News from around Portland's neighborhoods
Old Church gets upgrade
The public is invited to attend a ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Thursday marking the completion of a project to make the landmark Old Church, 1422 S.W. 11th Ave., wheelchair-accessible.
The $600,000 project was overseen by the Old Church Society, a nonprofit organization that operates the building as a public meeting and performance space. The 1883 structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Portland architect and historic preservationist William J. Hawkins III will be the guest of honor at the ceremony in appreciation of his professional and personal contributions to the three-year retrofit.
His design maintained the building's historic integrity while adding a wheelchair entry ramp, installing a main floor restroom and incorporating an elevator for access to upgraded basement restrooms.
Stroll focuses on crime
Northwest Portland residents with questions about crime in their neighborhood will have an opportunity to get answers from 9 a.m. to noon tomorrow, when Portland police Central Precinct Cmdr. Mike Reese takes a walking tour along Northwest 23rd Avenue.
Reese, Susan Abrahamson of the precinct's Neighborhood Response Team and William Warren of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement's crime prevention program will begin the stroll at West Burnside Street and walk north. The plan is for the trio to talk with neighborhood residents, store owners and shoppers.
Time permitting, they also will visit businesses along Northwest 21st Avenue.
Open house scheduled
The East Portland Neighborhood Office has found a new home, and staff members are inviting community members to drop by and check it out.
The new building is at the Hazelwood Hydro Park, 1017 N.E. 117th Ave. Starting this month, the water bureau is renting the site to the neighborhood office for $1 per month, in exchange for being the 'eyes and ears' at the park and helping to schedule events there.
The neighborhood office used to be located in a small space at the East Portland Police Precinct, where it paid $17,000 per year in rent.
Now, the savings has been used to hire a part-time outreach coordinator, Gary Berger, who started the job last week and joined the four other staff members.
The East Portland Neighborhood Office includes 13 neighborhood associations, which will have access to the conference room, kitchen and meeting spaces.
Sandy to get a respite
The sewer reconstruction project that has snarled traffic on Northeast Sandy Boulevard in the Hollywood District for several months is nearing completion.
Bob Cynkar of Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services said crews should be finished with the $5.4 million project, occurring between Northeast 37th and 47th avenues, by the end of September.
'We're completing the major work on Sandy on schedule, and Sandy Boulevard should look something like normal by the end of the month,' Cynkar said.
But the normalcy will be short-lived. Completion of the sewer work will allow for the road construction on Sandy, ongoing from Northeast 13th to 35th avenues, to start between 37th and 47th avenues by early next year, Cynkar said.
Garden help wanted
North Portland residents are invited to help spruce up Johns Community Garden on Saturday, National Public Lands Day.
The garden, at North Edison Street and John Avenue, has been established for 32 years but needs maintenance help, Leslie Pohl-Kosbau, the city's community gardens director.
'It doesn't get the attention we'd like to give it,' she said. 'It's a ways up there. There's transition going on in the neighborhood, with people moving in, moving out. We're looking to more need for (community) gardens because of densification.'
Volunteers from Starbucks Corp. and Oracle Corp. will pitch in, and community members are invited to bring their gloves and tools to help weed, prune and mulch.
The garden also needs a fence replaced, but no funds are available, Pohl-Kosbau said. The garden has 47 plots, five of which are up for lease. Any citizen can pay $45 annually for a plot. The event runs from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the garden. For information, call Pohl-Kosbau, 503-823-1612.
English classes offered
Immigrants and refugees of any nationality can take free English classes in Southeast Portland beginning this week.
Hosted by the People's Coop, 3029 S.E. 21st Ave., the classes will take place 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays through Dec. 8.