Back to School: Local Black Parents on Making a Tough Call

The national narrative was that Black families were among the most hesitant about a return to school buildings. One North Portland school bucked that trend last spring, by building trust among families.

Untitled_Artwork_23_dkc69e
IMAGE: BY MIKE NOVAK

Last February, as the push to fully reopen schools gained momentum, articles appeared in publications from New York to Baltimore to Mississippi—Black parents, by and large, were not going to send their kids back. The reasons were manifold: the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on Black communities, lack of access to health care, racism in schools, and, overwhelmingly, a lack of trust by parents that schools could keep their kids safe.

But some Black parents made a very different choice, buoyed by trust not of the system, but their own teachers and principals.

Case in point: North Portland’s Boise-Eliot/Humboldt Elementary, which until a couple of years ago was the state’s only remaining majority–African American school and still has a sizable Black population. There, 64 percent of Black children returned to school, roughly the same percentage as their white counterparts. (Among those who returned are this reporter’s children, who are white.)

In contrast, at Rosa Parks and César Chávez, other North Portland schools with well-above-district-average populations of children of color, fewer than 50 percent of all students chose hybrid learning.

“At first I was like, ‘We’re gonna stay home,’” says Nina Alexis, parent to four, three of whom attended Boise-Eliot/Humboldt in the 2020–2021 school year. “At the last minute I decided to go back, and I never would have done it had it not been for [the principal] Mr. Kaveh’s great communication.”

Though many parents at Boise-Eliot/Humboldt joined her, there were also a number of local Black parents who were publicly vocal against reopening schools for reasons that followed those outlined in the stories making headlines around the country. 

Wherever they landed, it wasn’t an easy choice.

“As we all know, PPS doesn’t always have the best interests of our children in mind when making decisions,” says another BEH parent, Alshawnda Martin, who also works as the school’s PTA president.

Martin’s fifth grader had struggled with online learning initially but found her footing. Yet when it came to a decision about in-person learning, she begged to go back to finish out her time at BEH. Because Martin is active in the school, she says she witnessed firsthand the careful preparations being made for reopening the building, which helped build her own trust and arrive at the decision to let her daughter return.

Tina Turner, the school’s former assistant principal and herself a Black mother of three, understands Black parents’ reluctance to engage with a system that has historically failed to prioritize their children. “A lot of us don’t trust the system—the system isn’t set up for us,” says Turner. “And I think oftentimes if you are not able to access the information that’s going to make you feel comfortable, you just tend not to deal with that.”

She says Boise-Eliot/Humboldt reached out to parents individually and organized their in-school options to suit as many schedules as they could.

“We chose our hybrid option in the morning and in the afternoon because we knew that providing both opportunities would help more students be able to access school,” she says. “Ultimately, our families appreciated the fact that we were being transparent and saying, ‘Yeah, we don’t have all the answers, but what we do know we will share with you.’”

Turner sent her own children back to in-person learning at their Northeast neighborhood PPS school, Vernon. “It was a struggle being at home,” she admits. So, when the time came for her to make the call, she weighed her options. “Either I continue to be afraid, and keep my kids at home, or I go back to work and be a part of the community, and take my chances,” she says.

Though the spread of the Delta variant has changed the calculations about this fall for some, Martin said in June that she was glad she made the call she did at the time, despite the risks that existed then. “Sending my kids back was the best decision that I made,” she says. “Not for just me but for my children. They needed that.”

 

By: Fiona McCann | Source

Cheap and Free Portland Places to Escape Post-Pandemic Crowds

For some, the pandemic’s restrictions have come as an opportunity to lean in to the needs of your inner introvert. Whether that’s leaving a grocery store when it’s too crowded or sitting alone in the middle of an empty park for fun, these little gifts will be harder to give yourself as society returns to a post-vaccine pace. Even if you’re excited to attend your first post-COVID concert or counting the days to your first house party, finding time to be alone should remain on your to-do list. Fortunately, Portland is home to many great places that offer solace from humanity. Need to get away from it all? Look no further than these free and low-cost options:

Kelley Point Park

I grew up a ten minute drive from the Pacific Ocean, which made the beach my go-to escape if I needed some alone time. With ocean beaches now more than an hours’ drive away, I’ve relied on a local stand-in to obtain that dramatic feeling that comes with standing at the oceans’ shore. I’ve found that at Kelley Point Park, the far North Portland city park at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. Sure, it’s no ocean, but the sandy banks, small waves, and seagulls help set the mood. Kelley Point doesn’t just offer a quasi-beach experience, but it’s home to a few lovely meadows for picnics and sun lounging. If you’re feeling adventurous, bring a bike and explore the park’s paved bike trails, or hop on the nearby Marine Drive bike trail for some Columbia River views.

Cost: FREE

8484 N Kelley Point Park Rd, Portland

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Among the hustle and bustle of Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown sits Lan Su Chinese Garden, an serene oasis of native Chinese plants representing the relationship between Portland and its sister city of Suzhou, China. The walled-off garden and tea house, which occupies an entire city block, was built to be a place of meditation and reflection. This goal is captured in a poem inscribed on a garden pavilion by Suzhou poet Wen Zhengming: “Most cherished in this mundane world is a place without traffic; Truly in the midst of the city there can be mountain and forest.” To ensure this feeling is captured in Lan Su during COVID-19, the garden currently requires guests to reserve a time slot for a visit before showing up.

Cost: $12.95 per adult.

239 Northwest Everett Street, Portland

Powell Butte

We all have our favorite Portland ex-volcanoes. For many, that’s Mount Tabor, and for good reason. But for those who find themselves often overwhelmed by Tabor’s crowds, might I suggest: Powell Butte! With numerous trails winding through dense cedar forests and airy grasslands, it’s easy to forget that Powell Butte is located in the middle of busy Southeast Portland, nestled between SE Powell and SE Foster, at SE 162nd. Visit the free city park on a clear day for stunning views of Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens, which can be enjoyed from the parking lot as well as a hiking trail.

Cost: FREE

16160 SE Powell Blvd, Portland

Sandy River Delta

If you’re like me, you’ve passed that sprawling, bucolic dog park on the north side of Interstate 84 as you cross the Sandy River and thought, “this is why I need to get a dog.” If this is the case, I have some excellent news for you: Dog ownership is not required to enjoy the 1,500-acre Sandy River Delta park! Sure, it’s a perfect place to let your urban pup run wild, but the park has offerings for anyone trying to temporarily disengage from humanity. The vast expanse of forest, beach, and meadows allows for horseback riding, hiking, biking, wading, fishing, birdwatching, and other solo activities. Avoid a ticket (and support the preservation of natural areas, you jerk) by paying the $5 parking fee before you start exploring.

Cost: FREE (but $5 to park)

Thousand Acres Rd, Troutdale

Hoyt Arboretum

Arboretums are notoriously excellent places to escape from the world. Located in Washington Park, Portland’s Hoyt Arboretum boasts 12 miles of hiking trails winding across 189 acres through more than 2,000 species of trees. Hoyt truly has something for everyone: If you’re looking for an evergreen escape, take the Redwood Trail; seeking springtime blooms, saunter down the Magnolia Trail, hoping for some fall color, peep the Maple Trail. Hiking isn’t mandatory in the arboretum, I also recommend bringing a blanket and a book to sit under a tree of your choosing on a warm day.

Cost: FREE

4000 SW Fairview Blvd

The Grotto

If there’s one thing consistently and earnestly keeping Portland weird, it’s the Grotto. Technically called the “National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother,” the Grotto is an mostly-outdoor Catholic shrine centered around a 110-foot cliff in Northeast Portland. But just like you don’t need a dog to go to the Sandy River delta, you don’t need to be Catholic to visit the Grotto. Visitors can sit peacefully and gaze into the abyss of a giant cave-shrine (featuring a replica of the Pietà) for free, or pay $8 to ride the cliff elevator up to the manicured gardens, a collection of small shrines dedicated to different countries that practice Catholicsm, a labyrinth for guests to walk “in contemplation,” and a “meditation chapel,” that, despite looking like the headquarters of a dystopian religious cult, is actually a peaceful space with great views of Washington. If you’re seeking solitude with a side of wacky, pick the Grotto.

Cost: FREE (but $8 to ride the cliff elevator)

8840 NE Skidmore St, Portland

Lone Fir Cemetery

If cemeteries give you the willies, I urge you to take a chance on Lone Fir, the majestic historic cemetery in Southeast Portland. According to its caretaker, Metro Regional Government, the cemetery’s 700 beautiful flowering and evergreen trees (including the original lone fir—look for the plaque) make it Portland’s second-largest arboretum. Like any old cemetery, Lone Fir is full of stories. Whether it’s the the story of James and Elizabeth Stephens, the adorable pioneer couple chiseled in rock in the cemetery’s northwest corner, or the story of Block 14, the gravely southwest patch that holds the unmarked graves of more than 1,000 Chinese immigrants and former patients of the Hawthorne Asylum (the state’s first psychiatric hospital), a wander through Lone Fir Cemetery can turn into an ad-hoc history lesson. You’ll find familiar Portland names on the headstones—Pettygrove, Pittock, Cully, Tibbets, Hawthorne—and find sun-dappled benches for deep breaths and contemplation.

Cost: FREE

649 SE 26th Ave, Portland

Article by Alex Zielinski | Source

Despite Mixed Messaging, Oregon’s Indoor Mask Mandate Remains in Place

Mixed messages from the state leaves some residents and business owners thinking the mask mandate is lifted.

View video here

Whether or not a mask is required in Oregon businesses should be an easy question to answer. As of May 17th, Oregon’s rules do require people to wear masks indoors.

But after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) announcement on May 13th, which said fully vaccinated people can ditch the mask for most indoor environments, and Gov. Kate Brown’s statement that Oregon would follow CDC guidance, it’s hard to blame anyone who thinks the mask mandate is gone in Oregon.

It is not gone.

In fact, when it comes to indoor retail businesses, nothing has changed. Masks are still required everywhere in Oregon inside businesses.

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) leaders are working on their own rules to go along with the CDC, but it’s not ready yet.

Last week, state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger said he expected the new rules will include a requirement that customers show vaccination cards before they enter businesses without a mask.

Many business owners are against the idea, including Dan Afrasiabi who owns several Planet Fitness gyms in Oregon.

“We think some sort of honor system consistent with what president Biden and the CDC have said, as they’ve outlined, are sufficient to achieve the right balance for businesses and Oregon citizens,” Afrasiabi said.

He added that his gyms will follow whatever guidance the OHA comes up with, but he does not like the idea of his staff checking for vaccination proof.

“Standard retail teams are just not trained to be able to review things like vaccination cards or photos of vaccination cards – so it just needs to be well thought out,” Afrasiabi said.

In the meantime, mask mandates are all over the board in both Oregon and Washington. Washington allowed businesses to drop the mask rule for those who are fully vaccinated and is not requiring proof.

During phone calls to find out how stores handled the rules, we began in Vancouver with a Target store. We were told they were not requiring masks for those who are vaccinated.

A Vancouver area Walmart was requiring masks, which seemed to go against its national corporate policy.

A Vancouver Starbucks said masks were still required, even though the corporate office issued a statement, which said masks for those fully vaccinated were not needed unless mandated by local law.

In the Portland area, the Hillsboro Costco reported customers did not need a mask if fully vaccinated.

A Portland area Target said they were not enforcing mask use by customers.

A Portland area Walmart also did not require masks for those who said they were fully vaccinated.

A Starbucks store in NW Portland said masks were still being required and customers could not sit inside to sip coffee.

Article by Pat Dooris | Source

Portland-Filmed ‘Shrill’ Brings Aidy Bryant and the Cast for an Unsettled Final Season

Shrill
Annie (Aidy Bryant) and Nick (Anthony Oberbeck) in a scene from the Portland-filmed “Shrill” Season 3. (Photo: Allyson Riggs/Hulu)

 When “Shrill” premiered on Hulu in March 2019, the show felt like another example of a comedy filmed in Portland that both reflected and advanced the national image of the Rose City as a comfy haven for unconventional, creative types. Like “Portlandia” before it, “Shrill” starred a “Saturday Night Live” veteran, Aidy Bryant, who led a diverse cast in a show that was too unique to fit snugly into the usual TV boxes.

The Friday, May 7 premiere of the third and final season of “Shrill” arrives at a very different time for Portland. After a year of pandemic shutdowns, racial justice protests and demonstrations that resulted in property damage, Portland’s national image has shifted. Where Portland used to be stereotyped as a home for quirky progressives, now the national media often portrays the Rose City through a harsher lens.

In Season 3, “Shrill” still leans into a warm portrait of Portland, where the show is set and has filmed all three seasons. But this final season also takes on a sense of melancholy. The third season filmed during the pandemic, though that isn’t mentioned. What does come through, though, are the financial challenges faced by the Thorn, the alternative publication that Annie (Bryant) writes for. And perhaps because of challenges presented by observing safety protocols during filming, Season 3 sometimes feels disjointed, with supporting characters turning up, then disappearing (notably Patti Harrison as Ruthie, the entertainingly tart-tongued Thorn staffer).

Inspired by Seattle writer Lindy West’s nonfiction book, “Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman,” the show has consistently been subtle and smart about how Annie, the writer played by Bryant, has been impacted by being fat, as she would say. Annie has grappled with feeling limited by her size, and her writing breakthrough came when she honestly wrote about being fat, and not allowing others to shame her for it.

To its credit, the show has presented Annie as a character who’s not defined by her body. In Season 3, Annie finds herself judging a potential romantic partner because of his size. It’s an interesting development in that it both comments on how far Annie has come in accepting herself, and how she’s still aware of how others might judge her if it looks like she’s “settling” for a boyfriend who’s also overweight.

But Season 3 also spins its wheels a bit. Even though she’s dumped her overgrown man-child boyfriend, Ryan (Luka Jones), Annie spends a heck a lot of time obsessing about her romantic relationships.

About the only time we get a sense of Annie at work is when, restless with being pegged as the body-image writer, she heads off to rural Oregon to report on a far-right, anti-government family who may remind Oregonians of the Bundys, a clan that includes family members who staged an armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016.

In one of the show’s telling moments of naivete about publishing, Annie is horrified to find that Gabe (John Cameron Mitchell), her editor at The Thorn, has put a sensationalistic, “crazy clickbait” headline on her article.

“I am not canceled!” Annie protests, when colleagues and random Portlanders condemn her for giving a platform to the family’s objectionable views. “You must be feeling a lot of white guilt right now,” as someone tells her. But even that ultimately blows over, one of several plot elements that pop up and then fade away.

It’s likely not the fault of Bryant, West or executive producer and showrunner Alexandra Rushfield that the final season feels less like a conclusion to Annie’s story than an uncertain pause. During a virtual Television Critics’ Association winter press session, Rushfield said that as they went into Season 3 of “Shrill,” the creative team didn’t know this was going to be the final season.

“But we knew somewhere in the middle,” that Season 3 would be the end, Rushfield said. That gave them “enough time to make it an ending that we were good with,” she said. The ending “lands the characters in a good place,” Rushfield said, adding, “We feel good with the way it landed.”

Despite Rushfield’s remarks, by the final episodes, “Shrill” seems like the show is preparing for another season, leaving unresolved plot points dangling in the air. Bryant is very appealing, for example, but surely the show meant to dig into Annie’s self-absorption, and how it affects her and those around her.

The fate of The Thorn also isn’t quite clear. And we’re also left with some big questions about Fran (Lolly Adefope), Annie’s best friend and housemate, and her romance with Em (E.R. Fightmaster). It’s good to see Fran, who has, in the past, been characterized by her relationship to Annie, have her own story. We want to see more about how Fran will react to her relationship, but her emotions feel unconvincingly vague.

The performers are all good company, and guest appearances by “Portlandia” vet Fred Armisen and another “SNL” veteran, writer and performer Julio Torres (“Los Espookys”), liven things up for the brief moments they’re on.

Ultimately, by the time “Shrill” reaches its conclusion, it just feels unsettled. There’s more to this story, but we apparently won’t know what happens next.

“Shrill” Season 3 streams its eight episodes Friday, May 7, on Hulu.

By: Kristi Turnquist | Source

Vaccine Freebies and Incentives Are Starting to Pop Up Around Portland

Got your shot? Congrats—you qualify for a discount on pot. Or a free Jell-O shot!

shutterstock_1962017626_xfjq8q
Doughnuts, yes, but also discounts on weed and free Jell-O shots for the vaccinated among us in Portland. IMAGE: EWY MEDIA/SHUTTERSTOCK

In West Virginia, to lure the young, restless, and COVID vaccine-resistant (or even just those who haven’t gotten around to making their appointment), the Republican governor has a pretty sweet perk on offer: cold, hard cash.

The state’s offering a $100 savings bond to every resident between the ages of 16 and 35 who gets their shot, available retroactively and projected to cost about $27.5 million.

In the Portland area? Well, no free money as yet—but you can get a discount on weed or a free Jell-O shot, if that helps?

The concept of incentivizing vaccines (beyond the CDC’s announcement this week that if you are among the vaccinated, you can now feel free to walk around outside without your mask on, most of the time), got a big boost nationally back in March when Krispy Kreme jumped on the bandwagon with an offer of a free doughnut every day for a year, with proof of vaccination.

But in Portland proper, the concept has been slower to take off, perhaps because demand for vaccines has been high and space limited, though that could be changing, if Seattle’s example is any indication.

That’s part of why local cannabis chain Kaya Shack launched its “Pot for Shot” program, offering a 10 percent discount to anyone who brings in their vaccine card from now until the end of the pandemic, whenever that might be.

“We hope that even with our small reach, by encouraging and offering discounts to those who have been kind enough to get a vaccine, that we can all take part and help each other get back to enjoying our local restaurants and businesses that have been struggling for too long,” says Bryan Arnold, Kaya Shack’s Vice President of Marketing. “We have had many customers take advantage of the ‘Pot for Shot’ promotion and express their thankfulness for positively recognizing the importance of the COVID vaccine program.”

From over in Vancouver, WA, meanwhile, comes word that local bar Vault 31 is offering free —yes, free — Jell-O shots with proof of vaccination, as a thank you for customers who’ve rolled up their sleeves and done their part for the common good. (It does not hurt that those who’ve come for the Jell-O shots usually stick around to order food and drinks.)

Looking for even more freebies? Here’s a helpful national list—unfortunately, not too many of these apply in Oregon. We’re not in Lyft’s service area for free rides to vaccine appointments, and there are no White Castles in Oregon, just a sad Change.org petition with 17 signees from eight years ago petitioning the company to open a location here. Maybe it is time to move to West Virginia?

By Julia Silverman | Source here

Portland’s Oldest Bookstore Set to Close as Businesses Feel the Impacts of the Pandemic

The pandemic no doubt has had a huge impact on the business community, hundreds if not thousands of Oregon businesses have either closed their doors temporarily or permanently.

One of those businesses set to close is Cameron’s Books in downtown Portland. The business is touted as the oldest book store in Portland and has been in business for 83 years.

Owner Crystal Zingsheim says it is combinations of the pandemic, the last year of unrest and violence in downtown Portland and other factors.

Zingsheim says since the state of emergency was declared their revenue has declined by 90%. Zingheim says they held out longer than many other businesses downtown, but ultimately the challenges became too great.

“It is all of the above, you know, I think that it is just several overlapping crisis is all it is really,” Zingsheim said.

This business in not alone in calling it quits. Business Oregon says though the total impact of the pandemic won’t be known for a while it points to the most recent data that shows the scope of the impact in the early months of the pandemic.

According the government agency in the second quarter of 2020, nearly 13,000 businesses either closed permanently or temporarily. The average number of closures typically reported is 5,500.

The restaurant industry that has been hit particularly hard continues to see closures as well. According to the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging association so far in 2021 200 additional restaurants have closed. In 2020, ORLA says that 1,185 businesses closed while 770 opened.

“It has been a year like no other. There are businesses struggling, there are businesses making really hard decisions right now to stay open,” Amy Lewin with the Portland Business Alliance said.

Lewis however says the future is looking better.

“For our city center specifically we are seeing a reopening and more businesses reporting increased foot traffic, increased business and overall we are staying hopeful, though it has been challenging,” Lewin said.

Another sign things are getting better, the National Retail Federation says retail sales were up nearly 18 percent in March compared to the same time last year. The organization says consumer confidence is up and the outlook of the future continue to grow.

 By: John Hendricks | Source

 

Co-Housing During the Coronavirus: What are Seniors Up To?

44XXRV7XLVHBRKXTF2VVGS26RY
Ann Lehman | PDX Commons co-housing, The U-shaped building that residents collectively designed, built, own and manage makes interaction easier. There are walkways in front of the condos.

Even before the pandemic forced everyone to hunker down at home, 79-year-old Fran Rothman decided to move out of a townhouse and live the rest of her life where she would never feel alone.

The retired special education teacher and social worker settled into an arrangement that promised to grant that wish: Collaborating housing, or co-housing, in which everyone in the community agrees to share chores, solve problems and socialize together.

At PDX Commons, a 55 and older complex in Southeast Portland’s Sunnyside neighborhood, Rothman can open the front door of her condo and find camaraderie.

Neighbors she’s known over years of committee meetings and potlucks can be heard singing on their balconies. Folks wave at one another as they move about, and people not seen outside for a while are called to make sure they’re fine.

If it weren’t for COVID-19, the three dozen seniors living here would be looking forward to a dance party with a live rock and roll band. Instead, they continue to keep their distance while watching out for one another.

The U-shaped building they collectively designed, built, own and manage makes interaction easier.

There are walkways in front of the condos on the top three levels and next to the courtyard is a large meeting and dining space. Twice a week, resident foodies using the communal commercial-style kitchen take turns making dinners for everyone.

“Our meals rival Portland restaurants,” says Rothman. “We have great cooks who live here. We’re not talking about a pot of soup.”

Some of the ingredients are harvested from gardens residents tend to on the rooftop deck.

They take the elevator to the ground level to spend time in the library, media room with a big screen TV, or the craft and exercise room. In another wing is a workshop and bike storage as well as a dog-wash station.

Although the sit-down group dinners indoors are now masked affairs in which people bring their own plate to take home to eat, in good weather homeowners can be six feet apart outdoors around a fire pit.

“We all are in this together,” says resident Ann Lehman, 67, of the group that makes decisions by consensus. “The loneliness factor exists but not like for most adults living alone or even a couple by themselves or someone in a nursing home with their own room.”

Lehman says a perk of living with retirees who are regular hikers, bicyclists and campers is she can go for a walk with one of them without planning in advance.

Co-housing requires work

Each co-housing complex is unique, in physical size and configuration to work for the young families or empty nesters, or both, who live there. The private homes could be newly built or remodeled apartments. The communal space could be a multipurpose room or a century-old farmhouse.

The common goal: To coordinate efforts to benefit all.

People living in collaborative spaces buy a unit or sign a lease knowing they will interact often with their neighbors. People who want to control the activity may not like all the committees, writes Charles Durrett in ”Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent Living-The Handbook.”

Those who benefit desire traditional forms of community and a sense of belonging, according to Durrett.

“Living in community supports resilience,” says Eli Spevak, who lives at Cully Grove, a 16-unit co-housing community in Northeast Portland that his company, Orange Splot, co-developed with Zach Parrish in 2012.

“It also helps to live with people who have a wide range of skill sets, a nice level of trust and the ability to team up on group tasks,” Spevak says, adding these are “all handy things in case of catastrophe, whether that be earthquake, massive power outage or pandemic.”

Oregon has 30 co-housing communities, according to the CoHousing Association of the U.S.

Some are within walking distance of parks, shops, restaurants and grocery stores; others are remote or on acreage. All have a focus on sustainable living, reducing waste and keeping costs down with residents managing the finances and keeping up the property.

PDX Commons’ building, shared areas and private spaces were developed and constructed by Urban Development + Partners based on designs by Works Progress Architecture with residents’ input. J.R. Abbott Construction was the general contractor.

The condos have from 625 to 1,250 square feet of living space. All 27 were sold for between $355,000 and $720,000 before the building was completed in July 2017.

Today, an 846-square-foot condo with two bedrooms and two bathrooms and a north-facing balcony at 4262 S.E. Belmont St. #404 is for sale at $595,000.

Property taxes are $7,300 a year and homeowners association fees, at $557 a month, cover water, garbage pickup, recycling and community Wi-Fi and activities as well as property insurance for the building and a reserve fund.

 PDX Commons is participating in National Cohousing Open House Day on April 24 over Zoom (join in by filling out a contact form at pdxcommons.com/contact.

In agreement

Part of each owner’s continuing responsibilities is to work on committees.

Rothman is a member of the building, grounds and finance committees. One of her jobs is night watch, in which she makes sure outside doors are secured.

Events like a dance party are planned by the FunC (fun committee) and the gift-loan committee sorts out what people are donating or letting the community use, from a kayak to garden sculpture.

A retired nurse and a scientist contributed to the health committee, which sent group emails as facts became known about COVID-19.

When the coronavirus was even more of a mystery, people reacted to fears to different degrees.

“We made sure no one was so alone that they were scared,” says Lehman. “No one has been sick from COVID. Now, we’re struggling to make sure everyone gets vaccinated.”

Residents held Zoom meetings in March 2020 to agree on a code of conduct to reduce the risk of anyone contracting the virus.

As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hands are washed often, surfaces are sanitized and cleaning chores were stepped up.

Families and friends could not visit inside the complex or stay in one of the two shared guest rooms.

Residents with health conditions that made them more susceptible to COVID-19 had groceries delivered or neighbors shopped for them.

“Ultimately, if these are the people you live with, you are not going to jeopardize them,” says Rothman. “We supported everyone’s comfort zone.”

Over the last year, the residents have spent more time together, since no one was traveling, and they learned new skills. Many participated in national co-housing webchats and virtual conferences.

Lehman led yoga classes and other exercise sessions continued even when the teacher couldn’t enter the complex. Birthdays are celebrated by everyone standing on porches and blasting a favorite song on iTunes.

Over time, they formed small social pods with folks on the same floor.

“As we get older, it’s better to live around people than in your own space,” says Rothman. Experts agree that limited social support and stimulation can lead to isolation, which affects physical and mental health.

After Rothman and her partner moved to Portland from Sacramento seven years ago to enjoy the city’s cultural activities, good transportation and closeness to recreational camping area, they lived in a townhouse where neighbors were friendly, but there were no joint activities.

Rothman says a co-housing complex is a place in which relationships can thrive: “Where you can enjoy your neighbors, do things with them and share with them.”

— Janet Eastman | Source here

Grocery Workers, Realtors Among Oregon Front-Line Workers Eligible for Vaccine April 5th

The state announced Friday that people in Group 7 of Phase 1B will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine two weeks earlier than planned.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Kat Granum has worked in the real estate industry for eight years. She says the last year has been the most stressful.

“We’ve been working since the stay-at-home order hit,” she said. “Trying to use all the safety precautions. Masks, gloves when they were recommended.”

Granum has been waiting for her chance to get vaccinated, and it is going to happen sooner than she thought.

Realtors were slated to become eligible for a vaccine in mid-April, but the timeline has been accelerated. Realtors are now eligible for vaccinations beginning April 5.

“I got an email from the Oregon Realtors Association and I immediately told my husband,” Granum said. “I was just really excited to have the opportunity.”

Just as excited as Granum are grocery workers. They, too, can get a vaccine two weeks sooner than expected.

“These workers can’t work from home,” said Miles Eshaia of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 555. “They can’t work remotely. They’ve shown up to work everyday throughout all of this since the beginning. Having access to the vaccine if they want it is a really good thing.”

RELATED: Oregon moves up vaccine eligibility for front-line workers, adults with underlying conditions

There are dozens upon dozens of front-line workers who will become eligible for a vaccine as soon as the first Monday in April. Those working in food service, finance and the legal profession are included in the group.

“In keeping with Oregon’s commitment to equity, this change gives front-line workers and other [Phase 1B, Group 7] populations more time to get vaccinated,” said Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority.

Allen says the state is able to move up the vaccine timeline two weeks early because more and more doses are coming in from the federal government and counties and health providers are making progress vaccinating seniors.

Granum is ready for her shot. She plans to jump online and schedule a vaccine appointment as soon as she is allowed.

“I don’t know if it’s a day my kids get to go to school but if it is, I’ll be on the computer right after they leave.”

 Mike Benner | Source: here

What Might the Future of Live Music Look Like in Portland?

Advocates hope venues will rethink their profit models and center young, diverse talent when the COVID haze clears.

Portland music
Sotaè, Veana Baby, and Rain Ezra performing at Columbia Park. IMAGE: COURTESY CAROLINA NASCIMENTO-TOUTAN

Last summer, after Congress introduced the Save Our Stages Act to create grants for shuttered music venues, fans across the country wrote 2.1 million letters to their representatives asking them to support the bill. The National Independent Venue Association tallied the number of letters from specific jurisdictions, and the result? Oregonians wrote more than anyone else in the country. While the Oregon Shakespeare Festival received the largest grant from the $50 million in federal CARES Act funds distributed in the state, Portland music venues also saw a solid chunk of that money.

“Portland is a music city. Nashville didn’t come through and write millions of letters to their representatives,” says Jim Brunberg, vice president of NIVA and co-owner of Revolution Hall and Mississippi Studios (with just a little exaggeration). “Portland did.”

Now, with COVID keeping venues closed for the foreseeable future, some local experts say the Portland music scene has an opportunity to revisit its priorities when the pandemic ends. The major theme? Loop in young people, and center talent.

In 2015, André Middleton founded Friends of Noise, an organization that hopes to create an all-ages venue centered on young musicians and sound engineers. Last summer, Friends of Noise lobbied the city for CARES funding to create such a venue. It didn’t work out, as funds were already spoken for. Instead, the organization, which in pre-COVID times ran music business and sound engineering workshops for teenagers, has continued to act as a sort of talent agency for emerging musicians. Over the summer, it produced six concerts at local parks featuring young talent (all of whom the organization paid) and did pro bono sound production for about 20 Black Lives Matter protests in the metro area.

There are currently no small all-ages venues in the city. One of the barriers to keeping these clubs open is the labyrinth of rules that regulate alcohol sales in Oregon. Larger venues, like the Roseland and the Crystal Ballroom, have often struck a compromise where adults could buy alcohol if they stood in a specific area. But Middleton argues the business model of most venues, where alcohol sales are a profit center and the entertainers just a hook to draw people in, is fundamentally flawed.

“I would love it if Portland could have an arts venue where the sale of alcohol was secondary to creating a venue for the enjoyment of the artists,” Middleton says.

One option is a public-private partnership, or a local tax subsidizing venues specifically. Ultimately, Middleton wants to open a community venue in East Portland led by musicians color. “Obviously people of color are part of the music ecosystem in Portland, but they don’t get the profits that it generates,” he says.

Meara McLaughlin, executive director of advocacy group Music Portland, says new music business models might include VIP events or subscription services. She also notes the Centers for Disease Control is telegraphing that live music events should have firmer start and end times to allow for cleaning, which could have the unintended benefit of making them more accessible to audiences young and old who need to get up early for work or school. And in the near future, she says, touring isn’t going to be a possibility, so all live music will be local. That means Portlanders need to take extra care to support the local scene. If our letter writing is anything to go on, there’s plenty of reason to believe we will.

By Christen McCurdy

The article source can be found here.

25 Most Affordable Neighborhoods in the Portland Metro Area

An increasingly sought-after characteristic on the part of metro-area buyers has been affordability.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Since the Hottest ‘Hoods project began several years ago, the Business Journal has highlighted the ZIP codes with the most home sales, the fastest-selling homes and, of course, those with the highest-priced homes — measuring all as indicators of residential desirability.

However, an increasingly sought-after characteristic on the part of metro-area buyers has been affordability, something the region once prided itself on compared to other large West Coast cities.

SEE SLIDESHOW: 25 most affordable neighborhoods in the Portland metro area

Therefore, we’ve turned the Hottest ‘Hoods project on its head to highlight the ZIP codes where first-time homebuyers and lower-income buyers might have a better shot at finding a home they can afford. The data is based on 2020 sales data from the Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS) and property tax rates obtained from SmartAsset’s Property Tax Calculator.

To do so, we equally weighted the average sale price, the median sale price and the number of homes sold in 2020, along with the relevant county’s property tax rate multiplied by the median sale price. Ranking ties were broken using the lower average sale price.

RELATED: US adds a strong 379,000 jobs in hopeful sign for economy

Of course, a lot of other factors may influence a home’s affordability, such as mortgage interest rates, utility bills, energy efficiency and cost to commute to work, but the index we’ve created gives one a good idea of some of the most affordable places to live in and around Portland.

Despite the pandemic and associated economic recession, home prices have generally continued to rise in the Portland region. According to RMLS data, the average median sale price in 100 metro-area ZIP codes increased 7.8% last year to $459,034. And according to Realtor.com, the median listing price for the metro area reached $525,000 in January of this year, up 9.2% from January of last year when it was $480,748.

RELATED: New Portland economic report shows pandemic has hurt low-income, BIPOC and women the most

recent report by the Oregon Employment Department, examined whether the pandemic made the state’s real estate market any more affordable. In it, regional economist Damon Runberg noted: “In an unexpected turn we have seen a large increase in the demand for housing during this pandemic recession. The high demand has led to historically low inventories of residential real estate for many communities across the state. High demand and low inventory is leading to dramatic home price appreciation, further increasing concerns around housing affordability.”

Stories from KGW reporters:

https://youtu.be/xBqkjFmy9cQ

 Brandon Sawyer (Portland Business Journal)

Source: here