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The Portland neighborhood beat

NORTHWEST

County eases caseload

In July, Friendly House, under a contract with Multnomah County, took over the job of assisting indigent seniors in the downtown area. The Northwest Portland community center is about to get relief from a greater-than-anticipated caseload.

According to Vaune Albanese, executive director of Friendly House, the Multnomah County Aging and Disabilities Services has informed the center that it will handle as much as 30 percent of the current caseload.

Before increasing its caseload to include downtown seniors, Friendly House helped about 80 indigent seniors in Northwest Portland continue to live independently.

Currently, about 160 seniors use Friendly House services, which include escorting clients to appointments, intervening with landlords, taking clients shopping and arranging medical care.

Many of the downtown clients, Albanese said, suffer from mental illnesses, which Friendly House caseworkers were not trained to handle.

NORTH

Dad's finishes face-lift

One of St. Johns' beloved neighborhood establishments has reopened with new management and a drastic makeover after a six-month, $40,000 renovation.

Dad's Restaurant and Lounge, 8608 N. Lombard St., was rebuilt with new walls, carpets, paint and bathrooms, and the tables now are set with white linens and candlelight. The adjoining bar area also is getting a top-to-bottom renovation.

The overhaul, privately financed by the restaurant's owners, is part of an ongoing effort to spruce up the business district in downtown St. Johns.

The new manager at Dad's is Jim Chan, who managed the Jasmine Tree restaurant downtown for 24 years. He's hired new cooks and drew up a new 'world cuisine menu,' featuring everything from chicken picante to schnitzel to his own secret Peking pot roast.

Chan says the restaurant will remain affordable for its loyal neighborhood customers; the average dinner entree is $8.95.

'I have to - it's a blue-collar area,' Chan said.

NORTHEAST

Fundraising goal not met

The inner Northeast Portland residents who are trying to create a community-owned grocery and cafe on the ground floor of a condominium building didn't meet their fundraising goal last month.

And, because they were about $180,000 short of their $600,000 fundraising goal, they lost their tentative lease on the space.

While the group's leaders are returning the money to people who invested in the project - most of them neighborhood residents making the minimum $1,000 investment - the group is not giving up, said Ankist Zadeyan, a former assistant store director for Wild Oats Markets who is formally called the group's chief optimist officer.

The group plans to continue marketing its idea and its shares, with hopes of still being able to rent the space at the building, 1620 N.E. Broadway.

'We're clarifying our message and expanding our outreach,' Zadeyan said. 'We're down, but not out.'

Information is at www.bmarket.biz.

SOUTHWEST

Creek puts kink in plans

Although the Headwaters housing development at Southwest 30th Avenue and Dolph Court is nearing completion, the city will not finish its accompanying environmental enhancements until next year.

As part of the apartment and townhouse complex, developer Jim Winkler resurfaced a tributary of Tryon Creek that had been buried on the property decades ago.

The tributary is designed to collect storm water and run through a culvert into a wetland enhancement area built by the city's Bureau of Environmental Services.

But even though the city was able to reroute a street and clear the area, it was not able to complete the plantings and other natural filtration features before winter.

The $413,830 project is not expected to be completed next spring. In the meantime, Winkler's company already is selling and renting units in the complex.

SOUTHEAST

Tabor neighbor appointed

Mount Tabor Park area residents who have been feuding with Portland Parks and Recreation over the future of the park now have a chance to influence next year's funding decisions - and funding decisions for all parks in the city.

City Parks Commissioner Dan Saltzman has appointed Mount Tabor neighbor and community activist Cascade Anderson Geller to the committee that will review the parks bureau's budget at two meetings later this week.

Anderson Geller is a founding member of Friends of the Reservoirs, the grass-roots group that successfully fought the City Council's decision to replace the open reservoirs at Mount Tabor and Washington parks with underground storage tanks.

She became active again when news surfaced that parks bureau officials were talking about selling the Mount Tabor Maintenance Yard to adjacent Warner Pacific College.

Also serving on the budget committee are bureau managers and representatives of the nonprofit Portland Parks Foundation.

EAST

Rotarians aid readers

A few months ago, East Portland Rotary Club President Walt Harwood asked several other Rotary chapters whether they'd be interested in giving the gift of words.

Now, it's finally happening: Harwood and officials from Rotary chapters around the city have been visiting elementary schools to dole out dictionaries - one to every Portland Public Schools third-grader, as well as to some second- and fourth-graders who happen to share classrooms with third-grade students.

'I've never seen such a bunch of smiling and inquisitive faces in my life,' said Harwood, who works for Neil Kelly remodelers.

He said the response has been so positive that they're buying even more dictionaries- for the teachers, too.