Blog Post

Joan Pendergast: Dedicated Volunteer

Posted By Kate Washington on August 13, 2013

  • Featured News, Pearl News

Joan Pendergast is a former chair of the Pearl District Neighborhood Association and is one of the forces keeping our community livable and vibrant. Joan grew up in Skokie IL, then lived in Indiana, then Longview WA, where she was a pharmacist. She retired and came to the Pearl, moving to the Irving Street Lofts in 1999 when it was one of the first two commercial buildings to be renovated for residential.


She now lives with her sister Joyce in the Irving, their mother having died last year just nine days short of her 104th birthday. Joan calls herself a “professional volunteer.” She has for many years worked with the Zimmerman Community Center and volunteers at the Pearl Rotary, and First Emanuel Church on NW 18th Ave and Irving. She and Joyce spend a lot of time knitting infant hats which are sold in local boutiques for charity. Right now she is hard at work helping plan the PDNA’s only fundraiser, the 22nd annual Pearl Party on Sept 13th, 2013.


“I moved here six months after my twin sister Joan moved here with our mother in 1999. I bought the loft next door and built an archway between them to connect them. One was  1,450 square feet the other was 860. We all lived together. The building has always had lots of businesses in it, lawyers, photographers, a recording studio, and I really like that.


I’ve seen lots of restaurants come and go, but one of my favorites was Little Wing on 13th Ave.


Some things have changed a lot – where REI is was just concrete walls and a parking lot – but the people are not too different. There were less of them, people and dogs. There was less retail and you didn’t find tourists on the corner with maps. But I like them, I always ask if I can help.


We called the building opposite us the Rag Factory, because their windows were packed with the rags they supplied, but it’s really the Crane Building.


If I have nothing to do you’ll find me at home, knitting. We have a knitting group at Isobel’s Clubhouse on Wednesdays, and a couple of gals bring watercolors, so we call it Creative Outlet.


I’m especially glad they built a grocery store. The Safeway is just three blocks away, I use my little grocery cart. It used to be less convenient. Where Cucina Verde is, that used to be Holden’s and they sold bread and milk. After my mother died we sold our car. All the services we need are in the Pearl, and if not there are taxis.


I imagine I’ve met people of all ages, interests and economic strata, the Pearl is so diverse.


I’ve met so many wonderful people through the neighborhood association. And I have discovered two women who went to same high school as me, Niles Township HS in Skokie, one through my book club and one through my bridge club.


I just love the Pearl, it’s like living in small village. My next move is going to be in clay jar or a pine box.”


Creative Outlet is at Isobel’s Clubhouse in the Ramona, from noon to 2 pm on Wednesdays, free with donation to Zimmerman Community Center. 542 NW 14th Ave, Portland, OR 97209, (503) 224 4636

Author: Kate Washington

Kate is the PDNA's Communication Committee chair leader.

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