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Neighborhood briefs

EAST

Schools closing the gap

Jason Lee Elementary, 2222 N.E. 92nd Ave., will be the site of the Portland Schools Foundation's announcement Wednesday of its Excellence in Education awards.

Lee is one of three Portland public schools to receive the award this year, which honors schools with a high percentage of low-income students who are closing the achievement gap between students with high family incomes.

The other schools are Boise-Eliot, in North Portland, and Woodmere, in Southeast.

According to the foundation, this year's winners have a high percentage of students of color, second-language learners, and children from low-income families that have shown 'remarkable' growth over time in reading and math.

A public celebration is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday and will include student song and dance performances. Each of the three schools will receive a $3,000 grant from Washington Mutual.

NORTH

Speak out on schools

North Portland's Humboldt School will be the site of a Portland Public Schools meeting tonight, to discuss the status of pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade education districtwide.

District staff members will discuss issues relating to staff, facilities and other support measures that are being taken to address needs for the 2008-09 school year.

They'll take parent feedback on how to prioritize additional budget resources and coordinate programs so they're robust across the district.

Superintendent Carole Smith is set to attend, along with members of a K-8 action team she assembled in March.

The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Humboldt, 4915 N. Gantenbein Ave. Child care and translation services will be provided.

For information, contact Sara Allan, 503-916-3047, or sallan@ pps.k12.or.us.

SOUTHWEST

Sponge meets Peter Pan

Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants, once again will be master of ceremonies at a major yearly fundraiser for one of Southwest Portland's most important nonprofit organizations - the fourth annual Neighborhood House Animation Celebration Dinner Auction.

It is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday at the Multnomah Athletic Club, 1849 S.W. Salmon St.

The event is inspired by the legacy of Mel Blanc, the late Portlander who provided the voice for many of the best-known cartoon characters in the world.

This year's theme is an Evening's Adventure in Neighbor Neighbor Land, based on the animated classic Peter Pan. Attendees are encouraged to come in costume.

Tickets are $100 per person, and information is available by calling 503-246-1663, ext. 113, or visiting www.nhweb.org .

NORTHWEST

Group stages fundraiser

A benefit preview performance of the play 'Nine Parts of Desire' is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. May 8, at CoHo Theater, 2257 N.W. Raleigh St. The event raises funds for Neighbors West-Northwest, the coalition of 11 Portland neighborhood associations based in Northwest Portland.

Neighbors West-Northwest provides administrative services to the Southwest and Northwest Portland neighborhood associations it represents.

Nearly all of its approximately $220,000 budget comes from the city's Office of Neighborhood Involvement.

Money from the fundraiser will allow the organization to take on activities on which it is not allowed to spend city money, according to executive director Mark Sieber.

As an example, Sieber said, the coalition has helped residents in its neighborhoods appeal land-use decisions.

SOUTHEAST

Soil cleanup set to start

Cleanup work begins in May at the contaminated drive-through deli opposite Atkinson Elementary School.

The former Drive Thru Wake Up Deli on Southeast Division Street near 57th Avenue will become Tabor Commons, a neighborhood gathering place and coffee shop.

Southeast Uplift - with city, state and federal funding - will remove petroleum-contaminated soil at the former fuel station. Cleanup work is slated to take eight days.

Southeast Uplift owns the property on behalf of the Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association, South Tabor Neighborhood Association and Atkinson Elementary School PTA.

Community groups obtained ownership of the property after it was seized by the federal government in a drug case.

NORTHEAST

Panel aims to organize

Neighborhood leaders and others who are working on land-use and environmental issues can learn some strategies for grass-roots organizing at a panel discussion Monday.

Presenters will include Bob Granger, an organizer for a group called Northeast Neighbors for Clean Air; Dawn Rasmussen, president of Save Northeast 82nd Avenue; and Meeky Blizzard, a staffer with U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.

Jeri Williams, with the city of Portland's Office of Neighborhood Involvement and a former director of the Environmental Justice Action Group, will moderate the discussion.

The event is sponsored by the Central Northeast Neighbors neighborhood coalition and will begin at 7 p.m. at the coalition's offices, at 4415 N.E. 87th Ave.

- Tribune staff