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Neighborhood briefs

NORTHWEST

Family housing sought

The Portland Development Commission has proposed modifying development bonuses to encourage developers to build more housing intended for families in the Pearl District.

A draft of the PDC's North Pearl District plan, released last week, recommends allowing developers to construct larger buildings than code usually allows for structures that include family-size units.

Another change would give developers bonuses to build larger if they include play areas or common rooms that might be used by families.

According to the PDC, only 20 percent of the condominium and apartments in the River District are two- or three-bedroom units, which would accommodate families with children.

A census review by PDC shows that between 1997 and 2000, 82 babies were born to people living in the Pearl District, but between 2001 and 2005 the number of births had risen to 157.

NORTH

Farmers market mulled

County Commissioner Jeff Cogen's office is gauging interest among North Portland residents in a St. Johns Farmers Market.

The market also would serve the surrounding neighborhoods including Arbor Lodge, Kenton, Portsmouth, University Park, Cathedral Park, the New Columbia area and Linnton.

Neighbors have been asking for such a market, and Cogen believes it fits with the county's mission to boost livability and increase food access for the working class, said Cogen's project manager, Karol Collymore.

'People are really excited' about the idea, she said.

At the first meeting Jan. 22, she said the response was limited, but it is growing as people comment on Cogen's Web site, commissionercogen.com.

NORTHEAST

Vanport Square opens

After years of stops and starts, city and development leaders last week celebrated the grand opening of phase one of Vanport Square on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

The 42,000-square-foot commercial condominium project is open at 5225 N.E. Martin Luther King Blvd., and includes small local businesses ranging from Horn of Africa Restaurant to Living Color Beauty Supply and two graphic design firms.

The development received funding and help from the Portland Development Commission. Developers Jeana Woolley and Ray Leary had tried and failed to lure a large anchor tenant, but found more interest among local business owners who wanted to buy space and move to the development.

Plans for the second phase of Vanport Square include housing and additional commercial space, including a large commercial fitness center.

SOUTHEAST

Young climbers wanted

Mount Scott Community Center, 5530 S.E. 72nd Ave., has started offering climbing classes for children ages 6 to 9. Two new sessions begin Feb. 28.

Youngsters climb horizontally over bouldering walls in the classes - no ropes are used. They learn teamwork and climbing basics while improving strength, coordination and flexibility.

The classes were made possible by the Portland Parks Foundation, which secured a $56,000 grant from the Kelley Family Foundation and $10,000 from REI for climbing walls and related activities.

The foundation purchased two mobile climbing walls for classes around the community and six bouldering walls for use in parks programs.

Admission to the course is $18 for Portland residents and includes four sessions, each on a Thursday afternoon. Call 503-823-2525.

EAST

Russian films continue

On Feb. 16, the Midland Branch of the Multnomah County Library screens 'The Rider Named Death' as part of its ongoing Russian film series.

The film is loosely based upon 'Pale Horse,' the memoirs of Russian Social Revolutionary Party member Boris Savinkov.

While covering a number of terrorist attacks carried out by Savinkov around the turn of the 20th century, the focus of the film is on the organization's plot to assassinate Grand Duke Sergey Aleksandrovich, brother to the czar.

The presentation and discussion is set for 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the library, 805 S.E. 122nd Ave. The movie will be shown in Russian with English subtitles, and is free.

SOUTHWEST

That's some truffle

An attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest truffle will be attempted as part of the third annual ChocolateFest, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at the World Forestry Center, 4033 S.W. Canyon Road.

The goal is to prepare a 250-pound truffle, which will be eaten Sunday.

The event is intended to celebrate the cacao tree, the source of much of the world's chocolate. It also will feature dozens of chocolate-related vendors, free samples, demonstrations and talks.

Admission is free with tickets to the center, $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for children 3-18, and free for members. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

- Tribune staff