Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How to Throw a Block Party in 5 Easy Steps

 Guest post by Signe Todd, Concordia Neighborhood

Neighborhood block party is an excellent way to enjoy a warm summer day, socialize with your neighbors and meet new people who live on your street. When I lived in the Irvington
neighborhood, my neighbor Dana Griggs taught me the nuts and bolts for planning a successful block party in 5 easy steps.

Step 1) Plan Ahead!

Block parties require a street closure permit and liability insurance from the neighborhood coalition. When selecting a date for your event, you will want to allow 4-6 weeks for completing
the application and to ensure you give the City two weeks advance notice of your permit request.

The application process is not as daunting as it may sound and speaking from experience, the folks at the neighborhood coalition really support block parties and are available to help. Other points to consider are: Permits are typically not issued for parties that are longer than 1 block or extend past 10 pm. You cannot have a block party on a street that is on a bus route, has a bus layover, or is a signalized traffic intersection. Also, the City won t allow alcohol in the street, so plan for drinking to take place on neighbors private property. Finally, if you re planning to have amplified music that someone could hear (and possibly complain about) more than 10 houses away, be prepared to also fill out a noise variance application, found at: .

Step 2) Contact your District Coalition, such as Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods

Once you have decided upon a date, visit NECN s website, ( Services
> Neighborhood Social Support > Host a Block Party  or click here) to download two sets of forms you will need in order to get your permit:
1. NECN s Event Application Packet (This serves as a request for NECN to provide insurance coverage for your event. NECN requests a $15-35 sliding scale donation for insurance coverage.)
2. Block Party application packet. (This serves as your permit application)
NECN staff is available to answer questions about the application process. Call (503) 823-4575
or email or katy (at) necoalition (dot) org if you get stumped along the way.

Step 3) Fill Out the Petition

Your block party application will include a petition, which must have signatures from all the residents and/or businesses on the street you wish to close. This is the fun part of the application process because it gives you a positive talking point to greet neighbors without asking them for money. If a house is vacant, indicate that on the petition. You need to account for all of the houses on the block and its adjacent properties, including side yards.
Once you have all of the signatures, mail or drop-off your completed applications (Event and Block Party packets) to NECN; upon approval, NECN will submit your application to the City and the City will send you your street closure permit.

Step 4) Rent Barricades

For our block parties we rented from American Barricade Company, located at 173 NE
Columbia Blvd and can be reached at (503) 285-6616. Barricades (ask for six, Type 1 barricades) should be placed at both ends of the street with a copy of the permit attached.
(note to Gulchers: SGNA has accumulated a number of barricades and orange cones over years that you are welcome to borrow. Just post a request on Soupnight and someone will contact you. - DB)

Step 5) Coordinate Entertainment and Food

Distribute a flyer two weeks in advance of the event to remind neighbors and request donations of food, beverages, tables, chairs etc. Consider having an activity especially if there are young
children in the neighborhood. Inviting the local fire department to bring one of their fire trucks is always a big hit with the little ones plus they hand out cool stickers!! If you decide to rent a
bouncy house or climbing wall you need to be aware that NECN s insurance will not cover these
items. Instead you will need to have the vendor to supply NECN with a copy of their insurance.
Alternatively, you can have the bouncy house on your property and your homeowners insurance
will cover injuries. (Don't take a chance and assume this.  Check the homeowner's policy of the property where the bounce house would be located. - DB)
Another great option is to hold your block party in a park. To begin, you need to reserve a park and obtain a park permit for a modest fee. Parks can be reserved by calling (503) 823-2525. If have your party in the park, you can skip steps 1 and 2 on this list.
Really it is that easy!! I have coordinated two block parties and the rewards of building social connections with my neighbors far outweigh the time spent in planning.

(Thanks Signe for taking the time to organize this and thanks NECN for sharing this article in your blog

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

SGNA Board Meeting this Tuesday

Sullivan’s Gulch Neighborhood Association
June Board Meeting, June 12, 2012 


1. Introductions 

2. Review of Draft SGNA Board Roster and Consensus on Quorum Count 

3. Additions to Agenda 

4. Review and Approval of General Meeting Minutes from April 19th, 2012 

5. Review and Approval of May Board Meeting Minutes from May 8th, 2012 

6. Election of Board Officers 

7. By-laws review - discussion on the establishment of a committee to review and propose  amendments and/or modifications

8. Gulch Trail - Report on current status, letters of support, next steps and pending presentation by PBOT and City Parks and Rec. of the projects current status to City Council 

9. Land Use - Report from Charette at General Meeting of April 19, July 21st Broadway Walk to coincide with NEBBA Broadway Summer Super Sale, N/NE Quadrant report, Grant Park Village, misc. projects 

10. Communications Committee Report 

11. Safety/Emergency Committee Report 

12. Treasurer's Report 

13. Lifestyles - July Garage Sale, preliminary Gulch-o-rama plans 

14. Gulch Garden 

15. SGNA recommendation for a Board Member to to participate on the NECN Economic Development Committee 

16. Concluding Remarks

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Interested in Neighborhood History

Are you interested in our helping collect and preserve our (your) neighborhood history?

If so, perhaps you could help form a neighborhood history group for the Gulch?

That's the goal of the Neighborhood History Project just getting started in Portland.  The basic idea is to find a way to ensure the preservation of the history of Portland's neighborhoods that survives individual people. There are dozens of small historical groups in Portland. Most of these groups have two things in common:
• Their collections are disorganized boxes of who-knows-what, often stored in someone's garage.
• The best stuff is usually the prized personal property of one of the members.
In short, the collections are inaccessible to scholars and in danger of disappearing forever after the deaths of key members when heirs throw out "that old crap in the garage."

The Neighborhood History Project will help small historical groups organize, preserve, and digitize their collections and to assure that collections are accessible to scholars, both "in person," and via the internet.

If you're interested, contact the group via their web site.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Irvington Farmers Market Opens Sunday, June 3

The Irvington Farmers Market will begins its fourth season delivering delicious locally grown produce and prepared foods on Sunday June 3rd, 2012, from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm, located on NE 16th and Broadway.  Fruits and vegetables picked the same day offers you the best taste and nutritional value while living sustainably.

The Irvington Farmers Market is a welcoming meeting place for folks to shop for excellent produce, flowers, herbs, olive oils, bread, coffee, German sausage, cheese, honey and a diverse selection of prepared foods. Come and chat with local farmers, friends and neighbors as you listen to local musicians.  

Make the Market a weekly shopping experience and help support our local organic farmers and Broadway main street businesses.  To learn more visit; or contact market Manager, Brad Perkins, 503 317-6455

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Way We Were: NE 15th & Broadway in 1958

This 1958 image shows NE Broadway looking west from 15th Avenue. This was two years before Lloyd Center opened nearby; it probably would have been a primary shopping area at the time.  It's also before the Broadway-Weidler couplet was introduced (on July 10, 1960). I like it that they posted a sign advising motorists that traffic signals were set for 30 mph.  Amazingly, as far as I can tell, all the buildings in this photo are still there.

You can zoom in on this image at the original post at Vintage Portland

Monday, May 28, 2012

Things won't be the same on Broadway

We'll miss the passing of Costello's Travel Caffé immensely. It officially closed Sunday at 4 after 8 1/2 years as the unofficial hub of our, and probably several other, neighborhoods.

The flowers and appreciations written in chalk on the sidewalk in front if the store are a small expression of how many of felt about the place. Costello's was a great example of the kind of business many of us hope will flourish on Broadway as it evolves.

If you want to read more about the decision, the Oregonian had a nice article about the decision. 

Thank you Costello's.

- Dave Brook

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Trash Bash a HUGE Success - the proof is in the dumpsters!

Thanks to everyone for a wonderful clean up this morning (and to the weather gods for smiling on us). People were lined up right at 9 am to drop stuff off on their way out of town. Participation far exceeded my expectations for a holiday weekend and we had a record turn out - 3 dumpsters full of trash!

In addition, record amounts of paint, pesticides, batteries and fluorescent lamps - so much so that we discovered we were breaking the rules about what constitutes a hazardous waste collection and had our wrists slapped by Metro.  We will have to figure something better for next year.

Something else that surprised me was the lack of interest in paper shredding.  Perhaps it was because people didn't see the locked collection carts along the back fence?  Or perhaps, it was becase the NE Broadway Business Association had just sponsored their own public event a month before (although, if so, it certainly didn't reduce the quantity of styrofoam we collected!)  

So, special thanks to our many volunteers this morning:

  • Recycle-drivers for hazardous waste James and Chuck,
  • Styrofoam - Meg and the Dog Bus,
  • Electronics waste - Darren
  • Reusers, Howard and K.C. Davenport for high grading stuff to keep it out of the landfill
  • Metals Magnate ("magnet"?) and former resident John Maher and his "boys" for recycling every bit of metal that came with 10 feet of them and pitching in wherever they could be useful.
  • Greeting and donation collection - Kari, Jackleen and Carol
  • Holladay Park Plaza for the use of their parking lot

And thanks to everyone who helped sort and unload the incredible variety of stuff that drove up all morning long.

Special mention to Dan Lerch-Walters and Stephen Chase for hauling 30 tires out of the Gulch as part of their own personal Gulch beautification project.

Dave Brook

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Suggested Donations for SGNA Trash Bash

Here's a short list of items accepted at SGNA's Trash Bash fund raiser on Saturday. As in previous years it will be held at the parking lot behind Holladay Park Plaza at NE 17th & Wasco.  

If you're bringing a combination of household trash and other items we we will prorate the "suggested" donation to fit the items and amount.  Remember, this is a fund raiser for your Neighborhood Association. If you have questions, call Dave Brook at 503-313-1320.  

General Household Trash ($10 per car load; $15 per pickup or minivan load)

  • Misc. household junk, including building materials
  • Metals
  • Appliances (home pickup available; come to the collection site and schedule with our recycler)
  • Block Styrofoam (clean; no styro foam boxes; please take packaging peanuts to mailboxes store)
  • Fluorescent lamps, including compact fluorescent CFLs (no incandescent or halogen lamps)
  • Batteries - flashlight, computer, camera, etc.
  • Paint, pesticide, etc. (must be liquid; put dry paint cans in trash)
  • Auto/Truck Tires

Special Donation

  • Paper shredding (separate charge of $5 per "bankers box" equivalent)

E-Waste Suggested Donations:

  • Computers - desktop CPU or laptop ($5.00 ea.)
  • Printers ($4.00 ea.)
  • Scanners ($3.00 ea.)
  • LCD monitors ($4.00 ea.)
  • Old TV Set or CRT computer monitor ($5.00)
  • Fax Machines ($4.00 ea.)
  • Telephones, including cell phones ($2.00 ea.)
  • Stereo Components - amp, tuner, tape deck ($4.00 ea.)
  • A/V Gizmo - boombox, radio, etc ($3.00 ea.)
  • UPS - Uninterruptible Power Supply ($5.00 ea.)
  • Other Miscellaneous Electronic Gizmos including modems, keyboards, mice ($1.00 ea.)

We DO NOT Accept:

  • Yard Debris
  • Cement Chunks
  • Curbside Recyclable Items, including cardboard, plastic bottles, glass, paper, etc.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

SGNA Neighborhood Clean Up Volunteers Needed - this Saturday

We'll be "talkin' trash" this Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm at the annual SGNA Trash Bash (aka neighborhood clean up).

We need several volunteers with gloves and brooms to help unload vehicles and keep the parking lot clean.  As in the past we'll have 2 shifts: 8:45 to 11 and 11 to 1:15 or so.  Coffee and donuts will be provided!  If you're available please call or email Dave at the phone number below and let me know what shift you'd like

And a couple of you may already be planning to help Dan Lerch Walters haul tires out of the gulch, but I'm sure he could use help.  Give him a call for more info 503-284-7605.

This year we'll be accepting:
- general rubbish - $10 car load, $15 per van/pickup truck
- electronic waste - price varies 
- paper shredding - $5 per "bankers box"
- metals, appliances - no charge (come to event to arrange at home pick up)
- professional clothing for men and women - no charge (pls. no tennis shoes, jeans or t-shirts)
- paint, pesticide, household hazardous waste - no charge
- fluorescent lamps and batteries - no charge
- block styrofoam - no charge
- tires, auto batteries - o charge.

We'll be posting a full "price list" for items on the web site soon -  We will not be accepting any items in the curbside recycling program, including no yard debris.

The clean up will be 9 to 1 pm (or until dumpsters are full) at NE 17th and Wasco (behind Holladay Park Plaza).   

Thanks to Hoilladay Park Plaza for the use of their parking lot and to Metro and NE Coalition of Neighborhoods for their support.

Dave Brook

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Village Building Convergence 2012 - Here it comes!


Become a villager once again at this year's Village Building Convergence! 

By bike or mass transit, people are converging once again!!! This is when Portlanders come out into the streets to re-create the neighborhoods that they live in, so that people make new places and new friends as they learn, step by step, how to transform the world right where they live! Come see more than 40 Portland communities working all at the same time, across the city!

It could end up being the time of your life, in which you gain a new sense of power for yourself and with more people than you ever even knew before. By, for, and of our beloved city!


There will be almost a dozen street intersections transformed into community gathering places, many schools activated to bring children together with local resident communities, and many more visionary businesses and communities that are also initiating projects and processes for beneficial change! Let's GO!


There will be all kinds of project types and methods, many including natural building, public art, permaculture projects at all scales, urban design, community democracy, and tons of hands-on, educational workshops!


Evening Speakers this year will include:


·         Oliver Kelhammer, One of Canada's leading Permaculture teachers and an urban art insurgent!

·         Jenny Pell, International Permaculture Designer and NW Region Teacher!

·         Ianto Evans, "Father of Natural Building" in North America!

·         Nance Klehm, Greywater, Water Catchment, Humanure & Soil Building Teacher!

·         Mark LakemanInventor of the T-Horse, City Repair Co-Founder!

·         StarhawkAuthor, Permaculture Teacher, Witch, & International Activista!

·         Nala Walla, Body Ecologist & Permaculture Teacher!

·         Eva Edleston & Molly Murphy, FireSpeaking & The Mudgirls!

·         Paul Cienfuegos, Democracy Activist to End Corporate Dominance!

·         Marc Tobin, Village Leader & Designer, Former Exec at Lost Valley Educational Center!

·         Karen Hery, Inventor of Portland's Acclaimed Sunnyside Swap Shop and many more!


This VBC will be a 10 day hands-on event when thousands of people will live as sustainable urban Villagers once more! 


In every quadrant of the city, communities will be working together to directly transform the spaces where they live into ecological and sacred places that express creative and democratic participation.

Please let us know if you want to come and join us for the Village Building Convergence of 2012, May 25 to June 3!

If you have not yet heard of the VBC, please go to, where you will also find a registration form for the event, or call 503-235-8946 
to learn more.

VBC12 Sponsors Include: The Portland Bureau of Transportation,  the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and the Bureau of Environmental Services, as well as Metro Regional Government, Communitecture, Inc, The Rebuilding Center, KBOO Community Radio, People's Food COOP, M Realty, Hankins Hardware, Barrett Ecological Services, Rising Vision LLC, and Portland's ReDirect Guide.