by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association Chair Erika Palmer-Wilson says she thankful for all of her neighborhoods volunteers. Eastmoreland resident, and Portland’s Mayor, Charlie Hales opened the 29th annual “Spirit of Portland” awards program on Tuesday evening, November 12, in the East Portland Community Center.

“Your City Council is here tonight in force – to celebrate, and to have the privilege of conferring these awards upon, some of our fellow citizens who are doing great things in our community,” he began.

“We, on behalf of our 600,000 Portland citizens, are here thanking people who have really made a difference. These are exemplary community members and organizations getting the awards tonight. They represent the true nature of volunteerism, and a positive impact on Portland's neighborhoods.

“We’re here to recognize them for their work in bettering our community, and that’s what the Spirit of Portland awards are all about!” Hales exclaimed.

Portland City Council members extolled the virtues of twenty awardees in sixteen categories – both individuals and organizations – each approaching the podium in turn to receive a sparkling engraved Lucite award. One of those awards went to an Inner Southeast organization.

Portland City Commissioner Fritz announced that the Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association (MSANA) had been voted the 2013 Spirit of Portland “Neighborhood Association of the Year” award.

“In the past twelve months, the Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association has organized and supported over fifteen distinct projects throughout the community,” Fritz told the audience.

“These projects have benefitted not just Mt. Scott-Arleta, but also neighboring associations and organizations. The Association has engaged in joint cleanups with the Foster-Powell neighborhood, assisted in the Laurelwood Park Master Plan, formed a neighborhood foot patrol to assist in public safety, and it continues to engage its own diverse communities and those outside its neighborhood boundaries.

“In doing so, the MSANA has acted as a true community partner, helped to build a sense of community, and fostered livability for countless Portland residents.”

Accepting the award for the MSANA Board of Directors was Chair Erika Palmer-Wilson.

“We thank the city for this honor this evening,” smiled Palmer-Wilson. “I thank our neighborhood association Board for taking their time out of their days and evenings to do a lot of different work in our neighborhood, dealing with various issues from transportation to sustainability.

“I also want to thank our other volunteers who could not be here tonight,” Palmer-Wilson added. “Without volunteers, we wouldn't get the work that we do done. Finally I thank all of you in this room who also volunteer. It is all of us, working together to solve problems, that makes the city great.”

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