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

As I write this at the end of August we just had our first Board Meeting with our newly formed board. We elected Chris Waldmann to be our President but we plan to rotate some of the duties traditionally performed by President between four board members over the coming year to give each of us a chance to be presiding officer. Each person will assume these duties for three months (Chris being the first) but Chris will remain the official elected President. Chris, who has lived in Sunnyside for six years, has been a board member for a year and was formerly the president of his neighborhood association in Washington, D.C. 

The SNACC committee has been busy organizing two volunteer orientations for later this week. We hope to gain a handful of new Shower Project volunteers as a result. 

We will hold the General Meetings on the 2nd Thursday of the month, as per usual, but the new board has decided to have a General Meeting only every other month. There will be a General Meeting in September, November, January, etc. (One way to remember it is that they happen on odd numbered months.)

Our Sept. 8th General Meeting will be held in person at Southeast Uplift (3534 SE Main St.) from 7-8:30 p.m. (We plan to have a Zoom link for those who don’t want to attend in person. Check the website for details a few days before.) Our guest speaker will be Melanie Billings-Yun from the City Charter Review Commission. She will speak about the upcoming Portland Charter Commission ballot initiative, so come prepared with questions. This will be an important meeting because at the end, we would like the SNA membership to vote on whether or not to endorse the initiative. We need at least 15 members present in person or on Zoom in order to hold a full vote. If we don’t have at least 15 members, the board will vote on the measure, but we really want to have a larger neighborhood voice on this issue. So, please join us and bring a Sunnyside friend!

We hope to see you in September!

Every Month is a Preparedness Month!

Searching on social media it is easy to find a monthly preparedness topic, usually connected to seasonal weather patterns. There are national preparedness month designations and they may vary depending on where you live in the world. Here is a useful link for a year-round preparedness calendar:

As a Sunnyside Portland NET (Neighborhood Emergency Team) member, I am trained to prepare for the most severe event, which in our part of the world is an earthquake. So, if you are prepared for an earthquake, you are essentially prepared for any weather emergency. It’s a cascading (no pun intended) continuum.

Sunnysiders are advised to ‘start where you are’ and build from there. Depending upon your family status, you probably have different needs for preparedness. If possible, involve family members in your eprep, and maybe some close neighbors and friends as well.

Consider ‘mapping your neighborhood’ * so that you form greater connections to your neighbors and become aware of the skills and resources that are available if/when they are needed. Neighborhood is loosely defined to include your workplace, school, etc. 

Like anything worth doing, this takes time, effort, and cooperation. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] if you have questions.

* Continue to use creative ways to connect to your neighbors during this time of COVID. Here are some ideas: snail mail a card to a new or old neighbor, create a chalk drawing on the sidewalk in front of where you live, walk around and greet others on your block. What else might you do?

Sunnyside Neighborhood Community Cares (SNACC) Committee Updates

Last month the SNACC committee reviewed the strategic planning conversation we started at the beginning of the summer. In our June meeting, we did a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis with volunteers. We then revisited the needs assessment results and focused our energy on recruiting more volunteers, with the goal of extending operating hours at the Sunnyside Shower Project and increasing access for guests. 

We held two volunteer orientations in August and 11 new volunteers have since joined us. We hope to continue outreach to gain more volunteer support so that we can open the Sunnyside Shower Project (SSP) for additional days and times since this was the number one need identified in the needs assessment. 

Finally, we’re very excited to announce the art installation Artist Unknown which will be open at the Sunnyside Methodist Church and Community Center (3520 SE Yamhill St) from 5-9 p.m. on September 2nd and 3rd. This art show will feature works by unhoused artists, some of whom have been guests at the SSP. Artists will have works available for purchase and light refreshments will be available. Donations will be accepted and will go toward making long-overdue repairs to church windows. More information about this art show is available at The next SNACC meeting will take place on Thursday September 15th from 6:30-8 p.m., location to be determined.

Getting to Know Your Neighbors

When she became the principal of Sunnyside Environmental School (SES) last year, Dr. Eryn Berg says it felt like a homecoming. “I was born on Southeast 53rd St,” says Berg. “And my grandma used to have chickens. So last year when I moved my stuff over to the school and and heard the chickens, I was like, ‘I feel like I’m home.’” A former high school English teacher who also writes poetry, Berg is a huge fan of Sunnyside, the neighborhood, as well (though she currently lives in Roseway). With school starting on August 30th, she has her hands full with meetings and welcoming teachers back to SES but she took the time to speak to us in mid-August. 

What did you do before being principal at SES? 

I’ve been an administrator at PPS for 15 years. Before that I was a high school English teacher at the High School of Telecommunication Arts & Technology in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. I used to live in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.  

Continue reading our full Q&A with Dr. Eryn Berg

Charter Commission Update

Recently, the Portland Charter Commission approved a plan to be voted on in the November election. This will be an opportunity for Portlanders to vote on the form we want our government to take and how our elections will work in the future. The Charter Commission has approved the following items in the measure:

  • City Councilors will no longer manage City Bureaus.
  • The mayor will no longer sit as a member of the City Council, but will have a vote to break ties.
  • The mayor will appoint a City Manager with day-to-day management responsibilities over the city bureaus. The City Manager appointment will be approved by a majority of the Council.
  • The mayor will not have veto authority over the City Council.
  • The City Council will include 12 members elected from four geographic districts, each having three members.
  • A ranked-choice-voting system will be put in place where voters may select multiple candidates running in their home district and order their choices. The top three vote getters will be elected.

The commission, arguing that these reforms work as a whole to increase representation, accountability, and improved governance, decided to place all of these measures into a single Yes/No ballot question.

We will have a member of the Charter Review Commission at our September 8th meeting to present the plan and answer questions from the community. This is an important and complex topic. Please bring your questions! The meeting will take place at SE Uplift, 3534 SE Main St. at 7 p.m.

You can read more at the Charter Commission website,