A Proud History of Community Engagement
Neighborhood Associations Work
Neighborhood Associations in the NPNS district have been consistently organized and active over the past four decades. Their dedication to engaging neighbors in self-directed community building is the foundation for much of the DIY (do-it-yourself) attitude that is pervasive in North Portland.
Here’s a sample of just a few of the successes of community building and engagement activities over the years. To get more specifics, check in with your neighborhood association.
Funds for Community Projects
Neighborhood associations initiated, lobbied and won the establishment of the innovative Metro North Portland Enhancement Fund as mitigation for the community impacts from the now-closed St. Johns landfill. Administered by Metro, this fund brought millions of dollars to numerous grassroots projects and programs in North Portland. A few years later, neighborhood associations pushed hard and won the establishment of a fund in response to Portland International Raceway impacts. This “good neighbor” fund administered by NPNS has poured several hundred thousand dollars into community building projects.
Farmers Markets: The Portsmouth Neighborhood Association established North Portland’s first community operated farmers market. The Overlook Neighborhood along with its partner Kaiser-Permanente, followed with the Interstate Farmers Market. These pioneer efforts now are reflected in the current North Portland farmers markets in St. Johns and Kenton.
Cathedral Park from Junkyard to Park
The area under the St. Johns Bridge was once industrial acreage covered in rusted junk and overgrown weeds. This area is now the lauded Cathedral Park. Local residents organized, provided sweat equity and successfully lobbied for the creation of this beautiful park on the Willamette River. Those same residents went on to form the Friends of Cathedral Park Neighborhood Association.
Several neighborhood associations have been active in saving historic buildings from abuse and demolition. The St. Johns Neighborhood Association successfully lobbied to save and fund the preservation of the former City Hall of St. Johns. More recently, the Kenton Neighborhood Association received National Historic Status for the Paul Bunyan statue along and landed a major grant that was used to restore this North Portland icon.
The Piedmont Neighborhood Association, the Kenton Neighborhood Association and the Portsmouth Neighborhood Associations have raised in excess of $100,000 to establish community gardens in their communities.
Lombard Main Street Plan
The Neighborhood Associations from St. Johns, University Park, Portsmouth and Cathedral Park all worked jointly with the Bureau of Planning to chart the future course of planning and community development on the western peninsula.
Rosa Parks Way
Despite significant opposition to changing the name of North Portland Boulevard, the Arbor Lodge Neighborhood was an early and strong supporter of honoring the memory of Rosa Parks. This advocacy resulted in the renaming of North Portland Boulevard to Rosa Parks Way.
After the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans, the Army Corp of engineers focused on the viability of river levees. In reviewing the Bridgeton Levee, the initial recommendation was to remove all vegetation. The Bridgeton Neighborhood Association fought this, raising funds to fly in scientists as expert witnesses. The neighborhood achieved a partial victory. They were able to keep some of the trees and vegetation and received mitigation for those trees removed.
Bryant Street Pedestrian Bridge
The Piedmont Neighborhood Association, looking for ways to improve the dismal and crime-plagued pedestrian/ bicycle access over I-5, won a $50,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation. Landscape, hardscape, cage-fence removal, and the installation of functional art transformed this important connection into a safe and attractive transportation option.
Hayden Island Plan
The Hayden Island Neighborhood Network is the recognized voice for Portland’s only island neighborhood. The island is heavily impacted by the Port of Portland Marine Services and Airport, the Columbia River I-5 bridge congestion, a large retail center and a collection of lottery outlets. Several hundred residents participated in forming the now adopted Hayden Island Plan.
Battling Waste Water Treatment Odors
The Kenton and Portsmouth Neighborhood Associations furiously lobbied to control the noxious smells caused by the waste water treatment facility along Columbia Boulevard. This facility treats the sewage for our entire region. This lobbying raised millions of dollars for odor reduction projects, including access trails and other community amenities at the site.