Who Are the People In your Neighborhood Association?

Jason Evans

There is a fascinating mix of folks on the board of our neighborhood association. The level of involvement is interesting as well. There is always one person who is willing to take on everything with a smile and a handshake, business men and women, a couple of angry men who really just like complaining about every little change without offering any helpful input on how to deal with growth, the lady who keeps the checkbook and does a fabulous job with it and the retirees who attend several local policy meetings and hearings held during the weekdays. I am enjoying the privilege of working with these good folks.

Of course, we also have the newbie: me. I tend to be very "no nonsense" when it comes to business. Give me the information I need in a concise manner and I'll give you my very direct reply. I'm not good with the 'fluffy bunnies' type of delivery. I'm not politically correct nor do I tell people what they want to hear. That doesn't mean that I'm right 100% by any means. Occasionally I slip. :) I'm also one of the younger board members, which makes for interesting reactions when I do speak my mind.

I recommend to anyone in Portland: get involved in your neighborhood association! It's an amazing way to meet people and to know exactly what is going on in your area as far as new buildings, requested permits, expansion projects, road projects...the list goes on. They are also becoming a powerful resource for communities to help local schools with grants, awards, and contests that spark creativity beyond the dull classroom assignments. I had the privilege of being one of the judges of a writing contest recently for the two elementary schools in our neighborhood. I was really impressed with some of the ways that a fourth-grader can describe the ways that he or she likes their neighborhood.

During the upcoming Portland Mayor's race, keep your eyes open for discussions of how to get neighborhood associations more directly involved with city planning. Get to know your association now so you can play a part in the development of your own area in the future.

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