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Open House format packs Brentwood-Darlington Associations meeting

by: David F. Ashton Dick Hazeltine and BDNA Chair Chris Hart look over a “proof copy” of their forthcoming new neighborhood brochure.

Many of Southeast Portland's neighborhood associations have found it increasingly difficult to attract their residents to the meetings.

But, by hosting an Open House, the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association drew more than 35 local residents to their November 3 meeting at the Community Center.

'The attendance at our meetings has been a bit stagnant for the last few months, conceded BDNA Chair Chris Hart. 'To make sure that everyone's been told about what's happening in the community, and to advocate for their involvement, we thought it might be a good idea to suspend our regular meeting format for a month. Instead we are hosting our businesses and organizations to talk with neighbors.'

Lifelong resident and City Park namesake Dick Hazeltine, said he continued to be on the BDNA Board, and also still chairs the Public Safety committee.

'Neighborhood associations are still important, because they provide a way to let City leaders know that we are here,' commented Hazeltine. 'If we do a good job, the City recognizes us as a knowledgeable authority for the neighborhood.'

Pleased with the Open House turnout, Hart observed, 'Hopefully we can get some people to attend our regular meetings, now, on a consistent basis - so we can do more for our neighborhood.'

Sitting at home and complaining about what's wrong with the neighborhood, 'doesn't do any good,' Hazeltine added. 'Getting involved in your neighborhood can make a positive difference.'

A potluck of delicious foods was set out, including professional catering dishes provided by two food cart operators from 'Cartlandia' on S.E. 82nd Avenue, at the Springwater Trail crossing.

After brief introductions, and a crime report from a Portland Police Bureau officer who usually covers Woodstock [the Brentwood-Darlington officer was called to deal with protesters downtown], neighbors were given the opportunity to meet with officials from many organizations.

Representatives from the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, The Learning Garden program, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Friends of Trees; and Portland Brownfield Program were on hand to explain their programs and talked individually with Brentwood-Darlington neighbors.

'This Open House looks like a good idea,' Hazeltine mused. 'A very good idea.'