January 18, 2013


Dear Friends,

The upcoming Sellwood Bridge closure is a necessary step in the effort to replace the aging bridge. Thankfully, the bridge will only be closed for a short time (Jan. 17-24) but it will be a bit quieter for businesses in Sellwood and Westmoreland. Sellwood neighbor Heather Koch offers this great advice on how to support our local businesses through the bridge closure:

Take advantage of the local shops, services and restaurants in the Sellwood neighborhood. Here are a few things to do:
shop for groceries in Sellwood and Westmoreland
get a jump on shopping for birthday, valentine and other gifts on your list
check out that new or old shop you've wondered about but not gone into before
schedule a breakfast, lunch or dinner with family or friends
Keep up with your new years resolution goals and head to yoga, pilates, or fitness classes
Although some stores will be taking the time to do repairs and remodels, there will likely be ads in The Bee and The Oregonian featuring sales. Please spread the word, mark your calendars, and help support your neighbors.

Deborah Kafoury 

Sellwood Bridge is moving! 

On Sat. Jan. 19th, the Sellwood Bridge deck will be moved, or "translated," to the north so that it can become the new detour bridge. The process will take all day and, while it might be somewhat equivalent to watching paint dry, it marks an important step in the building of our new bridge.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Sellwood Bridge translation

What will it be like to watch the bridge move?
The bridge will be moved very slowly to ensure it is not damaged during the move. The contractor will move it a few inches, then take measurements to ensure it is properly positioned before moving it a few more inches. The movement will be too slow for the human eye to detect in real time from a distance.

Where's the best place to view the move?
You can watch the bridge move throughout the move on the project's web camera. A short time-lapse video of the move will be posted to the website shortly after the move.

Are there places near the bridge to watch?
Sellwood Riverfront Park on the northeast side of the bridge (SE Spokane Street and SE Oaks Park Way) is a public space where the bridge move can be viewed. The park has very limited space for public parking. Visitors may need to park several blocks away and walk to the park. SE Spokane Street will be closed west of SE Oaks Park Way the day of the bridge move. The public is encouraged to view the bridge move or time-lapse video online, due to limited space onsite.

Can I watch from a boat on the river?
For safety reasons, the river under the bridge will be closed to boats the day of the bridge move. Unauthorized boats will need to remain 500 feet from the bridge operation. The Sheriff's River Patrol will enforce the river closure.

Marathon Education Partners: Making College Dreams a Reality

Last week, I met with Emma Gray, executive director of Marathon Education Partners. Marathon combines mentoring and financial support to help academically successful children from low income families find a pathway to college.

Beginning in 4th grade, the children or "Scholars," are paired with adult or family "Partners" who agree to pledge $100 a month for 10 years toward a college savings fund and to check in monthly with their Scholars. To date, 100 percent of the first class of Scholars went on to college.

The program is looking for new Partners. Though it is definitely a financial commitment, Emma tells me that many Partners find that sacrificing the $100 was less difficult than they expected. For many of these children, college wasn't even a dream before they learned about Marathon.

Please take the time to learn more about this important program

How you can help a Veteran 

Steve Duin's recent column in The Oregonian featured Mark Gunderson, a homeless veteran who is working to find housing. It was an incredibly moving piece about a man working to put his life back together, and specifically, seeking housing in a very tight rental market with a less than stellar rental history.

At the end of the story, Steve provided contact information for landlords who want to help if they have an apartment to rent to a veteran. Contact Home Forward's Dedicated Landlord Services team at landlordservices@homeforward.org or call 503-823-8333 (Option 6).

Here's a link to the article.

Spirit of giving 2013

This holiday season I was moved by the number of people who went out of their way to help
someone in need. One friend, for the fifth year in a row, raised money to provide gift cards
to families at the school where he teaches, allowing kids and their families to have a celebration they otherwise would not have had.

Please think about continuing that spirit of giving all year long. Here are a few opportunities where you can make a difference with your time or dollars today:

1. JOIN is located at 1435 NE 81st Ave, Suite 100. They are currently in need of socks, gloves, hats and sleeping bags. For more information, contact Sydney Lynden at (503) 232-7052 or slinden@joinpdx.com. Donate online by clicking here.

2. The Family Winter Shelter, run by Human Solutions, is located at Parkrose Community United Church of Christ, 12505 NE Halsey in Portland. There are usually between 50-70 people in families staying in the Family Shelter each night. They need volunteers to bring and serve dinner and to assist in activities at the shelter. For information on volunteer opportunities, please call Amie Diffenauer, Family Shelter-to-Housing Partnership Coordinator at (503) 841-1728. Donate online by clicking here.

3. Transition Projects provides day and evening shelter at several locations around Portland. They need volunteers to bring and serve meals at The Clark Center . Contact Sam Haffey (503) 280-4741 for volunteer opportunities. Donate online at here.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend of Service

On Thursday, Jan. 3, my colleagues and I voted unanimously to proclaim Jan. 19 -21 as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend of Service. The dedication marks the 26th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 21.

At that meeting, Daryl Dixon, chief diversity and equity officer, and Paul Lewis and Mohammed Bader, co-chairs of the Multnomah County Managers of Color employee resource group asked the board to formally encourage county residents and staff to honor King by volunteering that weekend.

Last year 2,257 Multnomah County residents volunteered in service projects through Hands on Greater Portland. You can join and encourage your friends and neighbors in honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by taking part in a meaningful volunteer project.

Click here to sign up and to see all the projects you can get involved in.

Multnomah County Library wants to hear from you: restored hours and more

Thanks to the voters of Multnomah County, the library will restore hours and services, including Monday hours, when the funding from Measure 26-143 takes effect on July 1, 2013. As library staff shape the budget proposal for next year, its a great time to share your input about what hours, services and materials are most important to you. Please take this five-minute survey.