Following up on my last update a few weeks ago, the POD Village Proposal continues to make progress having gone through a couple more committee meetings and a design charette.
As part of those proceedings, the KNA has now received a draft of the community agreement and intake process as well as a rough good neighbor agreement, which certainly requires additional work.
While site planning is still in progress and will be continuing at future meetings, here are some general notes on what’s being incorporated into that process:
As for next steps, an information session on the proposal is set for next Wednesday, the 15th, from 6-8pm at the Historic Kenton Firehouse (8105 N Brandon Ave). This is an informal opportunity for neighbors to connect with project organizers to express concerns, give feedback, etc.
The KNA has also launched a short survey on the proposal to further capture feedback from neighbors and a FAQ on the project.
A final committee meeting will be held at the Firehouse on the 28th at 7pm ahead of the neighborhood vote on the proposal at the General Meeting on March 8th from 6-8pm at Disjecta (8371 N Interstate Ave).
Please feel to contact us for any questions, comments, concerns, etc.
REACH Community Development is hosting a public meeting this Saturday, 21st, to solicit community feedback on the development of a mixed-use affordable housing complex across from Nelson Plaza. See the flyer below:
Since my last update, the POD Village proposal has gone through a couple committee meetings and produced some additional documentation. Of course, the project still has a lot of progress to make before the neighborhood can truly make an informed decision on it—a decision that will decide if the proposal goes forward.
Still, it was only about a month ago that the POD Village proposal was revealed to the neighborhood in what wasn’t necessarily the best unveiling: There hadn’t been any community involvement during the site selection process, and written documentation on the proposal was only received the day before a meeting on the subject.
Those hurdles aside, the willingness of the community to at least consider the proposal and work toward refining it has been impressive.
Going through the development process of the proposal, the KNA outlined a few requests:
Looking at the timeline, it’s certainly been slowed down from the potential February launch. The KNA has been told that the city doesn’t even plan to spend money on permits, for example, until a neighborhood vote is held, and the KNA won’t be holding the fate-deciding neighborhood vote on the proposal until the next General Meeting, which is set for March 8th from 6pm to 8pm at Disjecta (8371 N Interstate Ave).
An official announcement of the vote will go out in the next issue of the Kenton Connect that is delivered to every residence in Kenton.
On the collaboration with project leaders and the KNA’s committee on the proposal, the process has been working and progress is being made. There are folks highly invested in this project across sectors, be it public, non-profit or education, that realize that they need to work with us for this proposal to have a chance. With that, the committee has been looking at draft village rules and at establishing a good neighborhood agreement while certainly raising plenty of concerns. As well, there still is a design charrette scheduled for the 28th to look at planning the site out.
As for a community forum, that hasn’t been established yet, but there has been talk of having it in mid-February. Stay tuned on that one.
Moving forward, the committee has two future meetings currently scheduled on the 24th of January and the 7th of February, 7pm, at the Historic Kenton Firehouse (8105 N Brandon Ave). All Kenton residents are eligible to participate in committees and can be appointed by the KNA Chair. Please contact us if you would like to be involved with this committee and/or if you have questions, concerns, etc.
Finally, I’d like to thank everyone that has chimed in and/or volunteered their time on this proposal; I know it’s been a challenging situation at times, but the neighborhood has handed it extremely well.
The next training for Kenton residents interested in joining our soon to start Kenton Community Foot Patrol is coming up next month! We have already trained 13 members and would like to double this number prior to our kick off walk, which will be held in early February.
Foot Patrols are non-confrontational community groups who walk in designated areas and help observe and report a host of issues including crime, suspicious activity, and maintenance issues. The biggest goal of a Community Foot Patrol is to connect neighbors, build a stronger sense of community and safety, and work directly with Portland Police, Crime Prevention, and other public safety agencies.
When: Thursday, February 2nd
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Where: North Portland Neighborhood Services Office / Kenton Historic Firehouse – 2209 N.Schofield St.
Foot Patrol member are asked to donate 1-3 hours a month walking in their neighborhoods and we need as many volunteers as possible to make this group a success.
Please bring a government issued form of identification.
For more information on the Foot Patrol Program please see see the following link:
For questions or additional information please directly contact:
Mark Wells / City of Portland Crime Prevention / firstname.lastname@example.org / 503-823-2781
Thank you for your time and consideration and we hope to see you there.
The KNA has received a draft of the Village Manual, attached below, for the POD Village Proposal. This is the first time the KNA has seen a draft of the manual and is some of the first written documentation on the proposal in general.
This draft along with the development of good neighbor agreement will be discussed at the next KNA committee meeting on the POD Village, which is set for Tuesday, the 10th, 7pm, at Historic Kenton Firehouse (8105 N Brandon Ave) with organizers of the proposal. All Kenton residents are eligible to participate in committees.
UPDATE: The KNA Board has endorsed a letter on the proposal.
I’d like to personally thank everyone that was able to attend last week’s meeting and brave the weather. It wasn’t an easy call to make, but given the proposed timeline for Argyle Village and the impending holiday season, I felt we needed to attempt to hold the meeting rather than postpone.
While certainly some weren’t able to attend, we did have a full house with all the scheduled representatives from the Argyle Village proposal in attendance.
I also recognize that this proposal was basically sprung on the neighborhood with about 24 hours of notice that a meeting on the topic was going to be held. I had hoped for nearly a week’s worth of notice, but the KNA didn’t receive anything in writing about the project until the day before our normally scheduled board meeting. Until we had something in writing, I didn’t want to publicly release anything on this project.
Even with the short time frame, we reached thousands of community members before the meeting and received input from dozens of neighbors.
Based on what the KNA has heard so far, be it from social media, email, the meeting, there seems to be plenty of support for the project in the neighborhood. However, there are still many unanswered questions and concerns about the project, and the general consensus from the meeting was that the project isn’t fully “cooked” and that neighborhood would like to participate in further developing the project.
To that end, the KNA voted at the meeting to form a new committee to work on the Argyle Village proposal, and we are currently looking to host the first meeting of that committee next Tuesday, the 27th, at 6:30pm at the Firehouse (8105 N Brandon Ave). All Kenton residents are eligible to participate in committees and can be appointed by the KNA Chair. Please contact us if you would like to be involved with this committee and/or if you have questions, concerns, etc.
Furthermore, after an oversight where the neighborhood wasn’t invited to a site planning kick-off event for the proposal, the KNA is drafting a letter to the project organizers that will make, among others, the following points approved by the board:
1. The timeline for the proposal be slowed down.
2. The KNA’s newly formed committee be engaged in the planning process and collaborate with project leaders over a series of meetings to further work out the details of the project.
3. The project leaders work with the KNA to sponsor a dedicated community forum in Kenton.
The City of Portland, Catholic Charities and the Joint Office of Homeless Services are proposing to open a transitional village-style shelter consisting of micro-housing sleeping pods for up to 14 women in Kenton at 2221 N Argyle St next year.
As a result, members of the Office of Mayor Charlie Hales, Catholic Charities and the Joint Office of Homeless Services are scheduled to attend the KNA meeting tomorrow, December 14th, at the Historic Kenton Firehouse (8105 N Brandon Ave) at 7pm to engage in opening dialogue about the proposal with the neighborhood.
Although the KNA was originally notified of the proposal earlier in the month, the KNA has only today received requested written documentation, which is embedded below, on the proposition to send out to the neighborhood.
The KNA Chair believes this project will fail without neighborhood support.
Therefore, if you have any comments, concerns, etc. about this proposal, please try to attend tomorrow’s meeting. If you are unable to make it, please feel free to contact us, and we’ll do our best to make sure your voice is heard.
The Portland Development Commission will officially welcome Nelson Plaza and Kenton’s food cart pod to the neighborhood tomorrow, the 1st!
See the official press release below:
October 31, 2016
Contact: Shawn Uhlman, PDC, 503-823-7994
PDC to Dedicate Nelson Plaza and Welcome New Food Carts
On Tuesday, November 1 from noon to 1:00 p.m., PDC Executive Director Kimberly Branam will join family members of a longtime Kenton business and property owner to dedicate Nelson Plaza, 8419 N. Interstate. The site will be a community gathering space and home to up to six new food carts serving the neighborhood.
Family patriarch Victor R. Nelson founded Kenton Machine Works and was the force behind Kenton’s most visible landmark, the Paul Bunyan statue that stands at the north end of N. Interstate Avenue. The statue represents Kenton’s roots as a rugged, working class neighborhood. The Nelson Plaza dedication will include the presentation of a plaque recognizing Mr. Nelson and his family’s history in the community.
The Plaza site is one of four properties originally owned by the Nelsons and purchased by PDC in 2011 for future development. Due to market conditions, PDC decided to hold onto the Plaza site and make tenant improvements instead. In 2015, PDC completed a development study that recommended a phasing approached for future development of the site and surrounding PDC-owned properties.
PDC worked with a group of community stakeholders to gather input on use of the Plaza site that would be supported by the neighborhood. The stakeholders, including local business owners and members of the Kenton Neighborhood and Kenton Business associations, expressed a strong desire to activate the space and attract the public to the north end of Denver Avenue.
Branam said, “We’re happy to honor the Nelson family’s role in Kenton and dedicate this site as a community space that also offers new opportunities for food entrepreneurs to serve residents and local businesses and their employees.”
Karen Nelson Wheeler said, “Our family has a long history here in Kenton, and we’re honored to have a plaque recognizing the role of my grandfather, as not only a longtime property and business owner but also as the visionary behind Kenton’s landmark Paul Bunyan statue. We’re very proud of our impact on the community and look forward to its future growth.”
The design and construction team (Raimore Construction, KPFF, 2.Ink Studio, and R& W Engineering) incorporated many of the community ideas, including spaces for food carts, a courtyard, a boardwalk path, community kiosk, plants and trees. PDC used Interstate Corridor urban renewal area funds for the site renovation.
Food carts up and running at Nelson Plaza include DeHomis, Drunken Noodle, and Killa Dilla.
PDC’s history with the Kenton neighborhood and physical improvements dates back many years and includes a $5 million streetscape improvement project completed in 2010.
Kenton’s Annual Trick or Treat event is tomorrow, October 27th, from 5pm – 7pm at businesses around N Denver. Come show off your costumes!
During investigations into the so-called Kenton lead blob, the KNA learned that the Portland International Raceway (PIR) still allows racers to use leaded fuels. Given the recent concerns for lead around the neighborhood, the KNA questioned the city of Portland, which owns and operates the track through the bureau of Portland Parks & Recreation, about the continued use of these fuels back in May.
Following several months of looking into the issue, Eileen Argentina–Manager for the Recreation Services Division–recently released a statement responding to the KNA:
Thank you for your patience regarding your questions about the use of leaded gas use at PIR. After researching the history of regulation of lead in gas, and consulting with our Health, Safety, and Environmental Consultant, we are confident that use of leaded gas at PIR events complies with applicable EPA regulations designed to protect public health. The proportion of vehicles using leaded gas at PIR is relatively small and over the long term has been declining. However, for some vehicles and some events, it continues to be an essential component of competitive racing and the PIR experience.
We understand and appreciate the concerns that led to your inquiry. At this time, we are not making any change to the current practice of allowing some vehicles to use leaded gas. If additional information comes to light that suggests the need for a re-evaluation, we will of course be willing to do that.
We’ve had a chance to review the documentary produced by the Kenton resident who initially raised the issue of leaded gas being used at PIR. The documentary clearly has a much broader focus and recognizes the complexity of tracking and analyzing causal factors when exploring toxins in our environment. In the end, it reinforces our understanding that by far the source of greatest concern for lead contamination remains lead paint. This is where PP&R is currently concentrating its efforts – through the testing and remediation of lead paint on play equipment.
Thank you – we value the ongoing dialogue that we have with you and look forward to continuing that work together.
Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek, who lives in and represents Kenton as part of House District 44, has decided to issue her own statement back to the city at the request of the KNA. Please see the Speaker’s letter below:
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