Volunteers Needed for Kenton Street Fair

The Kenton Business Association is hard at work getting the Kenton Street Fair Fundraiser set up and ready for THIS FRIDAY, April 14 at 6pm at DISJECTA. But your help is needed to really make it awesome.

Volunteers are needed for:

Email Marina or Melissa if you can help us with any of these things. The more people we have, the more fun it will be!

KBA Seeking Donations to Support Street Fair Fundraiser

The Silent Auction Fundraiser for the Kenton Street Fair is scheduled for April 14th, 6-9:30pm, at Disjecta (8371 N Interstate Ave). Tickets for the fundraiser will be $15 and include drinks and appetizers.

The Kenton Business Association is currently looking for items to be donated to the auction. Please contact Melissa Bancuk at 503.233.2062 or tidynestorganizing@gmail.com for more information. The auction wish list is below:

One Week Later: General Meeting Postmortem

At least week’s General Meeting, the neighbors in attendance, representing the General Membership of the KNA, overwhelmingly voted in favor of the POD Village Proposal 178 to 75.

The unprecedented night was certainly a victory for most in the room, who celebrated the neighborhood’s leap of faith to give this pilot project a chance and looked forward to seeing the village come to life, but for those on the other side, the night ended with a sour taste, wondering what just happened.

Let’s take a look.

Neighborhood Engagement: Why didn’t I hear about this sooner?

The KNA spent months discussing the POD Village Proposal with neighbors via social media, various meetings, website and e-news. Last month, we also published the latest edition of the Kenton Connect Newsletter, which we make thousands of copies of and attempt to drop them by every residence in the neighborhood, to give an overview of the project and announce the neighborhood vote.

Looking past the KNA’s efforts, various media outlets helped spread the word, be it KATU, Portland Mercury, KGW, Portland Tribune or KXL, throughout the process from breaking the story to promoting the neighborhood vote while the Village Coalition canvassed the neighborhood in the weeks leading up to the vote.

But was it enough?

That seems to be up for debate around the neighborhood. I’ve heard plenty of neighbors levy criticisms against the city for not funding mailed flyers, for example, and while that might have helped inform the neighborhood on some level, we ultimately need to work together as neighbors to figure out how to best communicate with each other. That’s an ongoing conversation.

The General Meeting: Why wasn’t this a debate?

The imbalance between neighbors that had known about the POD Village Proposal for months and those recently finding out about it was clearly on display during the meeting, and for the latter side, they wanted the meeting to be something it wasn’t: A public hearing.

We can debate how effective it actually is to have people sign up to ask questions and/or make comments for extended periods of time, but the KNA was very clear in our messaging as to what would take place: An open house from 6-7pm, voting and a presentation from 7-8pm.

There was no mention or indication the General Meeting would be a town hall, debate, public hearing, etc.

However, we did include time for a question and answer session, and more than half the meeting was allocated to just that.

The reality was that the General Meeting wasn’t a good platform for someone that had just learned about the project and had lots of unanswered questions. I hate to say that, but with the amount of people in attendance, logistics of the vote and limited time for the event, this meeting was designed for having any lingering questions possibly answered and facilitating the neighborhood vote.

In fact, many neighbors punched their votes early on even though voting was allowed until the end of the meeting, so as neighbors made comments and asked questions during the second half of the meeting, the vote was already largely in.

The proposal had passed.

Looking back, we did make a mistake in giving the project organizers of the POD Village Proposal ample opportunities to engage neighbors throughout the process while not offering enough of a platform for those in opposition. That didn’t, though, make the vote and/or process any less valid.

The Vote: Why wasn’t it closer?

Since the advent of the POD Village Proposal, the message sent from the neighborhood to the KNA was largely in support of the proposal. Every indication was that the POD Village Proposal had significant support among neighbors and would have a decent shot at passing a neighborhood vote.

Still, I wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen last week. Our online survey that had roughly 600 participants showed slightly under a majority in support with sizable group unsure/undecided. Could those unsure/undecided swing toward being opposed? Maybe a significant portion of the neighborhood opposed would not make their voice known until the vote?

In the end, Kenton showed up in support of the proposal. That wasn’t a shocking revelation when you look at the rest of the data, but the margin of victory was impressive. Still, you could argue there was an enthusiasm gap that leaned in favor, but I would counter that for those opposed that wanted to take a stand against the city, this was their opportunity; they had all the reason to make it down to the meeting to vote.

Those votes weren’t there.

Moving Forward: What now?

The KNA is an organization for neighbors by neighbors. I welcome anyone that wants to be a part of the KNA to get involved. There is a call-to-action here; yes, we had a vote, but that’s not the end. If you don’t like how the KNA handled this process and/or just want to make a difference, you can do something about it. Heck, you can even vote me out in June.

Kenton is going through a transition where newer residents have started to drastically 0utnumber long-time residents. We need to realize that, and while having lived here this or that many years doesn’t grant one the ability to determine the direction of the neighborhood, it’s important to respect those that made Kenton what it is today and honor their knowledge and experience as we move forward.

As for the POD Village, we are still waiting for the Good Neighbor Agreement (Partnership Agreement) to pass legal review. [UPDATE: You can review the final draft here] Overall, I’d say the project is in a holding pattern for neighborhood involvement while some bureaucratic pieces fall into place, but neighbors are certainly anxious to help. Beyond that, the KNA’s committee on the POD Village will be tasked with handling most aspects of the POD Village for the KNA, and any neighbor that would like to join that committee should contact us.

Tyler Roppe

KNA Chair

 

Updated Good Neighbor Agreement Draft Released

Hours before the Kenton Neighborhood Association General Meeting, the Office of Neighborhood Involvement has released an updated draft of the good neighborhood agreement (partnership agreement) for the POD Village Proposal after a meeting of the parties to the agreement was held on Monday.

UPDATE: The final draft has been released and is provided below:

DEQ Holding Public Meeting about APES’ Permit Renewal and Expansion Tomorrow

The Oregon Department of Environmental (DEQ) will be holding a public meeting about American Petroleum Environment Services (APES), the oil re-refinery that operates in Kenton and was previously the subject of a federal investigation over health concerns, seeking a permit renewal and expansion tomorrow, March 7, 6-8pm, at the Red Lion Hayden Island (909 N Hayden Island Dr).

The following is from Portland North Harbor Neighbors on the event:

Why is it important to attend? In the past, local oil refinery air contamination permits were extended because not ‘enough’ people showed concern.

It’s been almost a year since DEQ told us to “shut our windows and try not to breathe it” when residents complained about how the toxic emissions from Portland’s two oil refineries affect their health.

Last August, DEQ revealed that they’ve known since 2011 that the required emission control devices had been removed. DEQ’s lack of
transparency about the oil refinery issues is negligent and has eroded our trust in their ability to protect us and the environment.

Meanwhile, APES is still allowed to release poisonous VOCs and heavy particulates 24/7 without ANY emission control devices.

Watch the 10 short educational videos at http://pdxnhn.org/ called ‘Pulling Back The Curtain’ and get fired up to speak up on March 7.

POD Village Proposal Update as Vote Nears

We are now less than a week away from the neighborhood vote on the POD Village Proposal at the General Meeting, but somehow new developments keep emerging.

If you haven’t already heard, the KNA was informed this week that Transition Projects, Inc. (TPI) has signed a letter of intent with the Portland Development Commission (PDC) to build an innovative affordable housing project at 2221 N Argyle St—the same site of the POD Village Proposal. The board of the PDC will vote to finalize the agreement next week.

Confused? Let’s unpack this situation.

First off, these are two different projects. They are not connected and would not be happening at the same time. The POD Village, assuming it moves forward, would occur for one year and then TPI, assuming they get funding, would develop the land after the village has left the site.

The PDC, who owns the property, has always slated this site for a capital improvement project, and TPI had signaled intentions to development the site in the past before the POD Village Proposal existed. However, while the KNA had knowledge of TPI looking at the site previously, the KNA was unaware of any new negotiations/activities between TPI and the PDC since the advent of the POD Village Proposal until now.

Either way, it’s been clear since the POD Village Proposal was brought forth that it would be a temporary pilot project only assured a year of using the PDC’s land.

So what does this all mean?

The POD Village Proposal stands as is. Nothing has changed about the proposal, and project organizers have told the KNA that they are confident the POD Village can exist within TPI’s timeline.

As for the TPI project, it presents a long-term vision for 2221 N Argyle St that shouldn’t be conflated with the POD Village Proposal. TPI wants to develop an actual permitted housing complex at the site, not establish an expanded POD Village 2.0.

TPI has 18 months to secure the funding for their project. If they get the funding, their project goes forward with shovels in the ground in 2018. Although it could certainly have an impact in one’s decision-making, the TPI project is not up for a vote on March 8th and don’t expect it to ever be. Holding a neighborhood vote on a proposal is extremely unprecedented; we should all remember that the POD Village Proposal is a very unique situation.

Finally, the following is the press release and rendering from TPI on their project:

Low-Income Single Adult Housing (LISAH) Project Overview

Transition Projects is pleased to serve as sponsor and developer of the proposed Low-Income Single Adult Housing (LISAH) project to be located at 2221 N Argyle Street in the Kenton neighborhood of North Portland. LISAH will provide 72 units of affordable, permanent housing for individuals who are transitioning from, or are at risk of, homelessness. The project’s location will provide residents with good access to transport, commercial, and recreational offerings – all of which are essential elements of successful housing for low-income, formerly homeless, residents.

LISAH is comprised of 72 studios and single-room occupancy (SRO) units. The SRO units are designed in ‘pods’ of six units that share a common kitchen and bathrooms. The site design includes three small buildings of two pods each, for a total of 36 SRO units.  The studios, manager’s unit, and a large community room are in a separate three-story elevator building. All the units at LISAH will be affordable to persons earning no more than 60% Area Median Income (AMI).

Based upon a cohousing model and employing a modular system of prefabricated units, LISAH is designed to: reduce upfront and operating costs; make optimal use of available land; promote a sense of community among residents; and provide a replicable model of cost-effective housing to serve low-income individuals across Oregon. Transition Projects has received very welcome support from Meyer Memorial Trust’s Innovations in Affordable Housing Initiative to support the development of LISAH. Assuming the required funding can be secured, Transition Projects hopes to break ground on the Argyle site during 2018.

Neighborhood Survey 

Thanks to everyone that took part in our survey on the POD Village Proposal; we have had over 500 people chime in, and the data has been very insightful in evaluating how well the KNA has been in informing and educating neighbors as well as gauging concerns and opinions on the proposal in the neighborhood.

In general, the survey points to neighbors (1) either just hearing about the proposal or having known about it for over a month; (2) having concerns in multiple areas with safety/security and oversight/accountability being the most common; (3) evenly being split in favor and unsure/opposed of the proposal.

If you would like to review the data in more detail, please head here.

General Meeting

We have received many questions from neighbors about the General Meeting and the voting process, so let’s try to clear those up.

A person must be physically present at some point during the meeting (6-8pm) to obtain a ballot and then cast their vote. In order to get a ballot, a person must meet eligibility requirements under the bylaws (18 and over and lives, leases, rents and/or owns any real property within Kenton) and sign in with their name and address.

The ballots go in a ballot box and the KNA Board counts them. We hope to announce the results right around the end of the meeting.

What about alternative voting options? Not possible and probably not practical. The KNA bylaws aren’t designed for mail-in voting or anything like that. They are designed for neighbors to show up to a General Meeting and vote.

If our bylaws were different, it would take some considerable planning and thought to potentially expand the KNA’s voting system; we couldn’t just throw that together. And even then, it ultimately might not be a practical option for a volunteer organization like the KNA to take on.

I know that’s not what many neighbors want to hear, but we are also being put in a very unique situation here with this proposal: The organizers are letting us make a deciding vote on it. That just doesn’t happen. I can’t emphasize that enough. We are in uncharted territory for a neighborhood association.

As for the event, I’m expecting it to be a little wild with a significant turnout, lots of media and elected officials like the Mayor himself. More details can be found here.

Ballot Language

The particular ballot language will be as follows: Does the General Membership of the Kenton Neighborhood Association support the POD Village Proposal under the following stipulations:

-The project will be a one-year pilot endeavor at the Portland Development Commission’s (PDC) land at 2221 N Argyle St. for up to 14 homeless female-identified people to each house a micro-housing sleeping pod on a transitional basis in a village-style community with oversight and ongoing support from Catholic Charities.

-The project will not delay and/or interfere with any future development of the site under the PDC and their partners and will ensure that a comprehensive strategy is in place to transition off the site at the project’s conclusion.

-The project will operate within all applicable laws, regulations and rules.

-The project will not move forward without a Good Neighbor Agreement that is agreed to by all parties determined applicable by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, including the Board of the Kenton Neighborhood Association.

-The project will operate under the support of the City of Portland Mayor and the Multnomah County Chair.

Updates on the POD Village Proposal

Leading up to the vote next week, we unfortunately don’t have any new or additional documentation to share. Any documentation we do have is here.

The Good Neighbor Agreement remains unfinished. The Office of Neighborhood Involvement, who is organizing the process, had trouble getting a response from some of the stakeholders, but with the vote coming soon and the pressure mounting to get something put together, work has finally been scheduled on it in the next few days. However, I wouldn’t expect it to be approved by the KNA before the meeting.

Final Thoughts

Various neighbors have asked if the KNA Board would be making a recommendation to the general membership on the proposal. That’s unlikely. The board intends to remain neutral on the project to ensure that its activities in educating and engaging neighbors on the proposal are as objective as possible. I can say that the proposal does have significant support under the POD Village Committee from neighbors on that committee that are not also members of the KNA Board.

Of course, neighbors have also wondered what happens if the proposal is voted down. I can’t completely say, but I can that as a neighborhood association, the voice of the general membership will be respected. As well, the reality is that the proposal could go forward regardless of how the neighborhood vote goes.

To all the neighbors that volunteered their time on this proposal, your passion and desire for our neighborhood encourages and aspires all of us to make Kenton a better place. I particularly want to reach out to the committee members that worked on the POD Village Proposal and offer my thanks. This group of neighbors went above and beyond to evaluate and offer feedback on the proposal.

Please feel to contact us for any questions, comments, concerns, etc. Otherwise, we’ll see you at the General Meeting.

Tyler Roppe

KNA Chair

 

 

 

February Update on the POD Village Proposal

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.

Tyler Roppe

KNA Chair

 

 

REACH Seeks Community Input this Saturday

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:

Janurary Update on the POD Village Proposal

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:

  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.

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.

Tyler Roppe

KNA Chair

Kenton Foot Patrol Training Next Month

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.

Meeting info:
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:
http://www.portlandoregon.gov/oni/articl…

For questions or additional information please directly contact:

Mark Wells / City of Portland Crime Prevention / mark.wells@portlandoregon.gov / 503-823-2781

Thank you for your time and consideration and we hope to see you there.

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