Author Archives: Kate Washington

About Kate Washington

Kate is the PDNA's Communication Committee chair leader.
  1. A Vision for the North Park Blocks

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    park blocks


    Meeting Held with City Officials



    Following the disruptive summer of 2015 in the North Park Blocks (NPB), there has been a good deal of discussion and citizen activism to assure that there is not a repeat occurrence this coming summer, or ever again.


    Residents and businesses adjacent to NPB gathered their forces late last summer to engage the city in efforts to promote greater activation of the park and stronger police enforcement of criminal behavior. The Pearl District Neighborhood Association Livability and Safety Committee (LSC) joined the effort and developed an activation work plan to bring more events and activity to the park.


    Members of the NPB Consortium and LSC recently met with the Parks and Recreation Bureau’s top leadership and representatives from the Mayor’s and Commissioner Fritz’ offices to discuss ways to better program the North Park Blocks. There are challenges to holding some events due to fragile grass and tree roots being damaged, but many ideas were discussed including a greater long term vision for the park.


    While the major focus of this meeting was on short term solutions, the NPB/LSC group asked the Parks Bureau to take a longer term, holistic view of the park that would coordinate with the upcoming upgrade of the playground, the City’s Green Loop Plan, the anticipated Flanders street bike bridge and the post office site.


    The NPB/LSC vision for the North Park Blocks in 2016 and beyond should embody stimulation, movement, beauty and contemplation. The central location, a major connector between China Town, the Pearl and Downtown creating a cultural infusion where residents, students, tourists and all Portlanders come to enjoy communal interaction, commerce and reflection, bustling and brewing with creativity and joy.


    Both city staff and NPB/LSC agreed to holding ongoing meetings to continue the conversation with the next meeting anticipated in early April.


    Reported by Stanley Penkin


  2. Centennial Mills Town Hall

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    cent mills mtg



    Standing Room Only


    The history of the Centennial Mills property is a long and sad one. As one of the most historic and iconic properties in the Pearl District, and the entire city, there was much optimism about this prime riverfront site being developed into a unique and significant project benefitting the whole city.


    Purchased by the Portland Development Commission (PDC) in 2000, there was great anticipation that the city would guide this project to fruition. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. An agreement with a developer in 2008 fell through leading to a lawsuit that was eventually settled. The most recent 2013 agreement with Harsch Investments again fell apart, suddenly and unilaterally on the part of PDC. With no public process, PDC surprisingly announced last year that portions of the site and possibly the entire site would be demolished. Selective demolition is currently underway, but there is fear that the two most important and  iconic buildings, the flour and feed mills, may be next for the wrecking ball.


    With that as background, a standing room crowd packed the Pure Space meeting room on January  21st for a Centennial Mills Town Hall sponsored by the Pearl District Neighborhood Association (PDNA) and Jordan Schnitzer of Harsch Investments. Led by Patty Gardner, President of PDNA and Chair of its Planning Committee, the crowd heard the history of the city’s involvement with the property including an agreement in 2005 to keep portions of the site for historical purposes, and the creation in 2006 of a  Framework Plan to guide future development. Historian Chet Orloff then presented a slide show relating the historic importance of Centennial Mills and Oregon’s prominent wheat industry  dating back to the early 1800’s.


    Jordan Schnitzer followed with a presentation of his team’s numerous options for development, with associated costs, that would fulfill the objectives of the Framework Plan by:


    • preserving open space
    • maintaining historic character
    • being a focal point
    • being sustainable
    • strengthening connections


    Mr. Schnitzer stressed the importance of this site being a legacy for Portland and the region. Having put together an impressive team of planners, designers and engineers, renderings of the options were available for the audience to see. Mr. Schnitzer spoke about not being permitted by PDC to engage the public in the process and then being surprised by the City’s unilateral decision to proceed with demolition. The costs of developing the site and the public investment portion are an issue, but Mr. Schnitzer noted that there could be many creative ways to find the necessary funding. The crowd applauded with approval when Mr. Schnitzer stated, “the city has lost its way.”


    The Town Hall ended with questions from the audience and Ms. Gardner reminding everyone who wants the site to be saved to please write letters to the Mayor, PDC and the newspapers.


    To learn more visit


    Reported by Stanley Penkin




  3. Public Forum on Saving Centennial Mills

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    centennial mills


    A public forum to consider the case against total demolition of Centennial Mills has been scheduled for Thursday January 21st at 6 pm at Pure Space (1315 NW Overton St.). This meeting is sponsored by the Pearl District Neighborhood Association and Harsch Investment Properties president Jordan Schnitzer, whose opportunity to redevelop the property was rescinded by the Portland Development Commission in November, 2015.


    Please join us to discuss the future of Centennial Mills, a valuable site of regional historical significance that was promised to the neighborhood and to the people of the region.


    Thursday, January 21st

    1315 NW Overton

    6 pm

    Spread the word!

  4. Noise Task Force Begins Meetings

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    Following up the Portland City Council adoption of minimal changes to the pile driving noise ordinance in July, Commissioner Amanda Fritz has created a noise task force to review possible additional revisions. Under discussion are: a city wide prohibition of impact hammer pile driving; details of the variance, appeal and notification process; and zoning designations wherein current ”EX” industrial zones could be changed to commercial.


    A change to commercial zoning in neighborhoods that have become more residential, such as the Pearl District, would reduce allowable decibel levels. This change would permit the City’s Noise Control Officer greater flexibility to enforce loud noises that are harmful to residents, but cannot be enforced under the current law.


    Advocates for change have cited information that the noise and vibration of impact hammer pile driving is harmful to people’s health. They further added that innovative techniques such as the significantly quieter auger cast method is an acceptable alternative. Advocates further urge the total prohibition of impact hammer pile driving except in engineer certified situations where an alternative method would not be viable for geotechnical reasons.


    The nine member citizen task force has met two times with three more meetings to follow. Commissioner Fritz is expected to bring recommendation to City Council on November 12.
    Additional information can be found at


    The public is welcome to attend or submit comments to



    Reported by Stan Penkin

  5. Big Turn Out for Polish the Pearl!

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    Polish the Pearl 2015

    Brooms, grabbers and trash bags in hand, more than 100 participants turned out to clean up the streets of the Pearl District in the semi-annual Polish the Pearl event on October 17th. Wearing an array of orange and yellow vests, the spirited volunteers, led by street captains, marched through the streets of the neighborhood picking up trash.

    The group gathered early in the morning at Peet’s Coffee to pick up equipment, receive instructions and mingle with their friends and neighbors. Finishing up several hours later, volunteers assembled at the Fields Park to enjoy donated refreshments and to vie for the raffle prize of a donated bicycle.

    Leader of the event, Jennifer Posivak of the Pearl District Neighborhood Association (PDNA) Livability Committee, reported the following results:

    • A total of 41 walk ins who had not preregistered on the SOLVE website.
    • 65 Individuals preregistered on the SOLVE website – 92 total number of volunteers  (one person can register multiple people).
    • 13 youths under 18 participated.
    • 55 free coffee tickets were turned in to Peet’s coffee.
    • 100 donated tacos were delivered to the Fields park from The Fields Bar & Grill.
    • 59 raffle tickets were counted.
    • 105 total garbage bags weighing in at 2100 pounds.
    • 5 total recycle bags (consolidated multiple bags).

    Polish the Pearl is sponsored by the PDNA and is held in the fall and spring every year.

    Reported by Stan Penkin

  6. Pearl Foot Patrol Launches First Scheduled Walk

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    Friends of the Pearl in Action


    Donning their colorful yellow vests, nine Friends of the Pearl volunteers recently went out on their first of regularly scheduled patrols throughout the Pearl District. This patrol focused on the north end of the district, but will be patrolling various areas of the neighborhood on different dates. In addition to the regular patrols, volunteers will also be doing random patrols.


    Initiated by Friends of the Pearl, a subcommittee of the Pearl District Neighborhood Association’s Livability and Safety Committee, the group has grown to over twenty volunteers with a number of others in the wings awaiting training. One of the groups initiators and leaders, Patrice Hanson said, “We are thrilled to get this program going and are encouraged by the enthusiasm and dedication of the volunteers. This is one small way in which we can help maintain the quality and livability of our neighborhood.”


    Mark Wells, Crime Prevention Coordinator from the City’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI), has led the training and will continue to help train new volunteers. Mr. Wells speaks about various criminal and suspicious activities, reporting procedure and the critical importance of non confrontation as personal safety is paramount. There are currently six Foot Patrols in neighborhoods across the city.


    Another safety initiative in the coming months will be the creation of a Neighborhood Watch program.


    More detailed information about neighborhood safety can be found on the ONI website


    Those are over 18 years of age who are  interested in participating should email


    -Reported by Stan Penkin

  7. Friends of the Pearl Foot Patrol Kick off Report

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    The Friends of the Pearl Foot Patrol kicked off its first walk on July 8 with some 20 volunteers gathering at Jamison Square. Representatives from the Police Bureau, Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) and the Parks and Recreation Bureau were also on hand. Led by ONI’s Crime Prevention Coordinator, Mark Wells, volunteers donned their colorful yellow vests and did a walkthrough of the North Pearl. The group will soon schedule routine patrols throughout the District. Additional volunteers have already filled up the next training session scheduled later in July.


    Initiated earlier this year by Friends of the Pearl, a subcommittee of the Pearl District Neighborhood Association’s Livability and Safety Committee, the patrol concept has garnered much interest in the community. A Neighborhood Watch program is also in the works over the coming months.


    More detailed information about neighborhood safety can be found on the ONI website


    People over 18 years old are welcome to join. For those interested in participating, please email


    Reported by Stan Penkin

    Photo courtesy of Casey Ailes

  8. Rogue Ales Annual Bones & Brew Event August 1st

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    Rogue Brewery and Public House is holding its 21st Annual Bones and Brew event on August 1, 2015, from noon to 10:00 on NW Flanders between 14th and 15th and NW 15th between Flanders and Glisan. The event features live music, 30+ local beers and ciders, BBQ, competitions, guest appearances by Miss Rogue Nation and Rogue Nation President Al Jorgensen, and much more. Fun for the whole family. $5 dollar suggested donation at the door benefits the New Generations Rotary Club.

  9. PDNA Invites Fritz to Meet

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    Thank you, everyone, for your interest, support, and patience as we sort through the Right 2 Dream Too move and our communication with the City. At our September 12th board meeting, we voted to release the funds set aside should we ever need to use legal action. On the advice of our coalition Neighbors West-Northwest, because this may become a legal matter, we are being mindful of what information we put in the public. Neighborhood associations are not bound by the same open meetings/records rules as everyday business in these specific and very limited cases.


    We are trying to get Commissioner Fritz into the neighborhood to address the PDNA (not just individual buildings) and this is the letter we sent yesterday.




    Link to PDF version of the letter

    Link to initial letter opposing lack of public process


    If you would like to share your thoughts, here is contact information:


    Charlie Hales, Mayor


    phone: 503-823-4120


    Amanda Fritz, Commissioner


    phone: 503-823-3008


    Nick Fish, Commissioner


    phone: 503-823-3589


    Steve Novick, Commissioner


    phone: 503-823-4682


    Dan Saltzman, Commissioner


    phone: 503-823-4151

  10. Committee Reports

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    The 2013-2014 goal for the PDNA communications committee is to develop an inter-committee culture that emphasizes communicating with the PDNA membership and neighbors about what the PDNA is doing. Currently, the committee uses monthly electronic newsletters, but news can get out more quickly than that. To that end, committee members have volunteered to be liaisons who fill out a short report after each meeting and then the tidbits of news are shared on Facebook. We will try to upload the files regularly to the website so those who do not use Facebook can also keep up with the PDNA’s work.


    Keep in mind that meeting reports are not committee meeting minutes. Minutes are made publicly available here and often experience a delay in being uploaded because they must be voted on at the next meeting and most of our committees only meet once a month (hence the desire to get the word out a little more quickly.)


    All files are PDFs, which is hopefully convenient for you to view.


    Communications Meeting: August 15, 2013

    Livability & Safety Meeting: August 26, 2013

    Planning & Transportation Meeting: September 3, 2013

    Emergency Preparedness Meeting: September 9, 2013

    Board Meeting: September 12, 2013

    Planning & Transportation Meeting: September 17, 2013

    Communications Meeting: September 19, 2013


    If you would like to volunteer to be a liaison for a committee you already attend or would like to join the communications committee, please email us ( We currently need people to report on the Fundraising Committee and the Emergency Preparedness Committee.