FLIP meeting tonight, and other tidbits from the NA meeting

The Foster-Lents Integration Partnership (FLIP) community engagement workshop is tonight. I know that was a mouthful, so here’s the skinny: the PDC formed FLIP through the Foster Corridor Investment Strategy, which was meant to address the many needs of Foster Road and its surrounding neighborhoods. FLIP was meant to be a collaboration between the various stakeholders in the neighborhood, and they would then be tasked with setting priorities for development along Foster. So, to get in on the action and make your thoughts heard, you’re invited to the first community engagement workshop…tonight. The meeting will be held at the Wattles Boys and Girls Club at 9330 SE Harold, starting at 5:30.

In other neighborhood news, plans are taking shape for this year’s FoPo garden tour. The date has not been set yet, but it’s expected to be in mid- to late-June. In the meantime, if you are interested in participating, potential garden hosts are invited to a planning meeting this Saturday, April 14, at 10:30. If you do want to participate, email fopogardens@gmail.com.

Speaking of gardens, Vicki Wilson has been hard at work for nearly a year trying to create  a community garden at SE 62nd and Powell. The vacant asphalt lot is owned by ODOT, and supposedly covers what’s left of an old gas station. For that reason, Wilson’s original plan was denied. However, the original proposal involved taking control of and depaving the lot. Wilson amended her proposal and inquired about placing raised beds on top of the asphalt. ODOT appeared somewhat more amenable, and they are now reviewing the new plan. It is our hopes the coming months will reveal what ODOT can allow for the site. If and when we get the go-ahead, we’ll be soliciting the neighborhood for supplies (wood, soil, etc). Stay tuned for more.

Vicki Wilson, along with her husband, is also taking part in the creation of a mural on the old Phoenix Drugs building at SE 67th and Foster. Aided by a Graffiti Abatement grant from Southeast Uplift, the duo has sketched a few designs for the west-facing wall of the building, which would peer over the north side of Foster. Initial concepts include paying homage to the original owner of the building, John Leach (of the Botanical Garden fame), illustrating the phoenix-like qualities of the site (apparently a previous owner tried to burn the building multiple times to collect an insurance claim), and depicting Foster Road in some form. The artists will present a more detailed design at the next NA meeting in May.

Also in May will be our annual neighborhood cleanup, a fundraising effort for the Foster-Powell and Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Associations. The cleanup will be held May 5 at Arleta Elementary, from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. Most of everything will be taken except yard debris and electrical items (it’s suggested you donate the latter to Goodwill). This is the NA’s biggest fundraiser of the year, so please consider holding off on that run to the dump, and save your trash until May. The fee per car load will be less than if you went to the dump.

Finally, PHC Northwest has identified a site they want to locate their proposed charter school. Hoping to become the first public charter school in SE Portland that serves middle school kids, PHC Northwest will be submitting plans in July for a vacant, 18,000 square foot building on SE 74th and Center. The proposal calls for an eventual 300+ kids who will receive proficiency-based assessment, hands-on-learning opportunities, community and family focus, and preparation for high school academics. PHC Northwest is currently seeking neighborhood feedback, so feel free to share your ideas and concerns directly with them. Lynden Evans is the project director, and can be reached at levans@phcnw.com.

Thats’ all, folks. Have a good week.

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9 Responses to FLIP meeting tonight, and other tidbits from the NA meeting

  1. John Mulvey says:

    How widely publicized has this FLIP “community engagement” event been? This is the first I’m hearing of it. No one I know even knows what the FLIP is, but it does seem to have a great deal of authority over anything the city does, including our 10-year-old Foster safety plan.

    • It hasn’t been as publicized as it should be. My guess is that just enough of the right people know about it, and that alone gives an appearance the outreach is being done. We’ve been trying to get the word out as much as possible, though.

      You’re right, there’s the potential for a lot of decision-making at the FLIP table. We’re crossing our fingers the Streetscape Plan doesn’t get caught up in yet another process. We’ve been down that road already.

      Hope you’re keeping well, John. Hopefully we run into each other soon.

  2. Nick Falbo says:

    I attended the FLIP event. In truth, it was called a ‘public engagement’ event not because they were trying to engage the public, but rather because the topic of the meeting was ‘public engagement’. Hopefully we’ll be hearing more about the FLIP and planning with more advance notice in the future.

    This was their first official publicly accessible meeting, and they were surprised by the public turnout that did show up. Their concept for the FLIP is pretty high-level, and I think they are going to have a hard time convincing the public this isn’t just some more planning bullshit. Yes, it’s important to make informed, decisions, and yes it’s important to see where improvements can serve multiple purposes as once, but this is a neighborhood that is sick and tired of waiting.

    Unfortunately, my first impression is that the streetscape plan will indeed get bogged down under this process. On the outside, their task is simple. They need to answer the question of how the recent plans for foster as a future Streetcar and Bikeway corridor mesh with the historic plans for streetscape and safety improvements. But under the FLIP framework, everything is made more complex as the planners try to find ways to tie these improvements in with other needs (economic development, and flooding in particular).

    Maybe this approach of combing efforts and goals will help us more quickly and efficiently achieve our desired outcomes. Or maybe it’ll just be another year of waiting for a vital 10 year old plan to finally be implemented.

    John, I’d love to talk with you more about this – send me an email: nick.falbo at gmail.com

    -Nick

    • Thanks for reporting back, Nick. I know a lot of people in the neighborhood are a bit jaded about FLIP’s added layer of planning and process, which appears to be one more hoop that will have to be jumped through to see Foster Road get the attention/upgrades it deserves.

      Folks have been waiting nearly 10 years for the streetscape plan, and just when it appeared there was movement and some political pressure to make it happen, we are left waiting…again.

      The Mayor’s office is supposed to contact the NA next week with a proposal to fast-track some of the safety improvements called for in the streetscape plan. This is the result of a meeting folks from FPNA and MSANA had with ol’ Sam a couple weeks back. Hopefully we’ll hear something positive. As for the FLIP, I’ll remain hopeful something comes of it…but my better senses tell me not to hold my breath. I hope I’m wrong.

    • John Mulvey says:

      Hi Nick,

      I just emailed you.

      There are several things that concern me about how this is going. Over two years ago
      there was a (yet another) group, this one called the Transportation and Infrastructure Task Force. I and many others from the area participated and the result was a list of projects that PDC would fund, including the Foster Streetscape.

      Now the FLIP has the authority to prioritize spending in the area, which apparently includes revisiting our project and (again) reassessing it against a bunch of other needs. Yet the other items that the Transportation and Infrastructure group identified are all moving forward. The Lents Town Center Streetscape, the residential street LID, and the Ramona Green Street, to name just a few off the top of my head.

      I’m waiting for the next shoe to drop, which is PDC suddenly announcing that this new entity has revisited funding for Foster. The PDC has tried to get out from under having to fund this ever since Foster was added to the URA –and now somehow they’re back in charge of the whole thing again, after seemingly finishing their peice three years ago.

      I’m also concerned that this “plan refresh” isn’t necessary or warranted –but various city staffers have decided that it’s necessary anyway. Maybe it’s the lawyer in me, but I don’t think they have the authority to order a “refresh” of a plan that’s been approved the Council. But they’re doing it.

      What they –and sadly, even some well-intentioned people in our neighborhood –don’t seem to realize is that every time they declare a new and “better” public involvement process they’re in effect throwing all previous citizen groups’ work out the window. What are the thousands of hours spent by volunteers over ten years worth? Not a lot, I guess.

      I don’t think we’ll ever get anything done on the ground until PDC is taken off the project and PBOT can go forward with Design and Engineering. There’s not a single reason why PBOT can’t take it from here, in consultation with a small Citizen Committee made up of people from the area.

      Anyway, rant over (for now).

      -John

  3. Angela Cortal says:

    Hi there, might you folks be willing to post meetings, events, announcements that relate to the whole Foster cooridor on the “I love lents” facebook page? I do remember you folks (announcing FLIP) from a Lents NA meeting some months ago, but I don’t think many of us on this side of 82nd are aware of meetings such as this. I happened to catch this announcement and passed along that day (being a FoPo fb fan). I’m just a regular neighborhood volunteer, and was surprised that those more involved than I (such as NA board members) weren’t aware of the meeting (they’re always the ones telling me what’s going on with the URAC, PDC, etc). Having grown up blocks from Arleta, I love the whole Foster area and am interested in all the improvement plans being made.

    • Angela,

      We’d love to have more collaboration with the Lentils, as our love for Foster definitely extends beyond 82nd. If you know who runs the “I Love Lents” site, perhaps you can put them in touch with us.

      These are exciting and changing times, so the sharing of information will be important to keep our communities connected and growing in the right direction.

      Cheers!

  4. pdxmercado says:

    Hi folks – anyone know how I might be able to reach out to the folks at FLIP?

  5. Hey Ellen,

    I emailed you the FLIP info.

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