Sewer Repair Project: Street drilling starts July 5

Over about two weeks beginning Tuesday, July 5, city crews will drill holes in streets and take soil, rock and pavement samples to help plan next year’s sewer repairs. You are forgiven for retorting that our streets already have enough holes. 😉

Within the Woodstock neighborhood boundary, locations include: Read More»

Toxic air: A Woodstock-specific update

woodstockhotspots
Click the map image to see it larger.

As you’ve probably heard, the U.S. Forest Service measured Portland moss samples in 2013 and found some locations with high levels of toxic elements. More details released earlier in June indicate that two locations within the Woodstock neighborhood boundary are among the top eight for nickel and cadmium — but they have not been characterized by the DEQ as within the top tier of four locations with the most discouraging results. Read More»

Air Toxics Update

spaqblogPassing on a few important news items discussed at the South Portland Air Quality meeting held at Pizza Roma on Saturday — all of which can also be found on the excellent South Portland Air Quality blog (clicking the graphic will take you there). Read More»

WNA Wants You! Board Nominations Due May 4

Screenshot 2016-04-03 at 11.10.52 PMLend a little of your time and energy to Woodstock, and help make a great place to live even greater. Nominate yourself or a friend for one of the following WNA Board positions by May 4.

  • Chair
  • Co-Chair, Land Use Committee
  • Chair, Friends of the Woodstock Community Center
  • Financial Manager, Friends of the Woodstock Community Center
  • Web Administrator
  • Chair, Events Committee
  • Area Representative

The Woodstock Neighborhood Association’s annual board election is just around the corner, and we are looking for a few good candidates. We have rather big shoes to fill, in that Terry Griffiths and Lonnie Port are both stepping down after many dedicated years of service as chairpersons of the Land Use Committee and Friends of the Woodstock Community Center, respectively.

We welcome people with new ideas and vision to join our volunteer team. Anyone who is nominated or nominates themselves should possess a strong interest and preferably some experience that matches the board opening — but mentoring is available, so don’t be shy if you’re a little green but want to gain valuable experience. Neighborhood Associations are a great place to learn and practice leadership skills within a supportive community. There are also openings for “neighborhood rep” in different sections of the neighborhood.

For more info, contact WNA Chair Becky Luening at info@woodstockpdx.org.

Update: Plans in Flux for Park’s Off-leash Area

Cross-section of the If you’re a frequent user of Woodstock Park, you may be wondering why previously reported plans for a natural divider between the dog off-leash area (DOLA) and the playground have not progressed. At this writing, it appears the parks department has the project on hold due to concerns received directly from park neighbors. There is talk of an extended planning/presentation/feedback process. Watch for details here as they emerge.

Background: tensions ran high last fall when a child was injured by a dog on the playground. The parks department proposed a divider between the playground and the adjacent dog off-leash area (DOLA for short). At February’s meeting of the Woodstock Neighborhood Association (first Wednesday of each month, 7 p.m. at the Woodstock Community Center), city reps presented what they had in mind for spring. You can download and view their presentation, but keep in mind it’s a big (7MB) PDF file.

 

Land Use: Beware demolitions via “historically narrow lots”

By Terry Griffiths

The City of Portland is misrepresenting what it calls “historically narrow lots” to bypass a safeguard intended to slow down home demolitions. It betrays both current zoning and a compromise made with neighborhoods in 2003, affecting about a quarter of the Woodstock neighborhood’s single-family homes. (See the map below.) To better understand the deception, come along on a quick trip through time.

Wdstk-Residential-Zones-&-Platts
Click the map to see it larger.

Read More»

Spring Gardening Alert: Beware Sinkholes

cesspool
This isn’t David’s sinkhole, but it’s similar.

Beware, gardeners: After a winter’s heavy rain, your yard could swallow you whole. That was one takeaway from the neighborhood association’s February meeting, where Woodstock neighbor David Nordstrom shared his hair-raising encounter with a sinkhole.

In short, David stepped out in his yard at SE Insley near 60th one evening, felt the ground give way beneath him, and found himself in a slim, brick-lined pit nine feet deep. He escaped serious injury and began an investigation.

The pit turned out to be a cesspool, a popular option for sewage disposal in years gone by. Typically a house’s toilet(s) were piped to it, with the brick lining slowing the absorption of sewage into the soil. David’s house is from 1948, but others at the meeting reported finding similar pits at houses built as late as 1954. A similar kind of vintage pit is a cistern or drywell for rain drainage, like the one responsible for a death in 2010. Either could be covered with wood, then layers of soil. Eventually the wood rots, and then….

David found a permit to fill his pit on file from 2006, before the house was his. The permit’s status, nearly ten years later, was still “under review,” so apparently the work was never completed. David recommended looking up your house on Portland Maps and checking for any incomplete permits. He also recommended City of Portland employee Erin Mick as someone who can guide you through the process of “decommissioning” — that is, filling — any pit you find lurking.

That was last month. Who knows what you’ll learn at the next Woodstock Neighborhood Association meeting: first Wednesday of each month, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Woodstock Community Center (5905 SE 43rd Ave.).

See Plans for Woodstock Park’s Off-leash Area

Cross-section of the At Woodstock Park, tensions ran high last fall when a child was injured by a dog on the playground. The city’s parks department proposed a divider between the playground and the adjacent dog off-leash area (DOLA for short). At February’s meeting of the Woodstock Neighborhood Association (first Wednesday of each month, 7 p.m. at the Woodstock Community Center), city reps presented what they have in mind. You can download and view their presentation, but keep in mind it’s a big (7MB) PDF file.

In a nutshell: It’s a gently curving border comprised of both shorter plants and taller trees, with a bench on either side but no formal fence. It’s intended to have enough presence to define the separate areas, but remain open enough that folks can see past it.

The presenters said that intentions are firm for installation this spring. They warned that initial activity won’t look like much; it will involve adding amendments to the soil and other prep work. Then the plants will be installed over about three days. The benefits should be immediate, though the plants will need about three years to get fully established.

The cost is estimated at about $22,000, to be picked up largely by the city. There may be a “memorial naming opportunity” for the two benches, to offset part of that cost; stay tuned for details.

So what do you think? Does this fit the need to keep the two uses separate without making anyone feel locked in?

Beyond Lawn Signs: Ten Reasons to Volunteer

Lawn signA recent editorial in The Bee opined that “2015 has been a year of disgruntlement in Inner Southeast,” over issues connected with zoning changes, residential infill and more. “Some residents seem frustrated that these things go on, and react with lawn signs,” observes the editor. But “lawn signs are unlikely to bring about change.”

Well, maybe it’s time to get “re-gruntled.” To help define what activism beyond the lawn can look like, here are ten reasons to volunteer with the Woodstock Neighborhood Association.

  • Connect with neighbors. Meet, network and collaborate with others who live, work and do business in Woodstock.
  • Get rooted. Embrace the small-town atmosphere of Woodstock and cultivate community close to home.
  • Be a Friend of the Woodstock Community Center. We are lucky to have our very own community center. Make a solid contribution to the neighborhood by donating time to the “Friends” group that helps maintain the WCC in partnership with Portland Parks and Recreation.
  • Make an impact by sharing your expertise. WNA has “good bones” and volunteer board members with a variety of skills and experience. You may be just the person we need to round out our team.
  • Hone valuable skills in a supportive environment while building your rĂ©sumĂ©. Organizational and communication skills needed to run an all-volunteer organization are critical in the business sphere as well.
  • Be a mover and shaker. WNA provides a channel for information and a forum for discussion and action on many different issues that impact our neighborhood.
  • Organize the project or event of your dreams. WNA has a ready-made support structure just waiting for your initiative and leadership.
  • Get rewarded. Some employers actually offer bonuses to employees for donating time to nonprofit organizations.
  • Have a good time. Oh yeah; volunteering can be fun!
  • Make a great neighborhood even greater. Need we say more?

Planning Your Garden? Annual Sale Seeks Donated Plants

Flowering plants
Hybrid Lewisias grown from seed by Woodstock resident Larry Gooding.

 

Each year the Woodstock Neighborhood Association holds a pre-Mothers Day plant sale to support maintenance of the Woodstock Community Center. The success of that spring sale may depend on garden plans you’re making right now.

All the plants for the sale are donated, often due to folks redesigning their gardens. Are you considering a new look this year? Consider donating the plants you’re planning to replace. Perennials, herbs, ground covers, native plants, grasses, houseplants, small trees and shrubs are all welcome. You can also donate divided perennials along with vegetable starts and seedling volunteers.

This year’s sale is scheduled for Saturday, May 7. Drop off your plant contributions on Friday, May 6, between noon and 7 p.m. at the Woodstock Community Center (5905 SE 43rd). If you need empty pots or an alternate drop-off time, call Terry Griffiths at 503-771-0011.

Proceeds from the plant sale go to the Woodstock Community Center maintenance fund, which pays for custodial service and supplies, painting supplies and some landscaping needs. The fund supplements neighborhood volunteering, a key part of the agreement with Portland Parks that keeps the center open and available for community use.