out to 60th and from NE Fremont down to Powell Blvd. According to the letter, “Rezoning to allow additional mixed-use and multifamily buildings in large parts of the district will serve many more residents and allow many more homes within several blocks of shops and transit,” and the “vision is for the Inner Eastside to achieve a more equitable version of the NW Alphabet District: a dynamic, walkable
neighborhood with a mix of mid-sized apartment buildings, single-family homes, and every type in-between, well-served by transit, and with commercial centers, corner stores, and shared neighborhood spaces.” Matt Tuckerbaum from Portland: Neighbors Welcome will be at our March meeting to tell us more about this proposed concept.

Getting to Know Your Neighbors

Q&A with Tiffany Koyama Lane

During the pandemic, you may have seen Tiffany Koyama Lane, a third-grade teacher at Sunnyside Environmental School, collecting signatures for the Universal Preschool measure at Laurelhurst Park or at the entrance to Mount Tabor. Thanks in no small part to volunteers like Koyama Lane (who personally collected over 1,000 signatures), this became Preschool for All, a ballot initiative that Portlanders overwhelmingly voted for in 2020. It was during this period of canvassing and talking to hundreds of Portland parents and kids about the importance of free, universal early childhood education that Koyama Lane got the nickname “Teacher Tiffany.”  A lead external organizer for the Portland Association of Teachers, Koyama Lane is now putting her organizing and leadership skills to good use by running for Portland City Council, District 3.  She and her husband, novelist and stay-at-home dad Tim Lane, live in Sunnyside with their two kids.

Will you introduce yourself and tell us why you’re running for office?

Tiffany: My name is Tiffany Koyama Lane (she/her). I’m a teacher and a working mom. I have two kiddos—a six year old and an eight year old. I’m running for City Council because my community has been asking me to for many years. As a teacher, I interact with all different sorts of families and hold space for all of them and have to find solutions that consider all the kids and parents and caregivers. A public school really is a mirror for the neighborhood, for the city and for what’s happening.

In 2021, a group of houseless people set up an encampment at Sunnyside School after their camp was swept at Laurelhurst Park. This was during the pandemic, before kids returned to in-person school. Some parents expressed concerns about a camp so close to school property—they worried about needles getting left near the playground, drugs, and other safety issues.

Tiffany: My official stance would be that we need to have a robust shelter system with options for tiny house villages. Those need to be expanded because they’re working. We also need a unified housing list so when people are moving into housing, instead of one person applying to 20 different management companies, there’s more of a centralized and streamlined approach.

I also do want to say that I acknowledge that it’s a really intense presence to have a camp at a school, on a playground. The parents and the people who were concerned—they have a right to feel safe. I don’t think that that should be disregarded.

Were you concerned?

Tiffany: I wasn’t. But I also would go and talk to those neighbors and they were positive conversations. And even before—houseless folks have been there for a while—and some of those folks would look out for kids and de-escalate people. A lot of the relationships have been going on for a long time and are friendly. I don’t think those are highlighted enough.

How do you feel about Measure 110—should it be repealed? How can it be altered to make it work more effectively?

Tiffany: I do not want to repeal Measure 110. The implementation has not addressed the vast underlying conditions, namely, the holes in our treatment services and the huge barriers to access. Recriminalizing drugs would not change those underlying conditions—it is not a problem the city can or should arrest its way out of. Any changes made to the law need to be done in collaboration with people who have on-the-ground experience of addiction issues. The majority of police are not equipped to do social work.

Multnomah County is in charge of homeless services. But it’s the Portland Housing Bureau that’s tasked with building more housing. What should the City be doing that it isn’t right now?

Tiffany: I believe in workforce housing and making sure that people can live and work in the same place. I’m very fortunate. We need to make sure we aren’t losing important members of our community—essential workers, teachers, nurses—because they simply can’t afford to live here. There are examples like in Oakland, California where they’ve got workforce housing for teachers that I think we should be looking at.

The SNA plans to interview other City Council candidates for District 3 who live in Sunnyside over the coming months.

Critic’s Corner: Review of Rip City Remix, Portland’s G-league Basketball Team

Portland has a new minor league basketball team, Rip City Remix, part of the NBA’s G-league.  G-league is the level before the actual NBA. The Rip City Remix plays all kinds of teams. They played the Delaware Blue Coats, the Santa Cruz Warriors and even the Mexico City Capitanes. My opinion is that they’re so good that they should be part of the NBA! For example Antoine Davis, who plays for Rip City Remix, should be in the NBA. They’ve won. They’ve lost. Once they won with a three point shot. They once got a hundred points and all the kids got free ice cream! Also, on the side they have big screens (which mostly advertise soft drinks). It’s at the Chiles Center at the University of Portland. You can also fill out a form and get courtside seats! (Only if you win a contest.) You get a really good view too. After the games they also let you take pictures with the players. You should probably go!!

Want to see your name in print? We are looking for Sunnyside-based students to submit reviews of books, restaurants, food carts, movies or anything else that your fellow Sunnyside residents might enjoy knowing about. Please submit ideas to Hannah at [email protected].