About ECNA

Contact

ECNA Board Members

Gary Kunz – Chair
Karen Myers – Treasurer
Helene Henry – Secretary
Ron Myers
Sally Beck
Ron Beck
Elizabeth Russel
Judy Hickman

Anthony Giltner – Land Use Committee
Gyrid Hyde Towle – Park Committee
Val Humble – Web Master

ECNA Meetings

Neighborhood Meetings are held quarterly on the 2nd Tuesday of February, May, August and November from 7 to 8:30pm at the Columbia Community Bible Church, 420 NE Marine Drive.

All are Welcome!


To contact us, email ValHumble at gmail.com

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About ECNA

Resources

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City of Portland services phone numbers

Click here

Some important phone numbers

  • Abandoned Vehicles
    503-823-7309
  • Graffiti Abatement
    503-823-5860
  • Report Illegal Dumping
    503-234-3000
  • City Information & Referral
    503-823-4000
  • City & County Mult. Co. Animal Services
    503-988-7387
  • Noise Complaints (City)
    503-823-7350
  • Airport Noise Management Office
    503-460-4100
  • Nuisance Complaints
    503-823-7806
  • Police — Non-Emergency
    503-823-3333
  • To report potholes
    503-823-BUMP (2867)
  • Issues with sign and intersection Visibility due to vegetation
    503-823-5211
  • Sidewalk Maintenance
    503-823-1711
  • Crime Prevention Coordinator
    503-823-4094
  • Portland Bureau of Police, Neighborhood Response Team, North Precinct
    Officer Bob Boynton
    503-823-5833

Multnomah County Drainage District

  • Peggidy Yates Executive Director
    503-281-5675 x300

Annual Neighborhood Events

  • Saturday ?????, 2020 – Arboretum Cleanup  10:00 – 12:00
  • Saturday ?????, 2020 – Neighborhood Garage Sale
  • -postponed- ECNA Community Cleanup (with Bridgeton)
  • Saturday ?????, 2020 – Summer Picnic
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About ECNA

Neighborhood History

East Columbia is a Portland neighborhood bordered roughly by Marine Drive on the north, the Columbia Slough on the south, Interstate 5 on the west and the Levee Road dike on the east. The area’s history has been shaped by the character of its wetlands and its role as a link between Portland and Vancouver. Before it was annexed to Portland, this general area was known as Faloma.

Early Years

Native Americans of the Multnomah tribe living on nearby Sauvie Island hunted and fished along Columbia Slough for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.

Late 1700s

Early European explorers brought unfamiliar diseases to these tribes. Epidemics drastically reduced their numbers, and the malaria epidemic of the 1830s killed about 90 percent of them.

1805-1806

The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed nearby but did not camp here.

1846

John Switzler and his family settled here. He supplied Fort Vancouver with cattle, which he pastured where Columbia Edgewater members now play golf. He also ran a post office and the first Portland-Vancouver ferry. The fare was 50 cents for a pedestrian and one dollar for a horse and rider.

1888

The Portland and Vancouver Railroad reached Switzler’s ferry landing.

1905-1910

Local residents built a rough dike along the Columbia.

1907

The original Columbia School was built as a one-room schoolhouse.

1908

Portland Yacht Club was founded on the Willamette River. In 1926 they floated their clubhouse and boathouses to the current Marine Drive site.

1917

Peninsula Drainage District #2 was formed to manage area flood threats.

1921

A more substantial river dike was constructed.

1925

Columbia Edgewater Country Club opened.

1936

The Flood Control Act led to dike improvements by the Corps of Engineers over the next few years.

1937

Columbia School was rebuilt to its current size.

1942-1943

Henry Kaiser created Vanport nearby to provide homes for shipyard workers during World War II. Their children attended Columbia School.

May 30, 1948

Flooding from a levee break destroyed Vanport, which was never rebuilt. The Vanport Flood also reached East Columbia. The Corps of Engineers soon strengthened the levees enough to withstand a 100-year flood.

1952

Jubitz Truck Stop opened.

Early 1960s

The Interstate 5 freeway was built.

1964

The “Christmas Flood” spurred evacuation, but the area did not flood.

1964-1965

Columbia School became a middle school and part of the Portland Public School District. It created an outdoor classroom that is now the Columbia Children’s Arboretum, administered by Portland Parks and Recreation.

Early 1970s

Portland annexed East Columbia, established commercial zoning here and required sewers. Area residents organized to deal with the high cost of sewer installation.

June 1977

East Columbia Neighborhood Association was formed.

1980

At this point in its history, East Columbia included widely-spaced homes, recreational areas, open meadows, vegetable farms, horse stables, dog kennels and businesses related to the trucking industry.

1983

Columbia School closed as a general school. Today, it provides classes for children with special social and emotional needs.

1990

As of the 1990 census, East Columbia, with 475 acres, had 474 people living in 238 households.

1993

The Albina Community Plan opened zoning for higher density housing.

1996-1997

Lija Loop added 32 new homes to the area. Other new houses expanded Meadow Drive and Faloma Road during the 1990s.

2000

By the 2000 census, East Columbia had grown to 753 people living in 282 households. In 1999-2000, Blue Heron Meadows added 104 new homes.

2003-2004

Mariner’s Gale/Loop brought 86 new households to East Columbia.

Nov. 2009

East Columbia Neighborhood Association expanded its borders to welcome Deltawood and Fox Hollow residents and Hayden Meadows businesses.

2010

As of the 2010 census, East Columbia has a population of 1,750.

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About ECNA

Columbia Childrens’ Arboretum: Portland’s Hidden Treasure

The Columbia Children’s Arboretum is the geographical and social heart of East Columbia. Tall stands of cottonwoods hide it from sight, with a handful of paths and a gravel lane as its only access. Its 28 acres of trees, grassland and waterways provide a quiet home for deer, rabbits, waterfowl and many other animals. But on occasion, this park also hums with schoolchildren learning about nature or neighborhood potlucks on long summer afternoons.

The arboretum’s heart is a 4.5-acre expanse of meadow edged with trees. In 1904, when landscape architect John Olmsted was developing an overall plan for Portland parks, he visited East Columbia. The long meadow vistas in the area reminded him of those his famous father, Frederick Law Olmsted, had included when he designed New York’s Central Park and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

John Olmsted proposed that the city buy hundreds or even thousands of acres from local farmers for what he called Columbia Slough Park. This didn’t happen; at the time, this land was not even part of Portland.

Instead, the new Columbia School District #33 bought the current arboretum acreage in the 1920s for a high school that was never built. When Portland Public Schools took over the land in 1964, Columbia School principal Bill Warner and teacher Betty Campbell saw its educational potential. They created the innovative GROW program (Growth through Research, Organization and Work).

Students designed three separate uses for the land: an orchard and organic garden near NE Sixth Avenue; a natural area for the opposite end; and in between, an arboretum of trees representing every state.

All kinds of individuals and groups pitched in to make this a reality. Marines used bulldozers to remove blackberries and create a pond with an island. U.S. Fish and Wildlife stocked this pond with fish. The Rose Society donated rosebushes. The Oregon Association of Nurserymen provided trees and the Rotary Club supplied labels for them. Installing markers for future tree locations became a local Boy Scout project. Local architects helped students with plans for a shelter, but it has never been built because the site has no utilities.

During the 1970s, several states contributed seedlings for the “Grove of 50 States.” A quarter of a century later, one former student still remembers Hawaii’s answer to her request letter; they thought no Hawaiian tree would thrive in our Northwest climate.

When Columbia School was closed as a middle school in 1983, the GROW program shifted to Whitaker School, three miles away. Other schools also visited the arboretum occasionally on field trips. But the cost of transportation soon made frequent trips a problem, and GROW only lasted until the early 1990s. The garden area became a school bus parking site.

The neighborhood association established a Columbia Children’s Arboretum Preservation Committee to guide the area’s future use. For years the committee has sponsored monthly work parties to keep the land and plantings in good condition. It helped develop the East Columbia Management Plan—the first natural resources management plan in Portland. This 1980 plan described key policies for the arboretum’s use: promote environmental education; increase recreational opportunities for residents; promote conservation; protect unique and sensitive resources; provide wetland mitigation areas; maintain wildlife corridors; buffer wetland from new developments.

In 1999, Portland Parks and Recreation bought the arboretum from the school district. In March 2004, the department completed the Columbia Children’s Arboretum Management Plan. The document serves as a long-term vision for this new city park. It incorporates the concerns of East Columbia residents, especially in terms of balancing natural areas with possible improvements. It calls for adding paths, play areas and more parking when future funds become available. At the same time, it emphasizes the need to maintain the pastoral flavor of the park, especially the central meadow.

In the meantime, students still occasionally arrive by bus to learn about the natural environment. Portland’s Urban Forestry and Community Gardens program holds clinics here where people can learn about tree care. Neighbors continue to take solo walks in the park or gather for summer potlucks. And their children continue to discover secret trails among the cottonwoods.

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About ECNA

About East Columbia

East Columbia

East Columbia is a very unique neighborhood due to its wetlands, open space and drainage ways combined with residential, industrial, and agricultural uses. East Columbia is surrounded by three golf courses and bordered on the north by the Columbia River. The entire neighborhood is in a managed floodplain.

Much of the area that is now East Columbia was annexed into Portland in the 1970s. What was once farmland, historically flooded land, and wetlands is now designated for low density residential, commercial, and industrial uses. East Columbia is also in the noise and height overlay zones for Portland International Airport.

Wildlife are regularly seen in the neighborhood including deer, coyote, rabbit, waterfowl, migrating flocks of birds, hawks, eagles, osprey and blue heron.

Since 1999 over 450 new homes have been built, melding new, suburban type housing with older farm house, pasture land, and large lots with older homes built in the 30s and 40s.

East Columbia has a Natural Resource Management Plan created and adopted in 1990 – the first of its kind for the City of Portland. It provides a vision of how the residents envisioned the stewardship and growth for the unique land use issues that the neighborhood faces.

The Columbia Children’s Arboretum is located just off Meadow Drive and is a natural park, maintained by a small group of volunteers and the Portland Parks Bureau. An annual picnic is held in the park each July.

The neighborhood has a nine member board, elected for two year terms. Neighborhood meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month from 7-8:30pm at the Columbia Community Church, 410 NE Marine Drive. A monthly neighborhood newsletter is emailed, and distributed throughout the neighborhood.

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