The current animosity against neighborhood associations in some corners of City Hall is based on the premise that neighborhood associations (NAs) serve the affluent much better than they serve the marginalized portion of our community. The 3.96 Code Change Project is meant to correct this imbalance. The critique is valid, and the goal is necessary, even if the process has been deeply flawed. (Google “Portland 3.96” for a broad range of information on the topic).
The East Columbia Neighborhood Association, like just about every NA in the city, objects to the direction that the Office of Community and Civic Life has taken with the code rewrite process, and intends to see it handled differently. However, we take to heart the criticism that we have not been inclusive enough, and if we want to remain relevant, change is necessary to open up opportunities to our neighbors who haven’t felt included.
Those changes need to include:
- Active diversity outreach
- Color, ethnicity, gender
- Cross-over projects with other civic groups
- Language translation for non-English speaking residents
My vision for the East Columbia NA is as a service organization that works to improve the quality of life for all of our residents, and that requires open communication with all members of our community.
I have some requests:
- If you have issues that the East Columbia NA can help you with, please speak up. These issues might include:
- Conflict resolution with other neighbors
- Help navigating city bureaucracy
- Help finding support programs for personal crises such as drug intervention, financial assistance, or elder care.
- Projects to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood
- If you have civic expertise and would like to partner with the East Columbia NA in creating a network of community support, please speak up. We need to develop a comprehensive and vibrant list of all of the assets in our community, so we can help each other. These assets might be:
- Non-Governmental Organizations with links to our neighborhood.
- Social Workers or City employees with programs or expertise that can help our neighbors.
- Historians or other experts in local issues.
- If you want to help the East Columbia NA make a difference and stay relevant to the needs of the community, please speak up. We need your participation to make changes to ourselves and to the world around us. The more tightly interwoven we are as a community, the stronger we are, whether in an emergency, or in our day-by-day lives.
All of our meetings are open to the public, and you can speak to us in person, or you can write me at email@example.com or contact me on Next Door Neighbor.
29 August 2019